- The masterpiece of a great coachbuilder
- The only surviving example with " à rostre " radiator grille (with bar)
- Unusual build technique
- Just two known surviving examples
- Ex Salon de Paris 1957
This 135 M cabriolet is one of a very small number of examples to have been bodied at the Faget-Varnet workshops, run by the talented coachbuilder in Levallois-Perret. Moreover, only six examples of this special cabriolet model were listed. To date, this is only the third known to survive, the other two belonging to American collectors. This car, chassis n° 800745, made its first appearance at the 1947 Paris Motor Show, on the Delahaye stand, as Faget-Varnet were without their own stand on that occasion.
The highly original bodywork created by Faget-Varnet resulted from its innovative design, which involved discarding the traditional wooden structure normally used in the manufacture of luxury coachwork. Instead, a patented metal frame was used, built out of 10/10 steel sheets. This method had several advantages : firstly, it produced a significant weight reduction of around 30 to 35%, allowing the finished Faget-Varnet cabriolet body to weigh around 460 kg, rather than 720 to 750 kg for the traditional wooden-framed version. Secondly, the whole car was much stronger, with the metal frame attached to the chassis at ten carefully positioned and flexible points. Also, the space inside the passenger compartment was greatly increased without the wooden frame. Finally, the same type of frame could be used for different purposes, for both a cabriolet and a coach, or a profiled cockpit.
After the 1947 Paris Motor Show, the cabriolet on offer was registered in the Seine department, in June 1948, with n° 9296 RQ 3, and it featured on the cover of a special edition of the magazine Élites françaises in October 1949, as well as on advertisement pages by Faget-Varnet.
Remarkably, this is one of just two examples fitted with a special radiator grille, featuring a large, vertical chrome bar across the grille, echoed in the design of the headlamp trim. Its sister model won the Armenonville Grand Prix d'Excellence in June 1948, but has since disappeared, leaving this as the sole survivor displaying this feature.
Parts of the body have corroded, but the principal areas of the coachwork are present, including the frame for the hood. It is possible to make out the singular shape of the wings, with horizontal trim, with both rear wheel fairings presenting a perfectly streamlined form. In all probability the metal structure will have proved more resilient than a wooden frame would have done. The interior is completely covered in dust, but the leather appears to have been preserved. The main instruments on the dashboard are present along with the controls on the steering wheel.
The bonnet reveals the 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine, here with triple carburettors, that brought the Delahaye 135 such success in all its forms. This car represents a rare opportunity to acquire a cabriolet by a great coachbuilder, built using an unusual method that differentiated it from more traditional constructions. This rare car can't fail to appeal to enthusiasts.