Most of us enthusiasts are into postwar cars and have little experience with 1930s vehicles, so it’s easy to get mixed up with some of the great cars of the world, especially from France. Delage? Delahaye? Two different companies, though both are among the greats of the era. Delahaye in particular — especially those designed by the coachbuilding house Figoni et Falaschi — often come off like a car from Roger Rabbit.
The Pick of the Day, a 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in La Jolla, California, comes off with more restrained Figoni styling yet exploits the streamlining that was setting the scene during the era. (Click the link to view the listing)
Notable with this example is a top that completely disappears into the coachwork. Figoni would actually apply for a patent for his disappearing top, and this particular vehicle was the very first built with this mechanism.
Originally ordered by the fabulously wealthy Monsieur Wolf, a personal friend of Figoni, Wolf challenged both Delahaye and Figoni to create an elegant vehicle with the fast and reliable Competition 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine and the competition chassis. Monsieur Wolf demanded a car that would be at home on the boulevard or the racetrack, as he had planned to enter it both in rallies and concours events, plus various showings for Figoni. The competition-bred engine, gearbox and chassis had been proven at Le Mans and other races and, even after the war, this very vehicle placed 6th out of a field of 230 cars in the 1949 Monte Carlo Rallye.
The 3,557cc overhead-valve inline six-cylinder offered a substantial 120 horsepower, equal to a Buick Century straight-eight of the time. It is paired to a competition-tested 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on the top three gears. Fuel delivery is handled by a trio of Solex 40PAI carburetors, a higher-compression cylinder head (after all, it’s the competition version), oil cooler, and two fuel fillers in the trunk.
Underneath the 116-inch wheelbase, you’ll find an independent suspension using transverse leaf springs as the lower control arm. Braking is handled by 17-inch Rudge-Whitworth chromed wire wheels with 5,60 x 6,00 Michelin tires were fitted.
This Delahaye is completely authenticated by Club Delahaye in France (“chassis 46864 is correct in all respects”) as well as being in Figoni records. It also comes with a complete tool kit, including the correct jack, all in concours condition. That’s needle in a haystack stuff, folks!
The asking price is “Contact Seller” so if you haven’t gotten the hint that this car is worth as much as your house, then now you know.