Used 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition for sale in La Jolla, CA
1936 Delahaye Streamlined 135 Competition Disappearing Top Convertible
By famed coach builder Figoni et Falaschi, Paris
Classic Car Club of America: 100 Points Every Showing CCCA Premier Level
Over twenty Best of Show Wins
Disappearing Top Patented by Figoni on this car, Folding Windshield
Chassis No. 46864 Engine No. 46864 All Numbers Matching
Original Figoni Body # 581, Original Chassis and Engine
All Prior Owners Known
Complete History Book/Authentication
This 1936 135 Competition Disappearing Top Convertible is notable for many reasons, including its streamlined design by Joseph Figoni, with the Figoni et Falaschi patented (795.769) disappearing top, pioneered on this car. It was specially ordered when new, to be equally at home on a boulevard... or on a racetrack. It has a racing engine, gearbox and chassis. It is restored to 100-point level for Concours d'Elegance competition, and is the winner of many prestigious concours awards. But most importantly, as the premier example of 1930s French coachbuilding, this beautiful automobile can be seen and valued as fine art, with all the implications for further appreciation that the fine art market commands. “A true movable feast for the eyes.”
From its inception, this car has a clear and well-documented history... a provenance without ambiguity or confusion. Records can be made available, from the original Delahaye factory 'build' order, through registration information. The documented chain of ownership is uninterrupted.
This Delahaye 135 Competition Convertible has been authenticated by Club Delahaye France, and Figoni records, as the original body (Figoni # 581) and chassis (Delahaye # 46864) with all pertinent numbers on the car matching the original Figoni and Delahaye records.
“The chassis 46864 is correct in all respects”
-- Club Delahaye France Archives
The car is powered by a 3.5 liter (3557cc) overhead valve, 120 horsepower, inline six-cylinder Delahaye engine, foundry-marked T35 (built in 1935). It is coupled to a 4-speed manual competition transmission with synchromesh on the top three gears. This car was ordered with the competition engine version, with triple downdraft Solex 40PAI carburetors, a higher-compression cylinder head, an oil cooler, and two fuel fillers in the trunk.
The engine and 4-speed competition gearbox are positioned low in the chassis, thus contributing to the benefits of a better-balanced vehicle.
The Delahaye Type 135 Competition long-wheelbase chassis was a factory competition special, ordered by Monsieur Wolf to satisfy his dual purpose street and track requirements. At Delahaye, the competition engine was placed into the rugged Type 135 Competition chassis, a durable advanced design for its time, proved in the coming years at races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In the front, you'll find an independent suspension using transverse leaf springs as the lower control arm (see photo above). Powerful brakes and 17" Rudge-Whitworth chromed wire wheels with 5,60 x 6,00 Michelin tires were fitted. The wheelbase is 116 inches, front track is 54 7/8 inches, and rear track is 58 3/4 inches. The exhaust line and muffler are correct.
Other special competition components include:
» Hand brake on right side, competition style
» Aluminum clutch housing
» Semi-circular radiator tank, competition style
» Front and rear suspension RAX /friction shocks perpendicular to frame, competition style
» Single plate firewall, correct for competition
» Rear axle final drive ratio 12 x 41, correct for competition
» Compression ratio of 7.58 to 1 is correct.
Rarely do competitive racing chassis and engine and imaginative aerodynamic coachwork come together in the same car. This was Figoni et Falaschi's signature style applied to a convertible... the new flowing streamlined coachwork for which Figoni-Falaschi would become internationally famous. It most dramatically illustrates Figoni's famed streamlined creations, in this case for a wealthy Parisian named Wolf, a personal friend of Figoni's. Wolf could afford the best of the best, so he challenged Delahaye and Figoni to create a car with elegant line, fine et elancée , with the fast and reliable Competition 3.5 liter six-cylinder engine, and the competition chassis... bearing in mind his intent to race the car and enter in rallies, as well as concours events and various showings for Figoni.
“This is one of the most elegant creations of Joseph Figoni and one of the most important Delahaye cars.”
-- Club Delahaye France Archives
This design is a one-off, piece unique , combining the Delahaye identity in the grille and hood with generous teardrop fenders flanking Marchal headlights tucked tightly to the grille and a pair of Marchal fog lights fitted low below them. The fender shape is echoed at the rear with skirts enclosing the rear tires. Chrome accents highlight the fender trailing edges matching the chrome accent sweeping back from the peak of the grille, down across the doors then filling the rear fender joint and small chrome spline down the rear deck.
Monsieur Wolf granted the privilege of showing his car to his close friend Figoni, for tours and other showings of the streamlined coachwork. Figoni himself drove this car, as Wolf's eyesight was poor enough to limit his driving. Later, Wolf hired the famous French racing team of Guy Mairesse and Paul Vallée to campaign the car in various racing events. We have a photo of the team piloting the car in the Rallye de Monte Carlo in 1949, kindly supplied by Claude Figoni, Joseph's son. The car achieved sixth place out of a field of 230 cars, in an extremely difficult and dangerous race on the rutted muddy wreck-strewn roads of postwar Europe.
When Joseph Figoni took delivery of Wolf's rolling chassis from the Delahaye factory, he set out to make the most streamlined body possible. He wanted the convertible top to be lowered within the body. Today, we take this complex process for granted. But back then, Figoni, a streamlining pioneer, had to invent a very effective disappearing top for this car. The folding mechanism is described in French Patent 795.769, «Perfectionnements aux véhicules décapotables» , applied for October 1, 1935 and issued January 13, 1936, just preceding the construction of this car.
The Type 135 Competition would be successful on nearly every venue in which it competed. It earned victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Monte-Carlo Rallye, the Paris-Saint-Raphael race, several Grand Prix races, and many other events both before and after WWII. In 1937, a year after this long-wheelbase 135 Competition was delivered to Monsieur Wolf, similar Type 135 Competitions won the Monte Carlo Rallye, and placed first and second at Le Mans. And our car, so beautiful at Concours showings, is an integral part of that championship heritage, itself placing 6th in the 1949 Monte Carlo Rallye. We have a photo with Guy Mairesse and Paul Vallée as the racing team, kindly supplied by Claude Figoni, Joseph's son. Mairesse and Vallée campaigned the car for Wolf, per Club Delahaye France.
You'll appreciate the gorgeous interior's sparkling jewel-like engine-turned dashboard, soft and supple light gray (gris) quill ostrich leather seats and door panels, piped in dark blue leather. The light-colored upholstery is a perfect complement for the stunning Bleu Foncé exterior. Carpets are dark blue as is the soft top and trunk lining. There are so many small touches that make this car unique -- like the upswept curve at the center base of the folding windshield, a theme picked up on the polished wood door panels, and on the upholstery. And, the car also has a set of matching fitted luggage as per the original build sheet. The luggage is finished in reverse colors of dark blue (bleu foncé) quill ostrich with gray (gris) edging and handles. The entire ensemble of internationally competitive wind-cheating luxury coachwork is simply breathtaking.
Refined detailed elegance and streamlined design combine masterfully with competition engine and chassis in this piece unique objet d'art, considered to be one of Joseph Figoni's finest creations. Show, tour or simply stare at her; a visual feast. To be savored.
1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Disappearing Top Convertible by Figoni et Falaschi, Paris
La Jolla, California
Gray Quill Ostrich
1939 Delahaye 135M in Monteira
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' The S�ragga Collection event, 20 - 21 September 2019.
€400,000 - €450,000
1911 Delahaye 413 in Saint Louis, MO
Emile Delahaye is one of the founding fathers of the Automobile Industry. Like his contemporaries Gottlieb Daimler, Ferdinand Porsche and Henry For...
1948 Delahaye 135M in Saint Louis, MO
In the aftermath of World War II, Delahaye had survived battered but not broken. Until production of their landmark 135-series could resume, the co...
1949 Delahaye 135M in Astoria, NY
1949 Delahaye Type 135M Cabriolet by FranayThis wonderfully preserved 1949 Delahaye Type 135M Cabriolet by Franay has exceptional original patina a...