Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Faget Varnet
Please note that a crack has been detected in the glass of the front driver side window.
Henri Varnet, France (acquired by 1950)Michelline Tougeron-Varnet, France (acquired via her father Henri in 1950)Remy Greffoz, Salanches, France (acquired in 1983)Bruno Vendiesse and Jean-Louis duMontant, France (acquired in 1999)Horst Brozler, Austria (acquired via Egon Zweimuller)Current Owners, California (acquired in 2006)
Paris Motor Show, 1949Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2008 (First in Class)Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, 2009 (Amelia Award, Custom Coachwork, French)Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance, Michigan, 2009
Delahaye was founded in 1894 in Tours, France, by Émile Delahaye, an amateur racer who built competitive sports cars. After significant racing success, the automaker, upon Émile’s retirement, focused on building pragmatic commercial vehicles. Then, in 1933, Mme. Desmarais, one of Delahaye’s shareholders, refocused the company to again develop competition cars. Outstanding success at the International Alpine Trial of 1935 spurred the development of the sporting Type 135, dubbed the “Coupe de Alpes.” The Type 135 was built from 1935 through 1954, and is lauded as the financial savior of the Delahaye marque.
Most commonly bodied by celebrated French ateliers such as Henri Chapron and Franay, a few Type 135s stood out, beginning in 1948, with coachwork by lesser-known Faget Varnet, which was based just 6 km from the center of Paris. Faget Varnet was quite innovative in its engineering of monocoque body shells, eschewing the need for a wooden subframe and incorporating the use of curved side glass and frameless windshields.
According to details provided by the consignor, this stunningly presented Delahaye 135MS is one of only three such cabriolets created by Faget Varnet. Chassis 801077 was reportedly featured, according to the consignor’s history document on file, at the Paris salon in 1949 and then gifted to Henri Varnet’s daughter the following year for her honeymoon.
The whereabouts of 801077 for the next three decades have not been definitively traced, but the car re-emerged in 1983, registered to Remy Greffoz of Salanches on plate no. 3637RT74, the same one it bears today. By 1999, the 135MS had come into the ownership of enthusiasts Bruno Vendiesse and Jean-Louis duMontant, and they later sold it to Austrian collector Horst Brozler, from whom the consignors were pleased to acquire it in 2006.
In 2008, a two-year restoration to concours standards was completed by Alan Taylor Company of Escondido, California, and Rod Jolley Coachbuilders of Lymington, England. This Delahaye is finished in original colors that were found on the car during the restoration. The two shades of bright blue are set off by a subdued cream and light blue leather interior, and the rear seat area and trunk have been adapted to receive a set of custom-crafted luggage cases. The chrome accents that Faget Varnet included in its inspired design are at once exotic and restrained, and add to the car’s modernized French design. Underscoring its superb restoration and fascinating details, the Delahaye earned First in Class at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and has been shown with success at several different concours throughout the US. As attractive today as when it was built, this spectacular Delahaye Cabriolet is poised to grace its next caretaker’s collection with a style all its own.