Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster
Joseph Figoni’s approach defined his fluid forms. Instead of drawing the car he was going to build, he would construct a metal outline of the bodywork on the frame, adjusting it until it looked just right. Then he’d call in the draughtsmen. Even when he began using clay models, technical drawings came last.
As his partner Ovidio Falaschi said later: “We really were true couturiers of automotive coachwork, dressing and undressing a chassis one, two, and three times and even more before arriving at the definitive line we wanted to give to a specific chassis-coachwork ensemble.”
Figoni et Falaschi came to the public’s attention through their Delahaye designs, when the Model 135 was introduced at the 1936 Paris Salon. The car’s low-slung rigid chassis and independent front suspension, through an ingenious system of transverse leaf spring and radius rods, light steering and excellent 14-inch Bendix brakes, made it the perfect platform for Figoni’s designs.
Powered by a 3½-litre, six-cylinder, hemi-head engine, with triple carburettors and up to 140 horsepower on the MS (Modifiée Spéciale) model, Delahaye coupés and convertibles were as fast as they looked, with up to 110 mph top speed. The MS engine featured a bigger cylinder head, larger valves and improved breathing, and race-tuned versions could generate 160 hp and 125 mph.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2011 at the Spazio Villa Erba, Cernobbio, Como.
3,557 cc inline overhead valve six-cylinder engine, Cotal electro-mechanical four-speed gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with quarter elliptic springs, and four-wheel assisted mechanically actuated Bendix drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,900 mm (114").
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood