1939 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet

Formed in 1894 Delahaye is one of the oldest and most prestigious French car makers.  Until 1934 the company produced trucks, lorries and parcel carriers for the post office, motor ploughs, fire engines, and other commercial and military vehicles.  The arrival of the 18hp 135 Super Luxe in 1935 was a radical change marking the start of the most prestigious series of vehicles.  It gave Delahaye a much more sportive and elegant image thanks to the work of Frances Best coachwork designers (Antem, Aubineau, Chapron, Figoni et Falaschi, Gullore, Letourneur et Marchand and Pourtout et Saoutchik). 

The type 135 range soon evolved so that customers could have their Sport (18Cv, 3.2 litre, 96hp), Coupe des Alpes (18CV, 3.2 litre, 110hp) or Competition (20CV, 3.6 litre, 120hp) models constructed around a variety of wheelbases (the shortest and longest of which were 2.70m and 3.15, respectively).

By 1939, the grille had slimmed down and become more round and the interior had a very plain dashboard, with varnished wood with rev counter and a lateral clock.  Later models were fitted with the 3.6 engine returning 120 horsepower at 4,000rpm with three carburetors, a Cotal 4 speed pre-selective gearbox.  After this the model became known as the 135M (M for "modified").

Although this vehicle was built in 1939 it was put into store and not sold until the late 1940’s.  Its history from then on is patchy until it was purchased in a very sorry state by Mrs Annette Haynes.  Most identifying marks had been removed but the bodywork is thought to be by the French coachbuilder Gullore.