Drophead Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi
The history of the Paris-based automobile manufacturer Delahaye actually begins as far back as 1845, when the firm was producing machinery for making bricks.
Later they progressed to a line of stationary engines for industrial purposes, which ultimately led to automobiles in 1894.
Emile Delahaye stayed with the company until 1901, but Chief Engineer Charles Weiffenbach continued with the firm for more than 45 years.
Most of the cars the company produced over time were fairly nondescript, but dependable.
In 1935 Delahaye purchased Delage, a company known for turning out sports and Grand Prix cars, which changed the direction of Delahaye.
In what would become Delahaye's most important car in terms of production, recognition, and success, the Type 135 debuted in 1935.
In the performance Coupe des Alpes version, the in-line six-cylinder engine of 3.2 liters was equipped with triple Solex carburetors producing 113 horsepower.
The engine was coupled to an electric Cotal gearbox, and the chassis incorporated independent front suspension, Bendix brakes, and Rudge wheels.
Several versions of the 135 were available throughout the years, including Sport, Competition, and Special models.
The 135M was launched in 1938 with a larger 3.5 liter engine, and was produced in various forms, carrying over WWII until 1952.
By 1945, the engine produced upwards of 130 horsepower in the MS version.
Sold mostly in chassis-only form, many beautiful bodies were created by carrosseries including Chapron, Guillore, Saoutchik, and one of the leaders of French design, Figoni.
Joseph Figoni had been building bodies for various chassis since the early 1920s, and his styling and ability to create custom bodies led to his rapid popularity.
In 1935 he teamed up with Ovidio Falaschi as his business manager, forming Figoni et Falaschi.
Together they progressed, pushing the design envelope with wonderful aerodynamics.
Figoni would often consult fashion designers for color schemes while creating vehicles intended for the Concours d'Elegance and Paris Salons.
While most famous for his Tear Drop bodied Talbot-Lagos, some of the most beautiful bodies he created, both in open- and closed-form, were placed on Delahaye chassis.
After WWII, Figoni created a small series of bodies on the Delahaye 135M chassis.
Dubbed "El Glaoui" after a famous first owner, the Pasha of Marrakesh, eighteen of these Mylord cabriolets were produced, with just 9 cars existing today according to Andre Vaucourt, the Delahaye Club historian.
Although each carried the same basic silhouette, all had different treatments of the nose, tail, and lighting positions.
Some had more elaborate applications of curving chrome accents.
One example was featured in the opening minutes of Alfred Hitchcock's film "To Catch a Thief" with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.
This particular example, chassis 801372, is one of the remaining El Glaoui cars.
Carrying body number 1061, it was originally delivered to a Mr. Venot in a radiant Garnet Red color.
The next recorded owner was Mr. DeJaiffe, the owner of a black marble quarry in Belgium.
The French architect Gino Terzulli owned the car for a number of years, and eventually ended up in the United States with Paul Myers of California.
Mr. Myers showed the car at various events, including Pebble Beach in the 1980s.
In the 1990s it was part of Dragone Classic Cars of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Mr. John W. Rich Sr. of Pottsville, Pa. purchased the car in June of 2000.
The car had been wearing the same restoration for the last 35 or more years, as evidenced by photographs taken by Delahaye Club President Phillipe Looten in France during the early 1970s, and was showing its age.
A decision was made for a complete nut and bolt restoration on the car, bringing it back to its former glory with the original Garnet Red color.