Delahaye 165 convertible with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi 1938-39

The aim of this project is to recreate the Delahaye 165 cars in the form of three-dimensional computer models. The work is still in progress. I'm currently working on the 1938 version of the car (chassis 60743), see renders below. Here is the summary of the background information available to me so far, I will later provide reference literature, images and acknowledgements.

Original material (Click on a thumbnail below to view a full-size image)

Renders (Click on a thumbnail below to view a full-size image)


Delahaye 165 was a derivate from the famous Delahaye 145 racer. Delahaye 165 had a detuned form of the V12 engine used in the racer. According to the literature, not more than five Delahaye 165 chassis were manufactured (see the information below). Apparently Delahaye did not manufacture their own bodies and these were coming from a selection of specialist coachbuilders. Figoni and Falaschi of Paris was one of the coachbuilders working closely with Delahaye. Figoni has designed and built bodies for at least three of the Delahaye 165 cars. The hallmark of this patented design was the streamlined fully enclosed shape of the front fender. The fender also featured characteristic combination of concave/convex surfaces. In addition to Delahaye 165, Figoni made replicas of this body style on Delage chassis (two-three cars) and Bugatti chassis (one car for Shah of Iran). Moreover, some of the Delahaye 135 cars had bodies with similar styling.

The two most famous Delahaye 165 convertibles are now in the USA. These two cars are essentially similar, but differ in some details. The first car (chassis 60743) was originally displayed at the Paris Salon in 1938. The car changed owners, and was re-painted black at some point. Now it is completely restored to its original condition and has original red paint with white leather interior.

The second car (chassis 60744), painted Bordeaux (dark red) with white leather interior and a non-functional show-case engine was originally displayed at the Worlds Fair in New York in 1939. Due to WWII the car was abandoned in NY at the Customs. After the war the car was sold to a private owner who installed a contemporary Cadillac engine in it. For a long period of time the whereabouts of the car were unknown, until in 1980's it was rediscovered. Now the car is completely restored and has original V12 engine installed. The car is displayed in Peter Mullin's museum.

Delahaye 165 (chassis 60742) had a fixed top body (faux cabriolet) and a different design of the radiator shell. The car was used by M. Monciny, chief of the design office, before being sold to Prince Michael of Romania. This car had the most powerful V12 engine ever installed in a Delahaye 165, probably similar to the original racing engine. The car was seized by the USSR and became personal transport of Lavrentiy Beria, the notorious chief of the secret police. Beria was overthrown and executed in the early 1950's. The whereabouts of the car are unknown.

Delahaye 165 (chassis 60741) with a convertible body by coachbuilder Chapron was completed in time for the Paris Salon in 1938. However, the car was not displayed as it has probably been sold by then. During WWII the car was seized by German authorities in Poland to be used by a colonel in the Luftwaffe. The car eventually passed to the USSR, and its fate is unknown.

Also, according to the literature, a sedan version of Delahaye 165 (chassis number unknown) was delivered in 1938. Unfortunately no more information on this car is available.


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Last update: 02.10.2009
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