1938 Delahaye 135 MS
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Standing for Modifie Speciale, the 135 MS was the definitive version of Delahaye's signature chassis. It had 100 mph performance which included it with the fastest cars in the world.
When the MS was released in 1938, its chassis had already won many victories including LeMans with special competition versions built for sporting clientele. These earlier cars featured three carburetors and special inlet ports and a six-port exhaust manifold which was later included for the first time on road cars with the 135 MS.
First shown at the 1935 Paris Auto Show, the 135 was an lower, more powerful and sporting version of the 18HP model it replaced. This model was updated in 1937, to include the 3,557cc engine in various states of tune. The the 135M or Modifie featured either one or three caburettors for 95hp or 115hp. The top model was the Modifie Speciale (MS) with 135hp.
As an option, the pre-selective Cotal transmission was available which used a gearshift lever mounted near the steering wheel to electromagnetically change gears. While totally complicated and hard to maintain, the clutch only had to be used for starting and stopping.
One aspect that made these Delahayes special were their connection to the great French carrosseris that made extravagant bodies and interiors for them. These were sometimes built for a Concours d'Elegance and most were almost always executed by Figoni et Falaschi who had a great sense of sweeping styles and subtle chrome decoration called brightwork. Many other great companies bodied the 135 MS including Saoutchik, Guillore, Chapron and Franay.
Unfortunately the 135MS was the last great car made by Delahaye. After the war they continued producing the same chassis restyled with a radiator grille and hood by designer Philippe Charbonneaux, but it was showing its age. In 1951, the 135 was replaced by the 235, which wasn't very different.
Auction Sales History
1938 Delahaye 135 MS Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi - sold for $990,000
Displayed on the Figoni et Falaschi stand at the 1938 Paris Salon. Formerly owned by Antoine Rafaelli and Peter Kaus of the Rosso Bianco Museum and John O’Quinn. Equipped with the desirable racing-specification MS engine. Two year restoration by Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier
Auction Source: 2015 Amelia Island by RM Sotheby's
1938 Delahaye 135 MS Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi 60112 - sold for $1,540,000
Offered with an invitation to the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Displayed on the Figoni et Falaschi stand at the 1938 Paris Salon. Concours restoration by marque specialists Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier and overseen by Mr. Claude Figoni. Desirable MS racing engine. From the Estate of John M. O’Quinn.
Auction Source: 2013 Arizona Auction by RM
1939 Delahaye 135MS - did not sell for $800,000
Fascinating early history; purchased new by ‘La Mome Moineau’. Single ownership for past three decades.Distinctive three-position top. Research conducted with Claude Figoni. The only surviving example known to exist of five built. Matching numbers.
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Auction by RM
1939 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster 60158 - sold for €784,000
Offered from the Estate of John M. O’Quinn. Frequently campaigned in vintage rallies. First appearance since completion of restoration by marque specialists Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier. Restoration overseen by Claude Figoni.
Auction Source: RM 2011 Villa d’Este Auction
1938 Delahaye 135 MS Figoni et Falaschi Coupé 60112 - did not sell for €830,000
Offered from the Estate of John M. O’Quinn. Displayed on the Figoni et Falaschi stand at the 1938 Paris Salon. First appearance since completing concours-quality. restoration by marque specialists Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier. Restoration overseen by Claude Figoni. Desirable MS racing engine.
Auction Source: RM 2011 Villa d’Este Auction
1938 Delahaye 135MS Sports Cabriolet 60123 - sold for $852,500
The deVillars show car for 1938 Salon. Multiple awards including Best in Class at Pebble Beach. A singularly beautiful design, s/n 60123 incorporated a flowing body envelope that was enhanced by a delightful body-side sweep. Its lack of running boards, accompanied by bright trim on the rocker panels and fender edges, gives the car its modern look. The raked “vee” windscreen and close-coupled two-passenger cabin results in a stunning and highly... read more
Auction Source: RM Auctions' 2010 Sports & Classics of Monterey
1938 Delahaye 135 MS Competition Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi 49197 - sold for €1,792,000
With stunning Figoni & Falaschi open coachwork constructed on the 135 MS Competition-type long chassis, this unique Delahaye offers the delectable combination of the best in late ’30s French custom body design with some of the highest specification mechanicals ever offered by the company. This particular Delahaye is also somewhat unusual in that it participated in two diametrically opposed forms of motoring competition by being both a show car... read more
Auction Source: 2010 RM Auctions Sporting Classics of Monaco
1938 Delahaye 135 MS Coupé 60112 - sold for $1,712,000
This coupe’s early history after the Salon is unknown, but postwar it came into the hands of Madame Michele Gautier of La Seyne-sur-Mer on France’s Cote d’Azur. At some stage the frontal aspect of the car was modified with the fitting of a narrower radiator grille as well as chrome embellishers incorporating position lights on the leading edges of the wings. This enhancement replaced the exposed low-level lamps of its initial configuration. In... read more
Auction Source: 2006 Monterey Preview