Delahaye GFA Type 135 MS. Cabriolet from 1947 V6

Delahaye GFA Type 135 MS. Cabriolet from 1947 V6

Delahaye was a family-owned automobile manufacturing company, founded by Émile Delahaye in 1894 in Tours, France. Manufacturing was moved to Paris following incorporation with two unrelated brothers-in-law as equal partners in 1898. The company built a low volume line of limited production luxury cars with coachbuilt bodies; trucks; utility and commercial vehicles; busses; and fire-trucks.

Delahaye made a number of technical innovations in its early years; and, after establishing a racing department in 1932, the company came to particular prominence in France in the mid-to-late 1930s, with its Type 138, Type 135SC, and type 145 cars winning numerous races, and setting International records. The company faced setbacks due to the Second World War, and was taken over by amalgamation with arch competitor Hotchkiss in 1954. Both were taken over by the Brandt organization, within mere months, with automotive product manufacturing ended.

The Delahaye 135 is a luxury car manufactured by French automaker Delahaye. Designed by engineer Jean François, it was produced from 1935 until 1954 in many different body styles. A sporting tourer, it was also popular for racing.

The Delahaye 135, also known as “Coupe des Alpes” after its success in the Alpine Rally, was first presented in 1935 and signified Delahaye’s decision to build sportier cars than before. The 3.2-litre overhead valve straight-six with four-bearing crankshaft was derived from one of Delahaye’s truck engines and was also used in the more sedate, longer wheelbase (3,160 mm or 124 in) Delahaye 138. Power was 95 hp (71 kW) in twin carburetor form, but 110 hp (82 kW) were available in a version with three downdraught Solex carbs, offering a 148 km/h (92 mph) top speed.

The 138 had a single carburetor and 76 hp (57 kW), and was available in a sportier 90 hp (67 kW) iteration.

The 135 featured independent, leaf-sprung front suspension, a live rear axle, and cable operated Bendix brakes. 17-inch spoked wheels were also standard. Transmission was either a partially synchronized four-speed manual or four-speed Cotal pre-selector transmission.

Competition 135s set the all-time record at the Ulster Tourist Trophy and placed second and third in the Mille Miglia in 1936, and the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The list of independent body suppliers offering to clothe the 135 chassis is the list of France’s top coachbuilders of the time, including Figoni & Falaschi, Letourneur et Marchand, Alphonse Guilloré, Marcel Pourtout, Frères Dubois, Jacques Saoutchik, Marius Franay, Henri Chapron, Faget-Varnay, Antem, and others.

Production of the 3.2-litre version ended with the German occupation in 1940 and was not taken up again after the end of hostilities.

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