From 1935 to 1938 some road-going Delahayes were made with the shorter 2.65-meter ‘Court’ chassis that was usually reserved for the type Spécial racing cars. These received some of the best coachwork of the period including the Torpedo Roadster by Figoni et Falaschi.
The 2.65-meter chassis typically came with a 3-carberator version of the Delahaye’s engine known as the Compétition. Later cars built after 1937 came equipped with the larger 3557cc 135M engine.
Small coachwork and a potent engine made the Compétition Court a particularly fast car.
The Torpedo Roadster
If the Talbot T150 Teardrop is Joseph Figoni’s masterpiece, then the runner up is his Torpedo Cabriolet based on a design by Geo Ham. Just eleven of these striking bodies were manufactured on the Compétition Court and some feature the best two-tone paint schemes ever used on a car.
These roasters are an attractive and diminishing flow that’s extended to details such as light surrounds and accent lines. Other features from Geo Ham, such as fully enclosed wire wheels, lights pushed to the extremity of body and a distinct rear fin further set these cars apart from the rest.
Inside, a plush interior is surrounded by gorgeous woodwork and an intricate dashboard dons color-matched O.M. gauges. Hidden behind the two seats is a disappearing soft-top that’s concealed by a hinged body panel that pivots from near the rear bumper. Underneath this huge panel, there is also room for a spare wheel and modest storage.
All the Torpedo Cabriolets were modeled after a show car that first debuted at the 1936 Paris show as Delahaye’s top model. This striking cabriolet was built on shortened Type 135 chassis number 47247 and its original orange and cream body was lost during an accident, the chassis and engine currently remain in the capable hands of an enthusiastic owner that will return the show car back to its former glory.
After the Paris Show, artist Geo Ham sued Joseph Figoni as he believed it was direct copy of a car depicted in one of his paintings. Eventually an agreement was reached and some cars have the Geo Ham plaque just in front of the rear fender.
Adatto, Richard and Diana Meredith. Delahaye Styling and Design. Dalton Watson Fine books. 2005.
Dorizon, Peigney and JP Dauliac. Delahaye-Le Grande Livre. Paris Editions EPA. 1995.
Renou, Michel. Delahaye-Tout l’historie. Paris Editions EPA. 1994.