We are delighted to offer an outstandingly original competition Delahaye with brilliant period history – the epitome of the pre-war French sports car ideal, fit to stir even Anglo-Saxon hearts.
A true survivor with complete original coachwork, this Delahaye 135 Compétition Spéciale retains a precious fabric of originality. To look upon the many romantic photos of her early competition history, is to marvel that she remains so unaltered.
Chassis 135/47186 was ordered new in 1936 by Jacques Menier, scion of the famous Menier chocolatiers. From the family’s eight castles, including the superb Château de Chenonceau, Menier sponsored his own racing Équipe – ordering this Delahaye in the decisive year the Automobile Club de France ran its Grand Prix for sports cars not single-seaters.
The 135CS was a true all-rounder, sporting a torquey 3.6 litre straight six in a lighter box section chassis with independent front suspension. Soundly engineered, its reliability positioned the cars to profit from others’ misfortunes. Deeply beautiful coachwork promised Gallic chivalry à très grande vitesse.
Piloted by Menier’s driver Philippe Maillard-Brune, 47186 appeared in the premier French events of 1936, including the GP de l’Automobile Club de France, the GP de la Marne, and the 3 Heures de Marseille. A general strike amongst the French working class saw the 1936 Le Mans cancelled and the Équipe Menier entry came to nought, and probably due to this unrest, Menier wound up the team and the Delahaye moved on.
Acquired post-war by René Cotton, she began a remarkable second racing life, namely competing on nearly equal terms with much more modern machinery. Almost inconceivably, in the one-off sports car race for the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, the now-16 year old 135 CS ran to an amazing eighth place, pipped only by five of the latest 225S Ferraris, a C-Type Jaguar, and nipping at the heels of young Peter Collins in a DB3 Aston. Under Cotton’s stewardship, she also raced in the 1952 Mille Miglia, in the Liège-Rome-Liège Rally, and a few other events. A highly accomplished racer, Cotton contested five Le Mans in the late fifties, and went on to lead the Citroën rally team.
Thereafter, a line of equally heroic preservationists saved this outstanding Delahaye for posterity. For well over thirty years, she remained in the French museum of Serge Pozzoli, later passing to renowned collectors Abba Kogan and Lord Anthony Bamford, who undertook a sympathetic restoration.
A highly eligible entrant for the world’s best historic racing events, this 135CS is supplied race ready with current FIVA ID and HTP papers. Fastidiously prepared under current ownership, she recently appeared in the 2020 and 2021 Mille Miglia, and 2021 Goodwood Revival.
An opportunity to acquire likely the best-preserved 135CS in existence, one of the most beautiful and capable sports cars of a heroic era – tout simplement, merveilleux!
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