Chassis n° 818040
Carrosserie n° 7008
- One of the three Delahaye 235 Coupéés built by Chapron
- Star of the Delahaye stand at the 1952 Motor Show
- One of the last examples of the French luxury automobile
- Breathtaking styling
At the end of the Second World War, it was pressure from a few Delahaye clients and the dealer and former racing mechanic Fernand Lacour that led to the creation of the Delahaye 235. It was quick to build, being based on a lightly modified Delahaye 135 chassis and fitted with the 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine that had proved so successful for its predecessor in the 150 bhp triple carburettor version. Using a design by Philippe Charbonneaux, an aluminium body was built at Motto in Italy, in a form that would serve as a base for the creations to follow : designs of great French coachbuilders such as Antem, Figoni, Saoutchik, Letourneur et Marchand and, of course, Chapron, who was the most prolific. Aside from a few cabriolets, the Coupéé was the most common body for a car which had the personality of a luxury Grand Touring car rather than being particularly sporty. Its price of over 3 000 000 francs restricted it to the privileged few: at that time, a Peugeot 203 was selling for 660 000 francs. This, in addition to the engineering which had changed little since the 135, was a reason for its low uptake and why production ended in 1954 after just 84 examples (plus one prototype) had left the workshops on Rue du Banquier.
The car on offer is one of the rare Delahaye 235s with a Coupéé body. Jean-Paul Tissot, president of the Club Delahaye France, was kind enough to provide us with the following information: " This is one of the three 2/4-seater Coupéés bodied by Henri Chapron, in this design. Indeed, its Chapron body carries the number n° 7008, making this the first of its type. Worked on during 1952, this Coupéé was exhibited on Delahaye's stand at the 1952 Paris Motor Show, offered at a price of 3 800 000 francs. The harmonious, curved form of the rear wings set this car apart from the other two that were given a more angular shape at the rear.
This Coupéé was the subject of a feature in the magazine Auto-Rétro, no. 50 dated October 1984 ; it was then registered in the Principality of Monaco and offered for sale by the dealer Vintages automobiles. It had been part of the Seydoux Collection before being sold to Claude Gueveler, a member of the Delahaye Club, who kept it until his death. He drove the car in numerous Club rallies. This car was offered in the auction " Art and Locomotion " organised by Maître Poulain on 12 November 1979. It was recorded at this point as having been in the same hands for over 15 years. The car has therefore had a limited number of owners, helping to explain its very well preserved condition.
With its 150 bhp six-cylinder engine, Cotal electromagnetic gearbox, unique 'haute couture' bodywork and luxury finish, this very rare Delahaye 235 Coupéé is one of the last creations built by the French marque, exhibited by Delahaye at the Motor Show and therefore having great historical significance.