£3,250,000 - £3,750,000
1937 Delahaye 135M Competition Court Roadster Coachwork by Guillore Chassis no. 47471 Engine no. 47471 3,557cc OHV Straight 6-Cylinder Engine Triple Downdraft Solex Carburetors 110bhp at 4,500rpm 4-Speed Manual Transmission Transverse Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Front and Live Axle with Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Rear Suspension 4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes *Unique automobile *In the present ownership for more than 20 years, never publicly sold *One of only 30 special order Competition Court/Short Chassis Delahaye 135 built *Technical and historical reports on file by marque experts André Vaucourt and Jean-Paul Tissot THE DELAHAYE 135 In 1935, the decades old concern of Delahaye pioneered the first of a new generation of automobiles that would change the marque's image forever; the T135 Coupe Des Alpes. A fine sporting car, it was powered by an engine, which, although designed for car use, had first appeared in a Delahaye commercial vehicle. The 3.2-liter, six-cylinder, overhead-valve unit produced 110bhp on triple Solex carburetors, while the chassis featured transverse-leaf independent front suspension, four-speed synchromesh or Cotal gearboxes, center-lock wire wheels and Bendix brakes. Delahaye improved on the formula the following year with the 3.6-liter, 120/130bhp T135MS, and the sports version was soon making a name for itself in competitions, taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the run-to-sportscar-regulations 1936 French Grand Prix and winning the Monte Carlo Rally and Le Mans 24-Hour Race outright in 1937 and 1938 respectively. Prince Bira won the 1938 Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race in Prince Chula's example and went on to take victory in Brooklands' 'Fastest Road Car in England' race against some formidable opposition. Delahaye had no in-house coachworks, so all its chassis were bodied by independents, which created some of their most attractive designs on the Type 135. It was a most fortuitous partnership, resulting in memorable automotive sculpture from the likes of Saoutchik, Chapron, Franay, Figoni et Falaschi and as here Guilloré. Alphonse Guillore was a late comer to the industry, joining it when he founded his coachbuilding house in 95 years ago, in July 1924, having been invalided after service during World War One and receiving the Legion of Honor. It was not until the mid-1930s that he would develop a rapport with Delahaye and his first renditions on their chassis materialize. This is one of two known survivors on the short chassis, albeit each differs. THE COMPETITION COURT As the new Delahayes built their phenomenal competition record, the company quite naturally developed them further, usually at the request of their clientele and as a result of their experiences on the race-track or in fast road competition. For the ultimate sportsman in the late 1930s, by special order Delahaye would build you its lightweight, shortest chassis, they refer to these potent combinations as 'Competition Court', or short chassis competition, and were built on a 2.65 meter wheelbase. Coachwork was generally honed to match the perfect proportions of the haunch stance of the short chassis, although for a handful of these cars more flamboyant, and surely heavier renditions extended beyond the tight platform frame. Of the 30 of this variant believed to have been built, the survival rate is relatively modest, yet testament to their stature in the collecting fraternity examples grace major collections around the world, including the Revs Institute in Florida and the Patterson Collection in Kentucky. It is unlikely that any of those cars would come to market in the foreseeable future and it is more than 5 years since any were available publicly. THE MOTORCAR OFFERED Presented for sale from more than 20 years of ownership where the car has been secreted in a major private collection, chassis 47471 proffers entry to an exclusive ownership club and a ticket to the Concours lawns around the world as well as the most coveted road tours. Over the course of its current ownership, the car's history has been carefully researched by not one, but two of the leading authorities on the marque. The first was renowned historian André Vaucourt, who through the Delahaye Club in the 1970s through the 2000s. M. Vaucourt visited the car in the late 1990s and early 2000s, carefully reviewing the most intricate details of its technical specifications as well as its coachwork and history. In more recent times Jean-Paul Tissot, has further worked to endorse and add to its pedigree. Summarising the information provided: The car was originally completed in May 1937 and registered in Paris under the license plate "7671 RL", the original registrant is not known. When it next changed hands it received the post war plate "1334 DZ 76" and was by then the property of Monsieur Ihnno "Jacques" Ezratty, of 32 Rue Médéric, in Paris's 17th district. Mr. Ezratty is known to have been in the art and design world, supplying fabrics to the leading couturiers of the day and is charted as a close associate of the Russian artist Alexandra Exter. In recent years a number of Exter paintings were sold by descendants of the Ezratty family, with catalogue footnotes recounting Ihnno as being a well-known sight in his convertible Delahaye, most likely this car. The next owner was "Robert De Negre" of 50 Avenue Wagram in Paris in 1960. De Negre is more correctly known as Baron Henri-Robert de Nègre du Clat, a serial Delahaye owner, who owned at least 3 other cars in this period, chassis 46837 another Competition Court, 46625 and 47192. Its penultimate Paris owner in this period was Gaston Garino's esteemed antique car agency on Rue des Bas Rogers in Surenes. Per the Delahaye Club, there is a gap before a Mr. 'Ng' is noted as the owner on November 3rd, 1980. At this point, the Delahaye migrated from its home country to America to become the property of Mark and Annie Shetler of Tustin, California. Mr. Shetler appears to have been a well-known West Coast collector from the late 1960s onwards. He and his wife showed the Delahaye, looking freshly restored in burgundy livery with cream fenders at the 1982 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance which made a feature of this marque. Mr. Shetler passed in the late 1980s and it is likely that this precipitated the car's next change of ownership. The buyer was the noted French collector and heir to the Schlumberger fortune, Michel Seydoux. Seydoux appears to have been responsible for a repaint in a single white color. Arch car sleuth and dealer extraordinaire Don Williams was able to extract it from this collection in the early 1990s bringing it to the US again, and it has resided on these shores ever since. Mr. Williams displayed 47471 at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1992 in class P, and subsequently commissioned Mike Fennel restorations to repaint and refurbish the cosmetics of the car, which today he describes as having been a highly original example. He chose a rich royal blue scheme and slightly embellished the car with 'spats' to match the form of the hood louvers, something that was not uncommon in period, and could easily be reversed if a new owner wished. Don Williams sold the car to noted collector Oscar Davis, who exchanged it with the current owner in 1996. Within the last few years the car was brought Laidlaw Antique Auto Restoration where it received a thorough detailing of its 20 plus year old restoration with a new interior in rich biscuit hide and complementing top in sand cloth, piped in brown. On the completion of nearly a year's work, the car made its debut at the Elegance at Hershey Concours. It was subsequently displayed at the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance in 2017 where it garnered the People's Choice award. In every regard this is a special automobile, from its distinctive looks to its underpinnings of the latest performance that Delahaye could offer in its day. Owing to its careful and low-key ownership for most of its life, it offers an incredibly fresh proposition to either concours or touring events for which the experience would likely be equally rewarding.