Pebble Beach Material: 1930s Delahaye 135

delahaye-135

Jesse MortensenBy Jesse Mortensen

Here’s a head scratcher. This Delahaye could be one of the most beautiful cars ever built. It also ranks among the most valuable. Yet, somehow this particular one fell victim of what appears to be an amautuar restoration that was never finished. The seller is a dealer and apparently isn’t even sure what year the car is. The title says 1938, but someone told them the engine is from a 1936 135M? Lots of unknowns here, but there has to be someone out there with concours ambitions who knows what they are looking at. Find it here on eBay where bidding ends tomorrow morning.

delahaye-underside

Perhaps the restoration work done is better than it appears in the photos, but I have a feeling you will need to redo a lot here in order to get invited to any events. Then again, it’s not everyday that you see one of these aluminum bodied beauties. These make regular appearances in coffee table books about the world’s most beautiful cars. They were pretty advanced too with a fast-shifting electric transmission appearing in 1937. I wonder if this one has it? Believe it or not, these cars had some velocity to go with their good looks too. They did quite well in rallies and races and there were even a few different high performance models built. Wins at Le Mans and Monte Carlo cemented the car’s status.

triple-carb-six

The six cylinder engine found in this car may have been derived from Delahaye’s truck engine, but it had a shorter stroke for quick revs and was capable of top speeds exceeding 100mph. The seller mentions that this engine could be from a 135M – which was a higher displacement version of the original car. There were different displacements available and multiple carb setups. As you can see, this one has three carburetors. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s from an M though. Apparently, you could get this same setup on the base engine. No wonder there’s so much confusion. There was a lot to these cars and a lot of time has passed since they were new. Records have been lost and memories have become blurred. Surely, there are a few people dedicated to the preservation of these wonderful machines?

pebble-material

This one is going to need a lot of attention before it’s going to drive across that 18th fairway. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it there someday though. As the years go on, many automotive marvels are forgotten. It’s hard to have nostalgia for a car this old, but luckily there is a small group of people who keep the flame alive. Some of them are motivated by money, but I’m sure a few just have appreciation for an era when cars were much more than transportation. What do you think – is this Pebble Beach material?

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Comments

  1. Rob

    ~ONLY 2 WORDS.. Absolutely Stunning!!

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    It’s Delahaye, not De la Haye, and much of the value depends on what the components actually are. Delahaye 135 MS cabriolets have been selling for a median of $512K at recent auctions, but there’s no guarantee that this car could get there from here. You would need to examine the rebody carefully and also know who made it. The reputation of the body builder will probably matter as much for collector value as build accuracy. A non-original engine of the correct type will probably not detract too much, since these cars are so old that quite a few will have had engine changes. Bid to over $100K so far, but reserve not met.

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  3. DRV

    Pretty sure it’s missing lots of irreplaceable dramatic chrome trim.
    If it’s history can be sorted, the re restoration could be more expensive because of this restoration….

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  4. Luke Fitzgerald

    Rod it

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  5. Bobsmyuncle

    I find it remarkable that something like this would be traded on eBay.

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  6. OA5599

    Rolling sculpture.

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  7. healeydays

    Strange wording on this ad “The few original cars are now literally worth millions ; this car will be worth at least half a mill. when done and it won’t cost you a lot to finish this , so this is truly a great investment if you have the resources.”

    Is this an original or…

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  8. A.J.

    You guys all realize this is just a mediocre rebody on a 135 chassis? A real one would be 4-5 million plus. I’m missing what the big deal is. 200k might be a ton of money for it. You would not be allowed to park this in the spectator lot at Pebble.

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    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      The SCM Guide says the highest auction price paid for a 135 M Cabrio was $1.7 million, and for a coupe the highest was $2.4 million.

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      • A.j

        I’m pretty sure maclcom prays car brought over 4 and that was a while ago. Btw, price guides are worthless for rare cars.

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  9. JagManBill

    John K – thats not a good example as it was a BC build and from 2005. The name alone added bunches of bucks. I’m guessing this one finished out is maybe worth 1/2 to 3/4 of that at this time and a big IF its finished out with all original parts.

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  10. m power

    I was looking at this a few days ago on eBay and the fact that it’s a re-body threw me off. It was more than likely a lesser model and they tried to recreate something special.

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  11. charlie

    I have seen a few of these in person, the Blackhawk Museum in Danville CA, and the Peterson in LA, and something about this just does not look right – maybe it is the lack of the extraordinary chrome trim which has to be unobtainium, or maybe it is not a ’30’s body at all but a reproduction. What ever it is, the turning radius would make parking at the supermarket a real chore.

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    • Glen

      I have to say, if I had one of these, I wouldn’t be going grocery shopping in it!

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  12. Van

    Deco Rides? Fiberglass?

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  13. Jay M

    THIS IS AN ALL ALUMINIUM BODY !!

    No, not exactly. Fiberglass is visible on both sides as part of the body tub in the under car pics on the lift.
    That $40 dollar parts store exhaust system is very out of place.

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  14. Mark S

    Work is looking pretty good for home build I doubt there to many nay Sayers on this site that could do eguivilant work. Who cares if it makes it to pebble beach. I’d rather have a car you can get out and drive, not some trailer queen that rarely touches pavement. I say the new owner finish it and drive it.

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  15. GEORGE

    put a 389 tri power in it and drive the crap out of it.

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    • Kevin

      For some reason I go with a 327 fuelie.

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  16. A.J.

    I guess the best way to think about it would be a decent amateur painter doing up a copy of the Mona Lisa and hanging on his living room wall. He used a period frame from something else, similar but not quite the right paints, and got the texture 50% right. Nothing wrong with it but please nobody is bringing up Da Vinci.

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  17. Brad C

    The folks at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA are probably some of the world’s best experts on French art deco period cars. They’ve restored many, kept some in “as found” condition (like the Bugatti that sat at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland for 70 years).

    They’d be the perfect people for this one — if the body isn’t original but the undercarriage is, I could imagine them stripping it down and just displaying the bare chassis and drivetrain as a work of art.

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  18. Martin Horrocks

    As JM says the lift shots seem to show the body sides to be moulded fibreglass. You´d have to see this before bidding. It might be a nice thing to have if done well, but certainly can´t be a Pebble Beach car, surprised at the suggestion……

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  19. Mike Burnett

    Is there something wrong with the pointed shape of the headlights?

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  20. Dave

    The ‘Pebble Beach’ value in this is in the chassis and parts. After seeing this ad earlier, I stumbled on pics tonight of a shop with this in it alongside several scratch-built modern copies of vintage competition Ferraris. All the work is nice for what it is and passable as far as that goes, but when you study it, it becomes clear that the masters were called masters for a reason. No disrespect to the obvious skill of the modern coach builder, but the best shapes of all-time are a high mark to aspire toward. This is nice but for accuracy’s sake (if that’s what you want) you would need to start fresh.

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  21. leiniedude

    Winning bid, $124,544 AND 44 cents! 26 bids.

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  22. Chebby

    Anybody else thinking of Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse?

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  23. GRAY WOLF

    Blown Hemi and weed burners!!

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