1936 Delahaye 135 MS135 S
Year of manufacture1936
Chassis n° 46625
Engine n° 800757
Matching original engine supplied
- Genuine 135 Special, ex-Le Mans 24 Hours 1937
- Continuous history - ex-Pierre-Louis Dreyfus
- Sold with original engine
- Superb presentation
- Eligible for the best historic events worldwide
This car is one of 16 genuine Delahaye 135 Specials built by the company. These competition models were designed to comply with the new ACF rules for sporting events, the most famous being Le Mans 24 Hours. Under these rules, a minimum production of 20 examples was required, and Delahaye developed two versions from the Type 135 : the 135 " Special ", for use by the factory and a few specially chosen clients and the less radical 135 " Competition Client " offered to private drivers. The car in the sale is indeed a " Special ", the rarest and most highly sought-after version. There were many modifications to the standard touring 135 version including : a shorter chassis (2.7m wheelbase), modified suspension, bigger brakes, lightweight alloy steering box, modified Type 103 engine with a displacement of 3 557cc which featured specific engine parts and competition distribution. With fantastic handling and reliability in endurance events, the Delahaye 135 succeeded at the highest level, securing victories in such prestigious races as the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monte Carlo Rally.
The example on offer, chassis 46625, was delivered new to Pierre-Louis Dreyfus, alias "Heldé". The order was registered on his behalf on 20 February 1936 by the racing driver Henri Stoffel with the number n°5125. The 2.7m chassis was bodied by Chapron, delivered on 20 March 1936 and registered in April 1936 in Paris, with the number 794-RK-3. The car was immediately sold to Henri Langlois, alias Jacques Seylair, who shared the car with his friend Paul Benazet. They participated in several races during 1937 and 1938, including a few events at Montlhéry, achieving commendable results nearly always finishing in the top five. Most notably, on 19 June 1937 they lined up at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours. For this event the car was fitted with a streamlined nose and envelopping wings, similar to the Delahaye of Chaboud and Trémoulet. Sadly their race finished early in the 36th lap when they were forced to retire.
That year Delahaye achieved second and third positions behind the winning Bugatti of Wimille and Benoist. It was the following year that the Delahaye 135 S dominated Le Mans, finishing in first and second places with teams Chaboud/Trémoulet and Serraud/Giraud-Cabantous, beating Alfa 8C-2900s, Talbot 150 Cs and Delage D6s.
Our car then disappeared from the track and reappeared after the war. It sold in May 1947 to Mr. Tellier and was registered 8169 YC 8. This changed the following month to the Parisian number 297 RP 8. The car was sold to the company De Lavergne in Paris on 23 July 1952, and was registered 7060 BK 75 within the new system. In October 1952 it passed to Mr. Bernard, the future president of the Club Delahaye. At this time it had a coupé body with plexiglass sunroof, built by Guilloré. The car changed hands several times in this form: Mr. Pillet (July 1953, new registration 6178 AX 78), Mr. Malmoulet (October 1954), Garage St-Honoré (September 1955, new registration 9885 EH 75), Mr. Aumasson (May 1956), Mr. de Nègre du Clat (April 1958), Mr. Corteel (October 1966), Serge Pozzoli (1978), Maurice Broual (May 1979). Questioned on this subject, Bruno Vendiesse confirmed to us that he clearly remembered seeing the car on two occasions in the Collection of Serge Pozzoli. It no longer had its Guilloré body and was presented in rolling chassis form. When Maurice Broual (the founder of the Motoring Museum in Briare) acquired it, he undertook to restore the car to its "racing" configuration : he produced high quality wooden body frame using the exact measurements of Pozzoli's other Delahaye 135 S, lent to him as a model. He took engine 46625 out and installed it in his Delahaye "Chaboud Spécial 001", fitting a 235 engine in #46625 at the same time. However, he didn't finish the car, which was bought in June 1979 by Bruno Vendiesse. The latter had the chassis and the engine restored at Ets. Castel in Tourcoing, and then sent the car to Duncan Ricketts in England to have the body built. It was then registered in the north of France, 135 PE 59, and Vendiesse used it to take part in various rallies, including the Paris-Deauville and the Nurbürgring, which he drove to from Lille! "
In 1987, the car was bought by Peter Kaus, who displayed it in his museum, in Aschaffenburg, Germany, that housed the Rosso Bianco collection, one of the finest collections of sports and competition cars in the world. In 2006, the collection was bought, almost in its entirety, by Evert Louwman, who had already established an important museum in Holland. Our Delahaye 135 S sold the following year to Jonathan Procter who registered it 863 XUG in England. In 2008 it was bought by the American collector Mr. Allocca, who also acquired the original engine from Mr. Plessis at the same time. Since then, the car has participated in various historic events, such as the Alpine Trial and The Quail Concours d'Elégance.
Completely restored, this car is presented in beautiful condition today, faithful to its configuration when delivered new in 1937. It comes with a large file of papers and photos documenting its history. Fitted today with a 135 MS engine, the original engine will be included in the sale. Versatile and robust, this is a relatively easy car to use, and its history makes it eligible for the most prestigious events such as the Monaco Grand Prix Historique, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Mille Miglia, the Colorado Grand and the Monterey Historic Races.
This car is an important piece of motorsport history. It has participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours and been part of the involvement in competition by one of the most prestigious French marques of the 1930s. Qualities that are rarely found together in the market for historic race cars.
Participating in the auction on this lot is subject to a special registration process. If you would like to bid on this lot, please get in touch with the bidding office or the motorcars department at least 48 hours before the sale.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1936-delahaye-135-special-roadster-biplace-3980-38
Photos © Peter Singhof