Throughout the production life of the legendary 135, Henri Chapron was assuredly the coachbuilder who fitted bodies to the greatest number of chassis, the best known and most common being the 'coach' and cabriolet versions. Two body styles, on the other hand, were built in much smaller numbers: the roadster and coupé. These are now very rare and are especially sought after by discerning enthusiasts. This coupé, no. 49369, is one of these extremely rare models, of which very few were produced during the short period from 1938-39. Today, only five cars survive from fewer than fifteen built. This coupé was ordered from Chapron on 4 November 1938 and was invoiced and delivered on 17 January 1939, with the body no. 6010. Its first owner, who had ordered the car, was Mr. Devanlay of the hosiery firm Les Bonneteries Troyennes at Troyes. A copy of the very detailed order form is in the file. The car was later registered in 1955, still in the Aube department, as 691 BA 10, and then on 11 November 1966 as 790 BA 91 in the Essonne. It joined the Charbonneaux museum at Saint-Dizier, registered as 135 JX 52 on 20 April 1976, and was displayed there with duotone paintwork with a metallic grey body and blue wings; it was, moreover, reproduced in these colours as a 1/24 scale model by Heller. On 12 April 1985, the coupé moved to a new owner and another department, registered as 5555 RL 78. Directed by its new owner, Mr. Dancette, the car underwent a very high quality restoration, even going beyond the standard when it was originally built. It was in fact completely restored by the highly respected Eric Limpalaer during the 1990s. It was entirely rebuilt, with the work covering the body, engine and upholstery. The goal was to produce a "show car" and it was indeed put on display, most notably on the Delahaye club stand at Rétromobile. A monochrome cream colour scheme was chosen for the paintwork, giving the coupé a distinctly elegant look; it was a wise choice, which was also used for an identical model in the 18th Concours d'élégance at Auteuil on 9 June 1939. During the restoration, the original triple-carburettor 135 M engine was replaced by the current 135 MS engine and the original block sold in Holland. Now in the same high quality collection of beautiful classic cars of the 30's for more than 12 years, this very classy coupé has come through the years very well and remains in enviably good condition. Well known in the world of classic cars, the car has taken part in many events such as the 40th Anniversary Rally of the Club Delahaye in 2006, the Rally of La Clusaz, and the 45th Rally Paris-Deauville in 2011 during which the car won the concours of state and restoration. A symbol of French expertise, the 135 is luxurious, fast and safe; this superbly executed Chapron coupé Sport Special bodywork makes it one of the most sought-after classics.
We extend our thanks to Jean-Paul Tissot from the Delahaye club for his help and the valuable information.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1939-delahaye-135-m-coupe-sport-chapron-3980-37