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NOT MINE: 1939 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet


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One-of-a-Kind 1939 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet Found in Shipping Container in FL
19 May 2020, 13:36 UTC · by Vlad Mitracheauthor picHome > News > U-turn
Every man with a passion for cars reaches an age when he begins about buying a classic car. Depending on his mechanical knowledge, budget, and spare time, he can either go for a completely restored one, or what people often candidly describe as "a project."

This 1939 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet certainly falls into the latter category. According to its seller on craigslist, it is one of the two 135M Cabriolets bodied by Letourneur et Marchand back in 1939, and since they were both believed to be lost, this find makes it the lone survivor.

The car has seen better days, granted, but considering it has been lying there, untouched, since 1962, it's nothing you wouldn't expect. The Cabriolet surfaced in Orlando, Florida, in what appears to be what's left of a wooden shipping container, but there's no info on the storing conditions it spent the better part of the last 60 years in.

Since it's Florida, though, it could mean both good and bad news as there's plenty of sun, but also humidity and that salty air. It's impossible to tell how deep that rust goes and some shots of the interior would have gone a long way - though it's definitely going to be completely ruined.

The only specs made available refer to the car's transmission, which is an optional Cotal 4-speed, and its wheels - a set of Rudge center-lock wire wheels. Jean-Paul Tissot, Delahaye expert and president/archivist of the Delahaye Club, is said to have confirmed the vehicle's authenticity.

So, all that's left now for this incredibly rare find - make that one-of-a-kind - to be brought back to life is someone willing to spend close to 170k US dollars to get it, and god knows how much for the entire restoration process. The thought they'll end up with a vehicle worthy of attending such venues as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island should be enough to keep them going through what will undoubtedly be a grueling process.
 

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/one-of-a-kind-1939-delahaye-135m-cabriolet-found-in-shipping-container-in-fl-143857.html#

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LB Limited sold this 135M with Vesters & Neirinck coachwork a while back.   Asking was 195k I believe.   How would you compare it to the subject car?   I think I prefer the LM car.

 

https://lbilimited.com/offerings/1948-delahaye-135m-cabriolet-by-vesters-neirinck/

 

This particular Delahaye 135M, chassis number 800611, has been out of the public eye for almost half a decade now, hidden away in a Long Island, New York underground parking garage. Chassis 800611 was originally bodied by Vesters & Neirinck of Belgium in the stunning cabriolet body that it still wears to this day. 800611 is regarded as being a 1 of 1 design and one of only 2 Delahayes bodied by the Belgium firm. The car was displayed at the Vesters & Neirinck show stand during the 1948 Bruxelles auto show which occured February 14th-16th of 1948 (picture included in photos above). The car was originally painted in a deep dark red, remnants of which can still be seen in the trunk area. After the Bruxelles show, the car was registered in Belgium under the license plate B-460357. 800611 next appeared at the Concours d’Elegance Vicy Town in France during the summer of 1948 where it won a first prize (photo from event included in photos above). The history of the car past 1948 is unfortunately largely lost to time. Like many special French bodied cars after the war, it was more than likely bought up by an American G.I. and shipped home with him. The most recent owner purchased the car from Ed Jirst at the Vintage Car Store in Nyack, NY in the early 1970’s, at which time it was already in need of total restoration. The vintage car store reportedly purchased the car from the Eihacke Estate in the Hamptons. The Eihacke family was well known for their interest in Pre-War Mercedes Benz vehicles. It is believed that the car came from the Dutch Caribbean and before that point the history is widely unknown back until 1948.

 

https://lbilimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_1868.jpg

https://lbilimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Delahaye-9.jpg

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Another project 135M.   Peter Kumar was mentioned as a possible buyer for our subject car on Barn Finds and I think he would be considered a usual suspect as a buyer.   A while back he was selling this project car.  Asking was 245k.  Not running.

It is a 1949 which is a different use space than the 1948 and earlier cars.  Better shape.  I like it except for the port holes which are original.

 

 

1949 Delahaye 135M | 1770856 | Photo 4 Full Size1949 Delahaye 135M | 1770856 | Photo 2 Full Size

1949 Delahaye 135M | 1770856 | Photo 6 Full Size

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Those on these forums who try to make a profit buying and selling antique cars often forget that the vast majority of folks restoring cars or having them restored professionally are fully aware that they will lose money,  often a considerable amount of money,  on the cars they restore yet they press on.  A  "return on investment"  is seldom the primary consideration.  

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16 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

Those on these forums who try to make a profit buying and selling antique cars often forget that the vast majority of folks restoring cars or having them restored professionally are fully aware that they will lose money,  often a considerable amount of money,  on the cars they restore yet they press on.  A  "return on investment"  is seldom the primary consideration.  

 

Agreed.  You are "Paying to Play".   The cost of getting an unknown car and showing it at Pebble, Amelia, etc.    The problem is that 30 or 40 years ago,  you got to play and make money.

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Another barn find 135M.   This one sold for 247,500 back in 2011.   More typical Chapron body than our subject car,  but much better condition.   I would argue the market was stronger then too.

 

delahaye.ashx?modified=20170725061541

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On 5/20/2020 at 7:19 AM, alsancle said:

LB Limited sold this 135M with Vesters & Neirinck coachwork a while back.   Asking was 195k I believe.   How would you compare it to the subject car?   I think I prefer the LM car.

 

https://lbilimited.com/offerings/1948-delahaye-135m-cabriolet-by-vesters-neirinck/

 

This particular Delahaye 135M, chassis number 800611, has been out of the public eye for almost half a decade now, hidden away in a Long Island, New York underground parking garage. Chassis 800611 was originally bodied by Vesters & Neirinck of Belgium in the stunning cabriolet body that it still wears to this day. 800611 is regarded as being a 1 of 1 design and one of only 2 Delahayes bodied by the Belgium firm. The car was displayed at the Vesters & Neirinck show stand during the 1948 Bruxelles auto show which occured February 14th-16th of 1948 (picture included in photos above). The car was originally painted in a deep dark red, remnants of which can still be seen in the trunk area. After the Bruxelles show, the car was registered in Belgium under the license plate B-460357. 800611 next appeared at the Concours d’Elegance Vicy Town in France during the summer of 1948 where it won a first prize (photo from event included in photos above). The history of the car past 1948 is unfortunately largely lost to time. Like many special French bodied cars after the war, it was more than likely bought up by an American G.I. and shipped home with him. The most recent owner purchased the car from Ed Jirst at the Vintage Car Store in Nyack, NY in the early 1970’s, at which time it was already in need of total restoration. The vintage car store reportedly purchased the car from the Eihacke Estate in the Hamptons. The Eihacke family was well known for their interest in Pre-War Mercedes Benz vehicles. It is believed that the car came from the Dutch Caribbean and before that point the history is widely unknown back until 1948.

 

https://lbilimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_1868.jpg

https://lbilimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Delahaye-9.jpg

I will guarantee the car doe sale is much more attractive than this - much sportier belt line, you can already see it has a totally chrome windshield,, skirts, wire wheels, grill, and ... 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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00303_1AZUyfCJPO_0kE0fu_600x450.jpg

 

00303_1AZUyfCJPO_0kE0fu_1200x900.jpg

Now, let's discuss this photo of what is close, but not the same car -  car for sale has different wheels, different landau irons, different belt trim - double wide, possibly different lower door sill treatment, and different skirt trim, plus the for sale car seems to have more "tail". 

 

00Q0Q_4VRsUIfh8y1_1200x900.jpg

 

And, appears to carry a different chassis number than the photo too.

00e0e_bTQLngvA17f_1200x900.jpg

00x0x_bsLVhEU7ln6_1200x900.jpg

 

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7 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

 

00303_1AZUyfCJPO_0kE0fu_1200x900.jpg

Now, let's discuss this photo of what is close, but not the same car -  car for sale has different wheels, different landau irons, different belt trim - double wide, possibly different lower door sill treatment, and different skirt trim, plus the for sale car seems to have more "tail".

 

 

This is the other L&M car which is a sister but not identical.  You have pointed out the obvious differences,   subject car has more chrome trim too.

 

I talked to Seller yesterday who seems like a reasonable fellow.  Not a prewar guy but car guy.   He's helping his friend sell the car and will affably answer any questions.    Body is steel,  with aluminum doors and hoods.

 

Not a 3 carb car which hurts.   He states wood is remarkably solid.

 

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1 minute ago, alsancle said:

 

Not a 3 carb car which hurts.   He states wood is remarkably solid.

 

Not a competition model - yes I noticed right away.   

 

As to wood, hard to say - I would still lean via the seats that when it went into the trailer it was a pretty respectable car - and then it sweated for years and years. 

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10 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

This is the other L&M car which is a sister but not identical.  You have pointed out the obvious differences,   subject car has more chrome trim too.

 

I talked to Seller yesterday who seems like a reasonable fellow.  Not a prewar guy but car guy.   He's helping his friend sell the car and will affably answer any questions.    Body is steel,  with aluminum doors and hoods.

 

Not a 3 carb car which hurts.   He states wood is remarkably solid.

 

 

 

The subject car has better lines......I agree. L&M usually built nice stuff compared to many of the others. I purchased a factory triple carb set up for one of these at Hershey four years ago. It's still sitting on the shelf. I was guessing what it was off of when I saw it.........one of my better finds the last ten years at the fall meet. If the car is really solid, and has good wood,  its a better project than it looks like in the photos......than there is a much better chance of someone taking on the project. ......the last one of these that I know of done as a resurrection was about 8 years ago, but generally I don't follow this particular marque.

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

 

 

The subject car has better lines......I agree. L&M usually built nice stuff compared to many of the others. I purchased a factory triple carb set up for one of these at Hershey four years ago. It's still sitting on the shelf. I was guessing what it was off of when I saw it.........one of my better finds the last ten years at the fall meet. If the car is really solid, and has good wood,  its a better project than it looks like in the photos......than there is a much better chance of someone taking on the project. ......the last one of these that I know of done as a resurrection was about 8 years ago, but generally I don't follow this particular marque.

As a sidenote:  Without a build sheet and knowing the in's and out's of the marque, you never know if a 3 carb model originally (with its look it is hard to believe they opted for bare bones) - I consider them the good looking Buick's of France and my guess was 3 carbs were more than many mechanics could handle with a fair number quickly loosing their 3 carbs for something more simple (albeit I certainly could be very wrong about that, especially since still a relatively rare drivetrain any way about it compounded by WWII that made really any work on it difficult). 

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On 5/22/2020 at 6:04 PM, robert smith said:

Dear Sir  Have you more photos of the car and how bad is the rust. please email particulars to robert-smith02@bigpond.com

 

Hi Robert. If you go back to the first page of this topic, scroll down until you come to a response from George Cole. He has posted a link to the Orlando Craigslist ad for this car. There are many pictures there, and contact to the owner.    -    Carl 

Edited by C Carl
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Strange.  Multiple friends have suggested I consider that car as I want a Delahaye. (easy to spend someone else's money....)  It has its good points, or point, being a rather unique body, however the bad points, condition, condition and condition are clearly evident.  The owner is looking through rose (or money green) colored glasses.  The engine is most likely a disaster and the balance of the chassis is VERY high risk. Whether it was a tri-carb is a moot point, the tri-carb manifold is reproduced - most restored cars are tri-carb, gee, no surprise there. Difficult trim and other parts are absent, no picture of dash, etc.  I have about 45 years experience restoring cars, so yes, I could do this car and I have Delahaye resources to lean upon, which leaves only one big problem - $170K is unanimously considered far far too high a price.   If the price was anywhere near reasonable, I'd be a player,...but the six figure ante just isn't warranted.  Call me when it has a real price and I'll have the cash ready.    I am not going to call you and offer you what you might consider an insult today, only to ruin your perception of me when later you do realize I am willing to make a fair offer.

Also interesting to note that the Vesters car, which "appears" to be in better condition is being completely re-wooded as an element of its full body dip in the money bath.

Edited by flackmaster
clarification of my willingness to make a fair offer. (see edit history)
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  • 8 months later...
On 2/16/2021 at 9:59 PM, John_Mereness said:

 

Oh, look, lots of history on Delahaye the company and the coachbuilder in their description. It's MUCH worse than anyone thought.

 

"We meticulously disassembled and cleaned every single engine part but didn't start it..." Hooo boy, it's so far gone they're scared of it.

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7 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Oh, look, lots of history on Delahaye the company and the coachbuilder in their description. It's MUCH worse than anyone thought.

 

"We meticulously disassembled and cleaned every single engine part but didn't start it..." Hooo boy, it's so far gone they're scared of it.

 

For some reason, your comment reminded me of this car:  https://www.beverlyhillscarclub.com/1967-porsche-912-c-5027.htm

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