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1935 Delahaye
$ Auction
135 M
1935 Delahaye 135 M
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1935 Delahaye
135 M
1935 Delahaye 135M Competition Drophead Coupe

• Figoni Car #566 debuted at the 1935 Paris Motor Show
• Figoni ...
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1935 Delahaye 135M Competition Drophead Coupe

• Figoni Car #566 debuted at the 1935 Paris Motor Show
• Figoni et Falaschi's public auto show premier; accurately presented in their desired visually stunning colors
• 1 of only 4 Delahayes built by Figoni in 1935 and the only known survivor
• Last known Delahaye to be built solely by Figoni before partnering with Falaschi later in the year
• Result of a five-year research and restoration effort including many of the greatest French authorities on Delahaye
• The first Delahaye featuring Figoni's patented disappearing top
• A faithful testament to accuracy, detail, and quality of the restoration
• Exhibited at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
• Certified by Club Delahaye of France; As depicted in the Delahaye Figoni book by Jean-Paul Tissot

3.2-litre OHV, straight-six, four-bearing crankshaft, triple Solex carburetors, 110 HP, four-speed Cotal pre-selector transmission, leaf-spring front suspension, live rear axle, cable-operated Bendix brakes; wheelbase: 116”

This near-mythical Delahaye Type 135M Competition Drophead Coupe is the last surviving 1935 of the marque penned by unrivaled coachbuilder, Figoni. Of the four Figoni built in that year, this is the only example known to survive – and what a survivor. This one-of-a-kind masterwork, Body 566, debuted on stage at the 1935 Paris Motor Show and was well-documented before Delahaye historians lost track of its whereabouts. It has been the source of a riveting five-year research effort, helmed by its owner Sally Perkins, and undertaken by many of the greatest living Delahaye historians and experts in France. Dela, as Mrs. Perkins affectionately calls her French automobile, was the recipient of a thorough and painstakingly correct restoration by Monsieur Bonnefoy, one of the most trusted Delahaye specialists in France. For Delahaye and Figoni enthusiasts alike, it doesn't get more exciting than this splendid and important piece of the automobile history.

The illustrious French marque began with Émile Delahaye who began his career as an engineer with an innate understanding of then cutting-edge mechanics. He personally developed his first combustion engine for the shipping industry then soon applied that knowledge to automobiles. In 1894, he debuted his first car at the impromptu, inaugural Paris Motor Show before it was even called the Paris Motor Show, or Mondial de l'automobile. To promote his feat of engineering and muster up some business, Émile began racing his cars to showcase his talents. The tactic worked and he quickly secured partners in George Morane as well as his brother-in-law, Leon Desmarais. They owned a factory in Paris, so Delahaye moved his operation from his hometown of Tours, in the Loire Valley, to the city. Poor health would force Delahaye to retire early; Émile Delahaye died soon thereafter and would never witness the zenith of the company he created. He passed away in 1905 with a great legacy still ahead of him. Following Émile's departure, Delahaye produced myriad industrial vehicles including trucks, fire trucks, boats, and run-of-the-mill, reliable cars. The company rolled along with a lack of identity for over three decades until around 1932.

This was truly a golden era for design in automobiles and lent itself to creative freedom and innovation with regard to automobile aesthetics. Although the term, “bespoke,” is thrown around quite liberally today, these cars truly were bespoke by definition; they were couture, handmade-to-order. Even the rare supercars today cannot match their level of singular exclusivity. Not surprisingly, France, with its innate love for art and culture, would lead the world in the artistic design of coachbuilding. Among La Belle France's celebrated coachbuilders were Figoni and his work is all the more sought-after today. With a definitive style that captured Art Deco's Streamline Moderne movement at its pinnacle, Guiseppe Figoni was directly inspired by aerodynamics and aesthetics of aircraft design of his time, revealing voluptuous curves, dramatically tapered angles, and flush rivets in all their smooth, sensual glory.

Boasting the superb original paint combination, offset by gleaming brightwork, this one-of-a-kind Figoni is as elegant inside as she is a striking Art Deco masterpiece on the outside. With a soft, creamy yellow upholstery enhanced by the rich wood grain of the dash and the authentic black and white dials, the cockpit of this dream car is every inch as marvelous as its incredible pedigree. This remarkable 1935 Delahaye Type 135M, body by Figoni and the foundational component of Figoni et Falaschi, is accompanied by a tome of documentation including certification by the Delahaye Club of France. Thanks to the tenacity and unceasing passion of Sally Perkins, this rolling piece of art and history has been preserved for future generations. The time has come for this extraordinary car to find its next caretaker. The point of this labor of love was not to hold on to the car forever but to save her and reveal her remarkable heritage - what a treasure!

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Justin Sheehan