This car merits superlatives. It is a unique example, and was exhibited at the 1950 Paris Motor Show on the stand of one of the most prominent coachbuilders. It has had just two owners from new, and is in exceptionally well-preserved condition. The car is a Delahaye 148 L, built on an extended Delahaye 135 chassis and fitted with the reliable, standard 3.5-litre 135 M engine coupled to a preselector Cotal gearbox. The car was displayed at the Motor Show in 1950 on the stand of the talented coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik, alongside a Talbot T 26 GS. The " fastback " rear styling was clearly influenced by American aerodynamic design: the sleek line of the roof continues uninterrupted along the trunk to the rear bumper, which looks spectacular. The wave-shaped design of the wings emphasises this, rising at the front and falling away towards the rear wings that taper to a point. The Delahaye grille sits proudly at the front, dividing the bumpers that have been embellished on both sides by the coachbuilder with chrome bars joining the anti-fog lamps and accentuating the central grille. Aspects of this styling were starting to feel dated in 1950, but today the originality of the design stands out. Typical of Saoutchik, the body is elegantly extravagant and a perfect complement to the opulent personality of the more imposing than sporty Delahaye 148. This car features in detail in the book by Peter Larsen on Saoutchik creations.
The first owner, M. Lucien Juy, fell in love with the car. A businessman from Burgundy, he founded the company Simplex that designed and built bicycle derailleurs. The Delahaye was registered new, P75, in November 1950 in the Seine region, and given registration 1 NF 21 during the course of 1970. A plaque still displayed in the passenger compartment reads : Société Simplex, 81 rue de Monceau, Paris VIIIe.
A period photograph shows Mr Juy's car in April 1951 accompanying the Tour de l'Est Central cycling competition. It was carrying a banner on the front left bumper, presumably to advertise the owner's company. It is apparent that he took great care of his Delahaye and kept it until 1970. At that time it was stored at a property he owned and had decided to sell in order to build a block of flats. His decision to sell therefore related to the problem of storing it. His attachment to the Delahaye was apparent when he asked the buyer (who his mechanic had put him in touch with) to ensure he would take good car of the car and not sell it.
The current condition of the Delahaye is proof that the buyer, who is indeed the current owner, stuck to his word. It is reasonable to assume that the mileage of just under 30,000 km is genuine. In fact the current owner has told us he has covered less than 1000 km in the car! This has not prevented him from maintaining it in full running order and servicing it regularly. In 2015, the owner's mechanic replaced the fuel tank. A stainless steel exhaust has been fitted, the starter pinion replaced and four new tyres have been fitted recently.
Exhibited on the Saoutchik stand in two-tone livery, the car was repainted midnight blue, most likely requested by M. Juy following the 1950 Paris Motor Show. It was this colour when the current owner bought it and also in the period photo we have, showing the car at the 1951 cycling Tour.
The car is in exceptionally well-preserved condition today. The exterior is impeccable, with paint and chromework in superb condition. The interior is the same : the beige upholstery with navy piping is hardly patinated and there is scarcely a mark on the dashboard. Touches of luxury are apparent in the leather-clad switches and on the hub and rim of the steering wheel. The period radio with imposing speaker will be re-fitted prior to the sale. Accessories specific to this example for the interior and bodywork are complete. The original service book is still present in the car. A road test carried out with the owner demonstrated that the car is lovely to drive and in excellent running condition.
I am not a natural flatterer, I like to think that I "tell it like it is", politely I hope. So when I tell you that I am very impressed by the contents of your website, it is just not English politeness. I of course love the subject matter but you deal with it in an energetic and respectful manner. I am overwhelmed by the research that has gone into compiling the list of coachbuilders/bodybuilders for Europe and North America. I have never heard of the vast majority of them.
Congratulations on an excellent website.
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