$50,000 Bargain! 1938 Delahaye 135

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Bonjour, this gorgeous creature is a 1938 Delahaye 135 and it’s located somewhere in the UK, the listing doesn’t say where exactly. It’s listed here on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $50,000 or make an offer.

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How this car is still for sale at a paltry $50,000 is beyond me. In fact, instead of writing this I should be grabbing $60,000 out of my retirement account to buy this car sight unseen and have it shipped to the finest restoration shop. With the last 8 sales of Delahaye 135s averaging $1,057,999 – yeah! If a full restoration was $200,000, how is this not the steal of the year at $50,000? Of course, some of those 8 cars were Cabriolets and special models which sold for $1,000,000-$2,000,000. But, even if this car is only worth $300,000-$400,000 after restoration, it still seems like a no-brainer and a great investment to me.

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The Delahaye 135 is informally known as the “Coupe des Alpes” because of its success in Alpine rallies. Could you imagine driving this car in a race through the Alps in the late-1930s, or even now?! Man, what a life that would be! The 135 was made in several body styles from 1935 to 1954 with only around 2,000 cars being made in total; adding to the rarity of this beauty. This particular car looks a little rough around the edges as you can see from the oddly-pitted metalwork. The seller says that this “car was completely dismantled for restoration. The body is restored from bare metal, no rust at all, no filler anywhere. wood is reconstructed, all super solid.” I’m not sure if I have the same definition of “restored” as they do. But, this seller has a great feedback rating and they deal in rare and exotic cars and car parts, so maybe I’m missing something on the seemingly-amateuristic “restoration” that has been done on (to?) this gorgeous car.

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Mmmmm mmm, that’s one sexy car! I’m not sure who did the restoration, but if what the seller says is true it’s a solid basis for a real, proper, concours restoration; Pebble-Beach-style. And, if my math is correct, spending $200,000 on turning this car into a like-new machine again would prove to be a rock-solid investment. You would literally never lose money on a car like this one if it was restored by the best shop in the world. No more of this Maaco, oddball blue color/colour over pitted, wrinkly bodywork stuff, let’s get this car back to the level that it deserves to be at.

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Save $25,000-$50,000 of the budget for the interior. It looks like these seats would be mouse heaven. You’ll want to redo it with the exact same materials if you plan on bringing home a trophy from Amelia Island or Pebble Beach, which would mean sourcing the correct, very organic, “stuffing” material. At least the wood framing is in good shape, according to the seller. The classic Jaeger gauges are like jewels and the dash board (literally) looks to be in decent shape; definitely restorable to keep things as original as possible. You’re not going to want to cut a hole in this dash to add a 1970s Kraco cassette deck like you put in your ’77 Malibu.

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Save $50,000 for the engine and drivetrain. Now we’re getting dangerously close to my $200,000 restoration estimate! In fact, the seller says that the steering box and radiator are missing. “Hello, AutoZone? Yeah, I’ve got a ’38 Delahaye 135 and.. I say, a 1938 Delahaye 135 and.. click.. hello?” I think my estimate was way low, possibly half of what it would take to properly restore this car to concours condition. This engine is Delahaye’s 2.3L inline-six that evolved from their truck engines. This one has an upgraded 110 hp due to its three-carb setup, so that’s a nice discovery. Shifting through those four gears with this car in the Alps, or anywhere, would be a dream come true. This is the car of a lifetime for almost anyone on earth, sans maybe Jay Leno and the Sultan of Brunei. What do you think of this Delahaye 135? Could this potentially be a great deal if a person had some extra pocket change to have it restored properly?

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  1. Van

    Outstanding. You can’t put a price on your dreams. But you can’t buy a car on your dreams either.

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  2. Randy W

    Were are the taillights?

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  3. Dan10

    This is a feeler to see how much the car is worth. It will never make it to the end of auction.

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  4. Guido36

    Without a ‘Buy It Now’ the auction process is already conpromised since the seller can pull the listing at any time and for any reason.

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  5. Guido36

    Even with a BIN the seller can refuse to sell the car. Had this happen – sellers remorse and the seller said ‘sue me and I’ll leave the car in a field exposed to the elements. By the time you get done with the courts – if you win the case – all you will have is a pile of rust’

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  6. A.j

    200k? Try 400-600k depending on the shop. If you bring it to your local guy you will just make it worth less.

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  7. DolphinMember

    This is one of those frustrating listings for a great car. Pictures show a complete car but seller says “Needs full reassembly and completion of restoration”. Seller says it’s located in the UK but the Ebay page says “Located in United States” in big red letters.

    These have an amazing alpine rally record and are one of the great French makes that are not very well known over here. This could be worth the asking if it’s in the shape that the sellers says, but you definitely need expert advice on this one. The median auction price paid has been $385K and the high price paid much, much higher than that, but I assume that was a special ownership/history car, and perfect.

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  8. Luke Fitzgerald

    Rod it

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  9. Horse Radish

    Please, direct deposit that amount directly into the following bank account in Nairobi, Nigeria.
    Thank You

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    • PAW

      Em, not so small correction. Nairobi is capital of Kenya.

      Like calling New York capital of California, but even more distant as Kenya and Nigeria are different countries.

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      • Dave Wright

        He forgot to look it up in Wikipedia………..

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  10. PebbleBeachJudge

    A great offering by Barnfinds , and component wise the price of the parts are seriously the math here. 3 carb engine – $50’000, chassis $40,000, body $35.000, axles $35,000. Please don’t part it out, it’s a crime to think of ! Engine is 3.5 liters, not 2.4 as its a 6 cylinder. Consider that the 37 Delahaye winner at Pebble Beach last week was a total replica , reinvented in the 1980’s and ‘worth’ $5M now . You’d have a real deal for chump change here, no pretending and wannabee.

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    • DolphinMember

      I hope you will continue making comments about pre-WW2 cars on BF. Any car site can use more expertise on that topic of the hobby / business.

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  11. Steve

    This car has been for sale for a rather long time on Prewar Car. The major problem is that the seller states that it has no documents. Meaning no title or registration or other documents to transfer ownership, export or import it. Big problem. One would have to do a lot of due diligence to clear that up and make sure that the VIN is not being used on another 135 somewhere.

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  12. WhoaNellie

    Is it just me or does it look like the paint was done over surface rust or at least poorly prepped? I looked at the another listing (red Alfa) by the same seller and it looks similar. Maybe it’s just his camera.

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  13. PebbleBeachJudge

    Regarding titles and registrations there is no such thing as a ”title” anywhere in Europe. Ownership consist, legally, of a formal Bill of Sale and proof of payment. There is no requirement of the broadly imaginary term ”documents” to show ownership, and there are no exceptions in this law. In the USA, it’s another ball game. Each state has different rules, BUT you can indeed import a car and ”title” it without ANY EEC public road use document. To say otherwise is utter nonsense. That means, you need a bill of lading, evidence of duty paid and a bill of sale – nothing else is needed for an import or export. A V5 document is a registration document for UK road use, as is a carte gris in France/Belgium/Luxembourg and Suisse – these all prove no ownership , they are merely road registering documents. Most Delahayes carrying the Vin and Engine number on the same plate, and NO Delahaye has a chassis number stamped on the chassis. Once a bill of sale is issued and an application is made for a road-registration, the process starts to obtain a set of license plates. On the Green at Pebble there were several Delahayes with mixed match chassis from other Delahaye cars. I saw a pre-war ”identity” using a Delahaye post-war chassis with a replica body using a California title, I guess that makes it diligenced to the novices out there.

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    • Dave Wright

      Great comment……..there are only a few commenters on here that have been out of there respective states let alone imported anything. Most are Wikipedia experts without the resources to ever consider a great car purchase. This seller has a UK phone number……..call and see what he says about the car. I would send it to my wife”s cousin in Hungary for a several year long restoration. The only problem for me with this car is it is FRENCH……..sort of like a swear word in my vocabulary. If it was a comperable Mercedes, I would be a buyer, I am sure that even though it is a ******* car it is fine. When I was a kid reading Road and Track one of there senior writers (might have been Rob Box?) loved his Delahaye cars and wrote of them often.

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      • DolphinMember

        Dave, you are thinking of Rob Walker, one of the finest gentlemen racers and car guys to ever walk the Earth.

        Here is a quote from a tribute that Thomas Bryant wrote in R&T on Walker’s death in 2012:

        “In 1939, Rob and his friend Ian Connell partnered to race Rob’s 3 1/2-liter Delahaye Type 135S Course at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

        If you don’t have the issue it appeared in you can find Bryant’s tribute here:

        IMHO the usual American aversion to things French doesn’t properly apply to the Delahaye brand.

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      • Dave Wright

        Yes…….you are correct. And I agree that my French oversion should not include Delahye or Bugatti……I always loved Rob Walkers stuff.

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    • Steve

      Thanks for your input. I have left my own state and even my own country a few times believe it or not. However, I know how hard it is to title a car in the states that has lost its paperwork but have never imported anything yet. I will surely use this info at some point in the future. Whether its “utter nonsense” or not.

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      • Dave Wright

        In California……..the most populous state in the US………..it takes 250.00 to a lein sale service and 6 weeks…….you will have a title. Without even being inspected. Other states don’t even title older cars, it costs a bit more here in Washington and Idaho, 350.00……….as long as it doesn’t show up as stolen somewhere you are good.

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