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Coachwork by Carrosserie Ghia-Aigle

1949 Delahaye 135MS Coupé

  • One of only three examples produced
  • Restoration by noted Delahaye expert Jean-Luc Bonnefoy
  • Desirable ‘MS’ configuration, equipped with triple carburetors
  • Featured at the 1950 Geneva Motor Show
  • Eligible and ready for Concours events and tours around the globe

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The apex of French automobiles, Delahaye delivers undeniable allure, bespoke styling, a formidable history of pedigree and racing, as well as scarcity. Every true Delahaye is a survivor to treasure. This particular 1949 Delahaye 135MS Coupé, bodied by Carrosserie Ghia-Aigle, is one of only three produced. Chassis 800573 captures post-war Delahaye at its most modern, along with all the glamour Delahaye entails. Restored by definitive Delahaye expert, Jean-Luc Bonnefoy, it is MS-equipped with upgraded triple Solex carburetors, an additional 15 horsepower, and retains its matching chassis and engine numbers. This rare and singular Delahaye is the complete package for tours, concours and fanfare across the globe.

Unequaled in luxury with an enduring legacy that never dims, Delahaye pushed the envelope of innovation and cemented the art form of the automobile. A name synonymous with both luxury and racing, Delahaye enchanted the world with their Type 135 until war descended on France. Following WWII, the 135M was equipped with a wider chassis that improved handling. The overhead valve six-cylinder engine was more powerful and offered even greater horsepower for the 135MS, which breathes through triple Solex carburetors. Unfortunately, France’s finest luxury marque was not to last, and it folded in 1954. During the post-war Type 135’s reign, from 1945 to 1952, a mere 1,155 examples would be produced. Of that number, only three were bodied by Carrosserie Ghia-Aigle; this is the story of one of those three exceedingly rare automobiles.

Carrosserie Ghia-Aigle was in the right place at the right time and had the coachbuilding skill to deliver on an unique opportunity. Turin-based Carrosserie Ghia was in a tenuous position following the war, bombing leveled their factory, and the famous Italian firm wasn’t yet the Phoenix that would inevitably rise from the ashes. Ghia would soon partner with Chrysler for the inimitable Dual-Ghia, but in the meantime, they partnered with a talented shop in Aigle, Switzerland to conduct their coachwork designs in 1949. This particular car represents a rare collaboration of Ghia-Aigle and Delahaye. With only three bodies handcrafted for the marque, this 1949 Delahaye MS Coupé is an evocative hallmark from their first year of business with Ghia. It represents the style and energy of a new era in automobile design. A captivatingly modern style with fully enveloped fender spats that raise and lower with levers to facilitate tire change, this post-war Delahaye has an inimitable look that is truly striking.

Chassis 800573 was produced in the ultimate MS configuration in June 1949 and boasted a 3.6-litre straight-six engine, mated to Solex triple carburetors shifting through a Cotal-Maag electromagnetic gearbox, equipped with four forward and four reverse gears. Featured in France’s Auto Passion Magazine in April 1992, it was revealed that this car made its debut at the 1950 Geneva Motor Show. Ownership history began June 16, 1950, with Zurich’s Automobilwerke Franz AG company. This Delahaye would remain in Swiss and French hands through its world-class restoration until it was procured by an Austrian collector in 2012 after Essen’s Techno Classica exhibition. It has remained in Europe and is now primed to delight on our shores for the first time.

Entrusted to the ultimate Delahaye restoration specialist, Jean-Luc Bonnefoy, the car was faithfully restored in 1990 to the absolute highest standards. The space-age body was flawlessly finished to sheer perfection and what lurks below is equally impressive including the original inline-six sporting matching blue accents to the beautifully polished alloy. Bonnefoy employed period-correct wiring, plumbing and the Cotal gearbox, as equipped originally, was primed for effortless continental touring. The interior was expertly conducted by M. Pardini et Fils of Boulogne and captures the true grandeur of Delahaye. Its current condition confirms the pinnacle of restoration craftsmanship with just the perfect touch of patina.


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