In the aftermath of World War II, Delahaye had survived battered but not broken. Until production of their landmark 135-series could resume, the company paid the bills by building commercial trucks and buses. Once the 135M was revised for the post-war climate, however, Delahaye was back in business as one of France’s premier sports car makers. The revised 135M was in essence the same as the pre-war model but it featured a widened track, and more powerful, refined versions of the same 3,558 c.c. six-cylinder engine, with output as high as 160 horsepower in ultimate specification. As it had before the war, Delahaye partnered with many great French coachbuilders such as Chapron, Franay, and Letourner & Marchand to skin its fabulous 135M chassis. But it was the work of Figoni et Falaschi that made the biggest impact on Delahaye’s image. The partnership was in many ways, the ideal marriage of the flamboyant high-style of Figoni, and the engineering excellence of Delahaye. Giuseppe “Joseph” Figoni was born in Italy in 1894, and immigrated to France with his parents when he was just three years old. As a teenager, he apprenticed with a carriage-maker before serving in the French military for seven years. In 1923, he opened his own body repair shop in Boulogne and quickly won the admiration of clientele who called upon his skills for not only repairs, but also for his ability to perform modifications to suit his clients’ wishes. Inevitably, this grew into a full-fledged carrosserie by 1925. He exhibited a natural talent for proportions and detailing, continuing to build upon his reputation for high quality craftsmanship. In 1935, Figoni partnered with Ovidio Falaschi, a Tuscan businessman with a penchant for fast, stylish motorcars. Falaschi’s financial backing allowed Figoni to experiment with increasingly flamboyant designs, yet he managed to maintain his fine sense of balance and proportion. The Goutte d’Or (literally “drop of gold”) coupe on a Talbot T-150 marked his arrival as a true Avant Garde stylist, one that would attract the attention of the world’s elite figures. One such figure was T’hami El Glaoui, who served as the Pasha of Marrakesh. El Glaoui was an influential figure in Moroccan politics, which was a French held colony at the time. His powerful stature in the caste system and his sympathetic stance with the French government afforded him many business opportunities at home and abroad; enough to amass a huge fortune that at one point topped $50M. El Glaoui enjoyed the fruits of his fortune, indulging in multiple palaces and the finest of French automobiles. In the late 1940s, T’hami El Glaoui commissioned Figoni et Falaschi to construct a body atop a Delahaye 135M chassis. The resulting design was a handsome, four seat GT car that featured a three-position cabriolet top with external pram irons, and elegant, full-figured proportions. It was almost understated, yet still retained just enough of the typical Figoni drama with its chrome flashes and curvaceous details. The design proved quite popular with Figoni’s other clients, and he would go on to build a series of approximately 18 cars, built on a common theme though with each example slightly different from the next. This 1948 Delahaye 135M, S/N 801620, is one of those original El Glaoui series cabriolets, believed to the last in the series of 18 cars and one of just 9 known to survive today. Originally, S/N 801620 was ordered by an Englishman, Mr. B. Grieg after he visited the Paris Auto Salon and fell in love with what he saw on the Delahaye stand. At great cost, he ordered his 135M with a Figoni et Falaschi body, on the assurance it would be unique. While each car in the El Glaoui series was built to a common theme, they were indeed unique in detail, particularly in the treatment of the front end, the shape of the grille and differing chrome embellishments on the body sides. It is believed that Mr. Grieg felt his car wasn’t as unique as he had hoped for, but regardless, he enjoyed it for a number of years in his native England. In the 1960s, it then became part of the collection of fellow Englishman Mr. Hubert Rees. Mr. Rees then sold the car in 1971 to A.K. Wilson, a Toronto-based enthusiast and connoisseur of French motorcars. Following Wilson’s passing, the Delahaye joined the collection of William Anderson of Massachusetts who oversaw its restoration and subsequently showed the car in multiple events around the country, earning a CCCA National First Prize along the way. It then passed through two very significant collections, that of Judge Joseph Cassini and then to James Patterson of Louisville, KY, before most recently becoming part of an important private collection of coachbuilt French automobiles. Today, 801620 presents in stunning condition in the elegant livery of black over a lush red interior. Paint and body quality are exceptional, the car having been preserved in superlative condition since its restoration. Fit and finish are outstanding, and the brightwork presents in fine order. On this car, the archetypal Figoni “sweepspear” treatment is toned down in favor of linear chrome accents on the body sides, while the black Stayfast three-position top, black wall Michelin tires and chrome wire wheels lend a particular subdued elegance to this exquisite automobile. The cockpit, which is trimmed in lush red leather, shows only the slightest creasing from use but remains supple and beautifully presented. The steering wheel and dash are finished in a lighter shade of red as original, and it of course retains all original instrumentation including the original Phillips Radio. The rear seats are quite usable for additional passengers, making this a fine choice for touring or concours events alike. With the top fully open, the windscreen can be folded forward to transform this elegant drophead into a full-fledged sports car. The original, matching-numbers engine (number 801620) features triple carburetor specification and is mated to a conventionally shifted four-speed transmission, eliminating the maintenance intensive nature of the alternative pre-selector. In keeping with the rest of this car, the engine is beautifully detailed with proper finishes, correct hardware and correctly presented ancillaries. The same goes for the undercarriage which, again, is fully detailed and exceptionally clean as one would expect from a concours-quality restoration such as this. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a beautiful, fully-restored example of the highly desirable Figoni et Falaschi El Glaoui Cabriolet. One of only 9 known to exist and understood to be the final of the series, this magnificent automobile is presented in exquisite condition and is suitable for virtually any major concours event or tour the world over.
Europe, and particularly France, during the late 1930s was a hotbed of tremendous creativity and experimentation in coachbuilding. Firms like Hooper, Fernandez & Darrin, and Barker began to experiment with art deco style and ever more dramatic designs. But it was the French carrossiers like Chapron, Saoutchik and Figoni et Falaschi who truly embraced the high style of the Art Deco period with their sweeping, magnificent and flamboyant bodies. Of the great French design houses, it was Figoni et Falaschi that became the benchmark for the era, doing their finest and most notable work atop Talbot-Lago, Delage, Delahaye and Bugatti chassis. For collectors, the combination of Figoni et Falaschi coachwork and the race-bred Delahaye chassis is the ultimate expression of the period; a virtually unattainable piece of artwork that epitomizes the glamour of late 1930s France. For the enthusiast wishing to experience ownership of such an iconic piece of motoring history, options are limited to either being lucky enough to find one for sale and then writing a very large check, or building a car of their own inspired by these magnificent art-deco automobiles. In the case of our featured automobile, it was a dedicated enthusiast who desired to combine the flamboyant style of 1930s French coachbuilding with the distinctly American tradition of the Hot Rod. The result is this breathtaking 2003 Delahaye USA Boattail Speedster, a fabulous tribute to the style of the iconic Figoni et Falaschi Delahaye with a modern twist courtesy of a bespoke chassis and modern power. The body styling comes courtesy of legendary hot rod stylist Chip Foose, whose impressive design incorporates a variety of themes from the era into one dramatic piece of rolling sculpture. With this car, built by Delahaye USA, Foose brilliantly incorporated numerous historical design cues but with a thoroughly modern, almost futuristic touch. The fully skirted fenders call to mind the Delahaye 165M Figoni, while the radiator shell and cut-down windscreen recall the Bugatti Type 57SC. Further inspiration comes from Alan Leamy and Gordon Buehrig’s fabulous Auburn boat tail Speedster. The body was constructed and painted over a four year period by Brown’s Metal Mods of New York. It is finished in a striking livery using House of Kolor paints; Bloodhound Red over Jet Black. Paint quality is outstanding on the body, which is constructed from a mix of fiberglass and steel. Body moldings on the fenders were meticulously hand made by Tommy Caruso of Contour Metalshaping in Plainfield, NJ and Mark Barton of The Panel Shop in Stratford, CT. Fascinating details abound, such as the genuine Hispano Suiza stork mascot, an accurate replica Bugatti Type 57 radiator shell, and the rocket-inspired tail lights which are actually 1937 Hudson hood ornaments turned 180 degrees and illuminated with red Lucite. Eight custom tail pipes peek out from beneath the rear body, hinting at the performance potential. Used sparingly since completion, it remains in beautiful condition, and the quality of construction is first-rate. The car rides on a 127” wheelbase chassis built by Fat Man fabrications of North Carolina. Suspension is independent up front with coil over shocks, with a custom-built Ford 9-inch axle with air-ride control shocks in the rear. The car sits impossibly low and long, with the fully skirted fenders accentuating the length. Power comes via a Ford 302 cubic inch V8 mated to a C4 automatic transmission, with power brakes and power steering standard fare, so it is an easy and enjoyable drive. The engine is finely detailed to give a 1930’s period look with minimal chrome, a custom air cleaner, fantastic bespoke finned valve covers, and black and red striped lacquered ignition leads. The two-place cockpit is trimmed in glove-soft black leather, as artfully crafted as the rest of this breathtaking car. Craftsmanship is first rate, with leather covering the seats, door panels and cockpit rails. Beautiful wool carpets line the floors, and a spectacular, Cubist-style instrument panel (hand painted by Don "The Egyptian" Boeke, of Dayton, OH) houses an array of Omega Kustom gauges. There is even a functional folding top in Haartz Stayfast canvas, which disappears beneath a hard tonneau. Dramatic, beautiful, and finely constructed, this 2003 Delahaye USA Speedster is a fabulous tribute to the great French Carrossiers of the 1930s while also celebrating the creativity and impeccable craftsmanship that comes from the best of today’s modern hot rodders; with styling by one of the biggest names in the business, Chip Foose. It remains in beautiful condition, having been used only sparingly since its completion. It is ready for show or to drive, and is certain to cause a sensation no matter where it goes.
One of only two Delahaye 135 M Coupe built by Antem This Delahaye 135 M Coupe chassis no. 800990 has a breathtaking design with lines particularly fluid Totally restored Record with pictures of the restoration available Very few miles covered since the extensive restoration This Delahaye has a French registration
Body made by Pourtout in 1948 First example of this "transition" model combining the pre-war style and the integral pontoon line Was exhibited on the Pourtout stand at the 1948 Paris Motor Show Participated in many Concours d’Elégance (like Enghein-les-Bains in 1949 or the concours of "La Grande Cascade" at the Bois de Boulogne in 1949 too) Property of the Marquis de Cuevas in 1952 (he owned and managed a famous ballet company) It then went through the hands of several French owners In 1988-1989, the body, paintwork and upholstery of the car were restored by the Atelier Automobiles Anciennes in Chambray-les-Tours (AAAT) Claude Pourtout, Marcel’s Pourtout son, who supervised the restoration work, certified that this car was built by his father’s company Sold at an auction in New York in 1989, the car has since been part of various American collections This matching number car works perfectly. Only 43,405 km from new. Ready to appear at the main international Concours d’Elegance events US papers. European taxes paid.