1948 Delahaye 135 M

Coach Aérosport Letourneur & Marchand


  • Year of manufacture 
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French title
Chassis no. 800700
Engine no. 800700
Body no. 3028

- Sole surviving 135 Aérosport coach with Letourneur & Marchand radiator grille
- With the same family of discerning collectors since 1959
- Superb patina from older, top-flight restoration

Throughout its career, all the coachbuilders fitted bodies to the renowned Delahaye 135. After the war, from the first Paris Motor Show in 1946, most of these up-market car designers responded with new, sometimes bold styling. Not, however, the talented coachbuilders Letourneur & Marchand, who decided more sensibly, as the market picked up, to reinterpret and update one of their most striking models, first seen at the 1936 Paris Motor Show, the aerodynamic "Aérosport" coach on the Delage D8-120. In 1948-49, they therefore built just seven "Aérosport" coach models on the Delahaye 135, one of them (no. 801002) presented at the 1948 Paris Motor Show. They were characterized by the absence of a central pillar between the side window and rear quarterlight.
Of the seven 135 "Aérosports" built, only two survive, including no. 800700 now for sale. With body no. 3028, this is the only one of the two remaining cars with the distinctive frontal treatment and grille specific to Letourneur & Marchand. It was ordered from the coachbuilder in January 1948 and the chassis supplied by Delahaye on 23 February. It was completed and delivered on 12 July 1948 to Mr.Verschraegen, a furniture dealer from Paris. It was originally platinum grey, with an interior in green leather and Dormeuil cloth. The chassis is a 135 M, with the three-carburettor version of the 3.5-litre engine (type 6 S 103) and a Cotal electromagnetic gearbox. The car was registered 2591 DC 78 in 1959 and has kept this number until now, having spent more than 60 years with the same family of discerning collectors. The current owner's father had the car repainted in the 1970s, using several coats of cellulose paint, sanded between each coat, giving a real depth and shine to its attractive burgundy finish. The interior was refurbished at the same time. In the early 2010s, after it had been laid up, further work was undertaken. The car has been little used since then, however, so we recommend that a general service be carried out, although we enjoyed the car's comfort and lively engine during our test. It should be noted that the door and window mechanisms, which are particularly heavy due to the car's design, will require attention. But overall the car is in nice condition. Thanks to its rarity and pure lines, the car is a testament to this design study from one of the leading French coachbuilders, even showing an uncanny resemblance to the Jaguar XK 120 coupé, which would only appear in 1951.

With thanks to Jean-Paul Tissot from the Delahaye Club for his invaluable help.

For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1948-delahaye-135-m-coach-aerosport-letourneur-marchand-3980-47