1948 Delahaye Type 135 M Convertible
Chassis 135 M #801010 from 1948
Cabriolet FIGONI & FALASCHI #1038
In the aftermath of World War II, Delahaye had survived and until production of their landmark 135-series could resume, the company paid the bills by building commercial trucks and buses. Once the 135M was revised for the post-war climate, however, Delahaye was back in business as one of France’s premier sports car makers. The revised 135M was in essence the same as the pre-war model but it featured a widened track, and more powerful, refined versions of the same 3,558 c.c. six-cylinder engine, with output as high as 160 horsepower in ultimate specification. As it had before the war, Delahaye partnered with many great French coachbuilders such as Chapron, Franay, and Letourner & Marchand to skin its fabulous 135M chassis. But it was the work of Figoni et Falaschi that made the biggest impact on Delahaye’s image. The partnership was in many ways, the ideal marriage of the flamboyant high-style of Figoni, and the engineering excellence of Delahaye.
Giuseppe “Joseph” Figoni was born in Italy in 1894, and immigrated to France with his parents when he was just three years old. As a teenager, he apprenticed with a carriage-maker before serving in the French military for seven years. In 1923, he opened his own body repair shop in Boulogne and quickly won the admiration of clientele who called upon his skills for not only repairs, but also for his ability to perform modifications to suit his clients’ wishes. Inevitably, this grew into a full-fledged carrosserie by 1925. He exhibited a natural talent for proportions and detailing, continuing to build upon his reputation for high quality craftsmanship. In 1935, Figoni partnered with Ovidio Falaschi, a Tuscan businessman with a penchant for fast, stylish motorcars. Falaschi’s financial backing allowed Figoni to experiment with increasingly flamboyant designs, yet he managed to maintain his fine sense of balance and proportion.
One such figure was T’hami El Glaoui, who served as the Pasha of Marrakesh. El Glaoui was an influential figure in Moroccan politics, which was a French held colony at the time. His powerful stature in the caste system and his sympathetic stance with the French government afforded him many business opportunities at home and abroad; enough to amass a huge fortune that at one point topped $50M. El Glaoui enjoyed the fruits of his fortune, indulging in multiple palaces and the finest of French automobiles. In the late 1940s, T’hami El Glaoui commissioned Figoni et Falaschi to construct a body atop a Delahaye 135M chassis. The resulting design was a handsome, four seat GT car that featured a three-position cabriolet top with external pram irons, and elegant, full-figured proportions. It was almost understated, yet still retained just enough of the typical Figoni drama with its chrome flashes and curvaceous details. The design proved quite popular with Figoni’s other clients, and he would go on to build a series of approximately 18 cars, built on a common theme though with each example slightly different from the next. Only 9 of the 18 cars ever build are still known to exist.
This 1948 Delahaye 135M, #1038 corresponds to the series of 18 so-called “El Glaoui” convertibles according to the bodybuilder’s register FIGONI & FALASCHI.
The number 1038 is stamped into the body on the inside at the top of the headlight rim. This one delivered new in black, commissioned by Prince Joao Henrique of Orleans – Braganza (1909-1981), great grandson of the last Emperor of Brazil Pedro II de Brazil. The car was first registered in France in 1948 with license plate 6457 RQ 6. The car was shipped to Portugal where Prince Joao Henrique got married with Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria at the end of 1949. Later the car was shipped to Brazil where the young couple lived first in Rio De Janeiro. The car came into possession of Josef Stangl from Veteran Car in Prague. He restored the car to the highest standards. The car still has the Czech paperwork. While each car in the El Glaoui series was built to a common theme, they were indeed unique in detail, particularly in the treatment of the front end, the shape of the grille and differing chrome embellishments on the body sides.
On April 24, 2019 a full report of authenticity was made by Jean-Paul Tissot (license de la marque automobile Delahaye) accompanied by Benoit Carrier (vice president du club Delahaye et gérant de la Societé des Automobile Delahaye Sarl) in the Workshop of Josef Stangl CEO of Veteran Car in Prague. They both claim that number 801010 is one of the original Delahaye type 135 Cabriolet by Figone & Falaschi with body number 1038. This number can be found in the body behind the headlight rims. This car is one of the noblest El Glaoui with Royal status sold by Delahaye Figoni/ Falaschi.
Today, 801010 presents in stunning condition in the elegant livery of black over a lush red interior. Paint and body quality are exceptional. Fit and finish are outstanding, and the brightwork presents in exceptional order. The interior is trimmed in lush red leather. The steering wheel and dash are finished in black paint and it of course retains all original instrumentation including the original Phillips Radio. The rear seats are quite usable for additional passengers, making this a fine choice for touring or concours events alike. With the top fully open, the windscreen can be folded forward to transform this elegant drophead into a full-fledged sports car. Original engine type 6.S.103 number 801010, triple carburettor, four-speed transmission.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a beautiful, fully-restored example of the highly desirable Figoni & Falaschi El Glaoui Cabriolet with Royal status. One of only 9 known to exist. This magnificent automobile is presented in exquisite condition and is suitable for virtually any major concours event.
- +Leather interior
- +Spare tire
- +2 doors
- +Manual Transmission
- +Right hand drive
- +4 seats
- +Matching Numbers
- +Soft top roof