Only automobile aficionados know about Delahayes. But when anyone asks me who made the most beautiful cars of all time, I usually drop the Delahaye name. They are gorgeous, they are elegant, they are as French as French can be.
Any connoisseur of pre-war automobiles will know of all the stunning machines that came out of France in the early-mid 1900s. Many might argue that Bugatti or Talbot should hold the crown of beauty instead, but Delahayes have always dropped my jaw in a way that no other marque ever has. They are magical machines with the power to make everything around them disappear.
The 1947 Delahaye 135M you see here turned many heads at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. It is one of a few hundred 135Ms produced in the difficult post-war era. France was ruined and there wasn’t much room for ostentatious luxury cars as the country was being rebuilt. As a result, most post-war Delahayes were exported to wealthy buyers outside of France. Delahaye’s larger military contracting business kept them afloat until they lost a major contract with the French government, and went bust in 1954.
This beautiful black Delahaye 135M Narval was built for a wealthy industrialist in Ohio. It’s design was inspired by the elegant motion of aquatic mammals, specifically the Narwal. It was built for the President of The Prima Company Ohio, and was showcased in a magazine ad for “Covergirl Dress Flats by Prima,” hence the car’s nickname “Cover Girl.”
This Delahaye stands as a masterpiece of art on wheels. Enjoy the gallery.
Some more shots from the Paddock of Laguna Seca during Monterey Car Week, here is a gallery of awesome racing cars, old and new.
I always love seeing the old pre-war racecars sitting right next to more modern racecars, like Group C, because it really puts in perspective how far the automobile has come in just a few decades. That said, the drivers of those older racing cars were men among men. Those cars were not especially slow at all, reaching over 100mph, but with very primitive technology.
Here is part 2 of our highlights from the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This was the first time a Ferrari has ever won best in show (see above), as well as a very uncommon occurrence where a post-war car takes the top honor.
We made it out to The Elegance at Hershey 2014 in Hershey, PA where Hershey’s chocolate is made. It is a great event at a wonderful venue, the five star Hershey Hotel. With beautiful gardens and fountains supplementing all of the stunning cars, it is surely a great place for photos.
There were many rare cars this year, everything from a French-market Cadillac built for the Rothschild family to the best-in-show winning Duesenberg “Mormon Meteor” Speedster. Enjoy the highlight gallery of the event and check back for features on some specific cars.
We attended the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance last weekend and were absolutely blown away by the quality of the cars that were present. This post is a highlight feature on the pre-1950 era cars that caught my eye at the show. The post-1950 era highlights will go up on Friday and there are many more individual features to come.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog will know that I LOVE Delahayes. I am generally a fan of all French Art Deco cars, but Delahayes have a flamboyance and a craftsmanship to their designs that make them unique.
While many Delahayes come in bright, flashy colors, this 135 M Roadster Figoni et Falaschi took a different approach. It is a rich black, and looks very sinister with its swooping lines, almost like a bat. Inside the interior is fitted with red leather, and finely crafted wood. Black and red is one of my favorite color schemes on a car, so this really hit the spot for me that much more.
The car itself is currently owned by J.W. Marriott Jr. (Yes, of Mariott Hotel fame), and it was fully restored in 1991. One detail that I particularly loved on this Delahaye was its hood ornament. At first glance it is a dragonfly, which would be great on its own, but looking closer, it becomes apparent that the dragonfly is actually a glider stretched over a beautiful, naked woman — Oh how French!
It was wonderful to see this stunning Delahaye 135M Roadster at this year’s Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance, and it wound up winning the “Best Open Art Deco Car” award. Enjoy the photos.
While touring the paddock of the 2013 Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, we came across race car after race car. Then we rounded a corner and found this unbelievable green 1948 Delahaye 135MS Chapron Cabriolet. It literally “stole the show” for me with its two-tone green paint job and immaculate details. Even surrounded by some of the greatest racing cars of all time, this French masterpiece was still just breathtaking.
As we poured over the car, capturing its beautiful details, the owner rolled up, fresh from a race heat, in a Bugatti Type 37. Its bare metal finish was striking, and its exposed rivets were, well, riveting. This lineup of pre-war french cars in the paddock really made my day, and they even had coordinated the color of their table cloth with the green of the Delahaye.
There were so many epic racing cars in the paddock that day, but this combo of the Bugatti for the track and the Delahaye for the street was by far my favorite single bay. Enjoy the photos of these magnificent cars.
We attended the The Elegance at Hershey this past weekend. It was actually our second show of the day, so time was precious to begin with, but the rain wound up cutting the event even shorter. It actually turned out to be favorable for us because most people left the show, leaving the cars largely unobstructed for photographs. The clouds also made the lighting fantastic for shooting classic cars, by both reducing glare and making to colors more striking. Our time in Hershey was a bit rushed, but I like how the pics came out. There were some really fantastic cars there too. This is an overview gallery of the event. There will be specific features to follow. Enjoy. Continue reading The Elegance at Hershey 2013→
We were in attendance for the 2013 Greenwich Concours d’ Elegance this past weekend in Connecticut. It was a fantastic event, and we saw, and drove, many awesome cars. Like most Concours events we go to, we have come back with months of material that we will be sharing with you over time, but this is a highlight reel to wet your appetite. Enjoy.
It would be a great mistake to think this Delahaye is some ordinary combination of red and black. Look a little closer and you will see a brilliant duet of raspberry and grey, accented by chrome and some of the most finely crafted wood I have ever seen on a car. I had already been through most of the show at the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance, but this stunning Delahaye 135 M Competition left me speachless when I found it. I saw one unbelievable car after another that day, but this was definitely my own personal “best of show”. I am a huge fan of French cars from the Art Deco era, but Delahayes hold a special place for me. The richness of flavor, the swoopy designs, it all embodies exactly what I want in a car like this, and this particular 135 M is one of the finest examples I’ve ever seen. Enjoy the photo gallery of this magnificent work of art.
Delahaye sare true works of art, quintessential examples of French Art Deco era automobiles. This sinister black and red car was present for the Concours d’ Elegance during the Lime Rock Historic Festival. I’m not sure how it did in judging, but it sure stole my eye. The owner had just restored it and had a sale pending for somewhere in the seven figure range. This car was absolutely stunning, enjoy the photos.
This stunning Delahaye stole the show, even from the other immaculate cars around it. Its beautiful swooping lines are a glimpse back to a time when cars were treated as art, not just a mere practical concern. Today we see such designs in concept cars, but back then a custom coach builder would make anything a customer desired. The 135 M Roadster remains a glorious reminder of what a car can be when it is not watered down by a committee of mediocre people and regulations. Enjoy.