Villa d'Este

21 May 2011

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Lot 118

1939 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster by Figoni et Falaschi

  • Chassis no. 60158
  • Engine no. 103349

Sold for €784.000


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")



- Offered from the Estate of John M. O’Quinn

- Frequently campaigned in vintage rallies

- First appearance since completion of restoration by marque specialists Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier

- Restoration overseen by Claude Figoni



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 and the Delahaye 135



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.



Chassis no. 60158



The 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster on offer has intriguing history and is one of the most perfectly proportioned designs on this chassis. According to Delahaye historian Andre Vaucourt, 60158 was commissioned in March 1939 by a Monsieur Jeantet, 54 Rue Ampere in Paris, as World War II loomed. M. Jeantet was not going gently into the good night however, ordering the Grand Sport in vibrant Andalouse red, with door handles integrated into chrome spears, curving down the side of the car, and a large Plexiglas rear window.



The car re-emerged after the war, when it was sold to noted collector Peter Agg in England. He campaigned it enthusiastically in numerous international rallies, including two Monte Carlo events, three Morocco rallies in 1984, ’86, ’88 and the Danish Spring Rally in 1994.



The next owner is listed as Hugh Taylor, of Eastington Hall, Upton-Upon-Severn in Worcestershire, England, who had owned several Delahayes. There is record of a frame-off restoration by UK expert Jim Stokes, which included a refinish in dark blue, with a light brown interior and complete mechanical rebuild to race specifications. Taylor owned 60158 until March 2007, at which point it was sold to the late Texas collector John O’Quinn, who bought both 60158 and the 1938 Delahaye Figoni et Falaschi coupé, chassis 60112.



The two cars were dispatched to marque specialists Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier, where a full body-off restoration was started with careful input from Mr. Claude Figoni, son of Joseph Figoni, whose own family archives and remembrances proved invaluable in ensuring the restoration’s correctness throughout. Having been restored by Jim Stokes 20 years previous, the car was found to be very sound and in excellent running order. As such, Mr. Tessier and his restorers had an excellent platform from which to work.



Over the course of two years, 60158 was brought down to its bare chassis and received a complete mechanical overhaul; from the engine to the Cotal gearbox, every element was tended to with supreme precision. The body was restored, the interior was completely removed and readied for re-trimming, and a complete photographic record was maintained of the entire process. Based on Mr. Figoni’s research, the restorers were able to refinish the car in its correct original colour of Andalouse red with “Brick” leather hides. Invoices are also available for review by interested bidders. RM Auctions has followed the completion of this car’s restoration very closely and can confirm that no corners were cut in ensuring a concours-quality product.



Figoni et Falaschi-bodied Delahayes must be considered at the top level of pre-World War II classic sports cars, with Art Deco flair unmatched by any other coachbuilder. What makes 60158 uncommon is that it has not been on static display; it is clearly very enjoyable to drive, with historic competition history and great speed and ease of control for modern conditions. It is hard to consider a more pleasant way to travel: a fast, classic roadster, which draws a crowd in any setting thanks to a concours-quality restoration, powerful engine and racing-derived chassis.



As part of a large private collection, this car has seen limited exercise. RM strongly advises the successful bidder carry out a thorough service before driving the car on the open road.



ITALIANTEXT



Motore 6 cilindri in linea a valvole in testa di 3.557 cc, cambio elettro-meccanico Cotal a quattro marce, sospensione anteriore a ruote indipendenti con balestra trasversale, assale posteriore rigido con semi-balestre ellittiche, freni a tamburo sulle quattro ruote con attuatore Bendix a comando meccanico. Passo: 2.900 mm (114")



- Dalla successione di John M. O’Quinn

- Usata frequentemente in rally storici

- Alla sua prima uscita dalla fine del restauro da concorso, effettuato dallo specialista della marca Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier

- Restauro eseguito con la supervisione di Claude Figoni



Il metodo di lavoro di Giuseppe Figoni definiva la fluidità delle sue linee. Invece di disegnare la vettura che doveva costruire, egli costruiva un profilo in metallo della carrozzeria sull'autotelaio modificandolo finché non lo riteneva perfetto. Solo a questo punto faceva intervenire i disegnatori. Anche quando cominciò a usare modelli in argilla, i disegni tecnici venivano fatti per ultimi.



In seguito, il socio Ovidio Falaschi disse: “Eravamo veramente una sartoria di alta moda per carrozzerie di automobili, vestendo e svestendo il telaio una, due, tre volte, e anche di più, prima di arrivare alle forme definitive che volevamo dare a quello specifico assieme telaio-carrozzeria.”



Figoni e la Delahaye 135



Figoni e Falaschi arrivarono all'attenzione del pubblico grazie alle loro creazioni sulle vetture Delahaye quando fu presentato il Modello 135 al Salone dell'Auto di Parigi del 1936. Questa era la piattaforma perfetta per i disegni di Figoni grazie al rigido telaio basso e slanciato con sospensione anteriore a ruote indipendenti, tramite un ingegnoso sistema di balestra trasversale con bracci trasversali ed obliqui, con uno sterzo leggero ed eccellenti freni Bendix da 14".



Mosse da un potente motore 6 cilindri di 3,5 litri con testa emisferica, tre carburatori e potenze fino a 140 cv sulla versione MS (Modifiée Spéciale), i coupé e le convertibili Delahaye erano davvero veloci come sembravano essere, raggiungendo una velocità massima di circa 180 km/h. Il motore MS aveva testa cilindri e valvole più grandi e aspirazione migliorata, e le versioni preparate per le corse potevano erogare 160 cv per una velocità massima di circa 200 km/h.



Il telaio n. 60158



Questa Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster del 1939 ha una storia intrigante e la sua carrozzeria ha le forme più proporzionate fra tutte quelle disegnate per questo modello. Secondo lo storico della Delahaye Andre Vaucourt, la 60158 fu ordinata nel marzo 1939 da un certo signor Jeantet, residente in Rue Ampere 54 a Parigi, proprio mentre la Seconda Guerra Mondiale incombeva. Probabilmente il signor Jeantet aveva un sonno agitato, considerando che ordinò la Grand Sport in un vibrante rosso andaluso e con le maniglie porta integrate nella modanatura cromati fortemente incurvata lungo la fiancata e un grande lunotto in plexiglas.



La vettura riemerse dall'oscurità della guerra e fu in seguito venduta al collezionista inglese Peter Agg, che la utilizzò entusiasticamente in numerosi rally internazionali, comprese due edizioni del Rally di Monaco, tre del Rally del Marocco nel 1984, 1986 e 1988, e il Rally di Primavera in Danimarca nel 1994.



Il proprietario successivo fu Hugh Taylor, di Eastington Hall a Upton-Upon-Severn, nel Worcestershire in Inghilterra, che aveva posseduto diverse Delahaye e che la fece restaurare completamente in Gran Bretagna da Jim Stokes. La vettura fu riverniciata in blu scuro, gli interni rifatti in pelle marrone chiaro e la meccanica completamente ricostruita con le specifiche da competizione. Taylor tenne la 60158 fino al marzo 2007, quando fu venduta al defunto collezionista texano John O’Quinn, che comprò sia questa sia la 60112, una Delahaye coupé del 1938, carrozzata da Figoni et Falaschi.



Entrambe le vetture furono affidate agli specialisti della Atelier Automobiles Anciennes Dominique Tessier per un restauro integrale, dalla lamiera nuda, attentamente supervisionato da Claude Figoni, figlio di Joseph, il cui archivio di famiglia e i suoi stessi ricordi sono stati determinanti per assicurare la correttezza del restauro. Essendo stata restaurata da Jim Stokes 20 anni prima, la vettura era in ottime condizioni generali e di marcia e di conseguenza Tessier si è ritrovata un'eccellente base su cui lavorare.



Nel corso di due anni, la 60158 fu portata a telaio nudo e fu oggetto di una completa revisione meccanica; dal motore al cambio Cotal, ogni componente fu curato con la massima attenzione. La carrozzeria è stata restaurata, gli interni rimossi e preparati per essere rivestiti e l'intero restauro è stato fotografato passo per passo. Grazie alle ricerche di Figoni, i restauratori sono stati in grado di riverniciare la vettura nel corretto rosso andaluso originale con pelle color mattone. Le relative fatture sono a disposizione degli interessati. La RM Auctions ha seguito da vicino il completamento del restauro e può confermare che nessun particolare della vettura è stato tralasciato per arrivare ad un restauro da concorso.



Le Delahaye carrozzate da Figoni et Falaschi possono essere collocate al massimo livello delle vetture sportive classiche ante-guerra, con richiami all'Art Deco, mai raggiunti da nessun altro carrozziere. Ciò che rende la 60158 diversa é che non é stata solo staticamente esposta; essa é veramente molto piacevole da guidare, ha avuto un passato nelle rievocazioni storiche sportive e si può guidare in modo veloce e facile anche nel traffico attuale. E' difficile trovare un mezzo più piacevole per viaggiare: una roadster classica e veloce, che attira attenzione in ogni ambiente grazie alla elevata qualità del restauro, al potente motore e al telaio derivato dalle corse.



Facente parte di una grande collezione privata, quest'auto e stata usata poco. RM consiglia fortemente all'offerente vincitore di fare una revisione accurata dell'auto prima di guidarla su strada aperta.

Addendum

Please note that this car is eligible for import into the UK at 5% VAT.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more