1949 Delahaye 135MS 'Alpin' Coupé

1949 Delahaye 135MS 'Alpin' Coupé Coachwork by Guilloré

Based initially at Tours and from 1906 in Paris, Delahaye built its first automobile in 1894 and soon diversified into commercial vehicle manufacture. Its early products tended to be rather lacklustre, but then in 1935 came the first of a new generation that would change the marque's image: the T135 Coupe Des Alpes. A fine sporting car, the T135 somewhat paradoxically borrowed its engine from one of its maker's trucks. The 3.2-litre, six-cylinder, overhead-valve unit produced 110bhp on triple Solex carburettors, while the chassis featured transverse-leaf independent front suspension, four-speed synchromesh or Cotal gearboxes, centre-lock wire wheels, and Bendix brakes.

Delahaye improved on the formula the following year with the 3.6-litre, 120/130bhp T135 MS, and the sports version was soon making a name for itself in competitions, taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the run-to-sportscar-regulations 1936 French Grand Prix and winning the Monte Carlo Rally and Le Mans 24-Hour Race outright in 1937 and 1938 respectively. Prince Bira won the 1938 Donington 12-Hour Sports Car Race in Prince Chula's example and went on to take victory in Brooklands' 'fastest road car in England' race against some formidable opposition. The model reappeared post-WW2 as the 135M with the 3.6-litre engine and lasted in production until 1951.

Delahaye had no in-house coachworks, so all its chassis were bodied by inde¬pendents who created some of their most attractive designs on the Type 135. Chassis number '801186' wears coachwork by the Courbevoie-based coachbuilder A Guilloré, who bodied his first cars in 1937. Concentrating almost exclusively on Talbot, Delahaye, and Delage chassis, Guilloré was active until circa 1950, although manufacture of commercial vehicle bodies continued for some time thereafter.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams & flickr & carandclassic & classicdriver

Production Start 1949
Country of origin France