Lot 35

2019   |   Amelia Island 2019

1949 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet

Coachwork by Guilloré

SOLD $475,000


$500,000 - $600,000





Car Highlights

Elegance and Sportiness Combined
Richly Chronicled History
Extensive Mechanical and Cosmetic Restoration Completed in 2018
Award Winner at Prestigious Concours d’Elegance
Equally Suitable for Concours Showings or Rallies

Technical Specs

3,557 CC OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Solex Downdraft Carburetors
115 BHP at 3,850 RPM
4-Speed Cotal Electro-Mechanical Gearbox
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
Front Independent Suspension with Transverse Leaf Spring
Rear Live Axle with Quarter-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Register to Bid

Registered to Parisian agent (1949)Tissage Marignan/Tissus Jersey, Paris, France (acquired in 1955)Robert André Angue, Èze, France (acquired in 1959)Dealer, Monte Carlo, Monaco (acquired in 1959)Brooks Stevens, Wisconsin (acquired in 1960)Richard Adatto, Washington (acquired circa 1982)Ken Behring, California (acquired circa 1992)Current Owner (acquired in 2014)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 1984 (First in Class)Rally Monte Carlo Classique, 1985Arizona Concours d’Elegance, 2017 (First in Class)Going to the Sun Rally, Montana, 2017Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2018

From its launch in 1935, the Delahaye 135 quickly established itself as equally adept in competition as it was en route to the opera. Sporting versions took 2nd Overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and earned 1st, 2nd, and 4th Overall in 1938. The Delahaye 135 also was victorious in the demanding Rally Monte Carlo in 1937 and 1939. As elegant road cars bodied by the leading carrosseries of France, Delahaye 135s were sought by wealthy patrons with a sporting bent. The 135M model debuted in 1936, with its displacement expanded to 3,557 cc. At the end of WWII, the company brought the 135M back, but to a very changed market.

This Delahaye 135M, chassis 801221, was likely built in 1947, but it was not until 1949 when it was sent to the carrosserie run by Alphonse Guilloré that it received the dashing but restrained body it wears today.

Registered with the Parisian number 4213 RQ7, this example was likely retained by a sales agent in Paris until being sold in early 1955 to a family with fabric and weaving factories in the city. The family would retain the Delahaye until 1959, when it was sold to a garage owner in the commune of Èze, on the Mediterranean near Nice.

From there the Delahaye was sold to a dealer in Monaco in 1959. In turn, the dealer passed it to the legendary automotive designer Brooks Stevens, who acquired it for his private museum collection. It can be seen on the collection list in a brochure for the museum from 1960. Doubtless, Stevens appreciated the design of the car, which offered the spirit most prized in a coachbuilt French car without the excesses found in many.

Richard Adatto, a noted French custom car historian, purchased this 135M from Stevens in the early 1980s and performed a restoration, after which the car was displayed at the 1984 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, winning First in Class. The 135M also earned a CCCA Senior designation in 1985, and that same year the French car historian ran the Delahaye in the Rally Monte Carlo Classique, a tribute to the prewar exploits of the model.

Mr. Adatto sold this Delahaye in the early 1990s to the distinguished collection of Ken Behring in California. The current owner purchased the Delahaye from Behring’s collection in January 2014. With its restoration still presenting very well, the car won First in Class at the 2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Later that year it participated in the Going to the Sun Rally, based in Montana.

A photo-documented comprehensive new restoration was begun in 2017 by respected expert Alan Taylor of Escondido, California. Taylor’s team spent more than 2,500 hours bringing back to the Delahaye some important details that had been lost in the previous work, most notably its distinctive side belt molding, which re-established its original paint division line.

New interior leather and lucite controls, fitted luggage, a new soft top, gleaming underhood finishes, and restoration of the body panels brought a new level of presentation to the car. Invited to the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the Delahaye was very well received. This Delahaye, among the finest of its kind, stands poised to be shown at concours or to provide its next owner with a comfortable, fast, capable entry into almost any international event, from the Rally Monte Carlo Classique to the Colorado Grand.