1936 Delahaye 135M Figoni & Falaschi Competition Coupe

  • 1936 Delahaye 135M Figoni & Falaschi Competition Coupe. Collection of Jim Patterson/The Patterson Collection. Photograph © 2013 Peter Harholdt

1936 Delahaye 135M Figoni & Falaschi Competition Coupe
Collection of Jim Patterson/The Patterson Collection, Louisville, KY

This stunning Delahaye was one of French coachbuilders Joseph Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi’s first aerodynamic coupe designs. With its dramatic enclosed fenders and hand-crafted aluminum body, it was built on one of the fifty short chassis designed by the Delahaye Company for sporty two-seater models. It was equipped with a four-speed competition-style manual transmission, appropriate to a sporty coupe intended for rally competition. The dashboard included a Jaeger rally clock, and the trunk had only enough room to carry a spare tire. The engine was a highly reliable 4-liter Delahaye six with three downdraft Solex carburetors.

The coupe’s striking design emphasized flowing lines with teardrop-shaped chrome accents on the hood and the front and rear fenders. The door handles and headlights were flush with the body. The dashboard was made of rich, golden wood, a Figoni &Falaschi signature. A sliding metal sunroof and a windshield that opened outward at the bottom afforded ventilation.

A French racing driver named Albert Perrot commissioned this coupe. The Comtesse de la Saint Amour de Chanaz displayed it at a concours d’elegance in Cannes. It was successfully hidden from the Germans during World War II. After the war, it reportedly belonged to actress Dolores del Rio, a well-known owner of exotic cars who lived in Mexico City and Los Angeles.

After several more owners, Don Williams, of the Blackhawk Collection, purchased the coupe in the late 1990s. Some time earlier, the Delahaye’s original engine had broken down; it was replaced with a postwar model, and the old engine was retained. In 2004, the Delahaye became the property of Mr. James Patterson, who re-installed the original engine and had the car beautifully restored.

Sponsored by: Fidelity Motors, Inc.

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