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Mullins’ ‘Star of India’ Delahaye acclaimed best of the beauties at new French concours


The Mullins' 1937 Delahaye wins best of show at new French concours d'elegance
The Mullins’ 1937 Delahaye wins best of show at new French concours d’elegance

Concours d’Elegance is, after all, a French phrase, so perhaps it’s only fitting that Europe’s newest concours d’elegance was held in France. The inaugural La Rencontre de l’art & de l’Elegance (Chantilly Arts and Elegance Concours d’Elegance) was held in the gardens of the Domaine de Chantilly and attracted some 10,000 visitors who came to see 100 of the world’s most beautiful automobiles.

Classes included Maserati Racing Cars, Great Bodywork on Maseratis, a Tribute to Bugatti, Untouched (unrestored) Cars, Pre-1905 Ancestors, Pre-1976 Endurance Racers, Sports and Racing Cars of the Inter War Period, British chassis with Italian coachwork, Great French Coachwork of the 1920s and ‘30s, and Concept Cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Mirror, mirror on the wall… Judged most beautiful of all was, no surprise, a French car, the 1937 Delahaye 135 M cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, which was displayed by its owners, Peter and Merle Mullin. Peter Mullin is founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum and chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Known as the Star of India, the Delahaye is one of only three surviving with Figoni et Falaschi coachwork. It was commissioned by Figoni’s friend, explorer and businessman Casimir Jourde and was one of 11 cars built by Figoni et Falaschi for the Paris Auto Salons from 1936 through 1939.

In 1939, the car was shipped to India where it was sold to Prince de Berae Mukarran Jah. At some point the car was sold and disappeared.

It wasn’t until 1982 that the car was rediscovered, sitting on wooden blocks inside a garden shed in Jodhpur. A British classic car dealer had it disassembled and shipped in crates to England, where it was restored.

But the restoration was an as-found effort because the dealer didn’t know changes had been made to the car in India.

The car was displayed at Pebble Beach in 1992, and then was purchased by Mullin who restored it to its original configuration, although not with its original red paint.


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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