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 Post subject: Lecanu coachwork on Delahaye and Talbot-Lago chassis
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:18 pm 
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Olivier Lecanu Deschamp was the owner/proprietor of the small specialist coachbuilding firm known as "Lecanu". The company was located in Paris. It both designed, and built, the sports-racing bodies on most of the sixteen short-wheelbased Type 135 "Competition Court" chassis from Delahaye. Lecanu was not the exclusive builder of these competition cars, but was the most prolific
In the number generated. There is no record of exactly how many of these cars Lecanu bodied. It is known that Joseph Figoni bodied twk. The same coachbuilder, working directly for Delahaye as its preferred race-car body maker, built all four of the bodies on Delahaye's V12 Type 145 sports-racing/grand-prix enties, three of which were constructed in accordance with the design drawings provided by Delahaye chief design-engineer Jean Francois. The fourth and final Type 145 body was designed by Olivier Lecanu-Deschamps himself, and built for chassis 48775 by Lecanu, as a one-off, It was more traditional in appearance, and much more attractive than the unorthodox design by Jean Francois.

This unique Lecanu body was last seen during the initial postwar French Grand Prix, at Saint Cloud, on June 9th 1946. This was the last race for Type 145 number 48775 in its original configuration. It was entered by owner, Charles Pozzi, and raced by his team-mate and co-owner of Ecurie Lutetia, Eugene Chabaud, France's champion driver. Pozzi purchased the car through The Wilson Garage's proprietor, Fernand Lecour, a well known Delahaye performance tuner, who acted as the agent for owner Lucy O'Reilly-Schell, in July 1943.

It appeared at the track in the same form and condition it was in when driven by Rene Dreyfus in the Swiss grand-prix immediately before war erupted, in September 1939. In 1946, tbe old racecar was inadequately prepared, and failed to finish dje to overheating issues.. The old V12, with its exotic metals and large number of reciprocating parts was fragile, and there were absolutely no more parts. Only 12 sets were made, and by late 1939, all were accounted for.

Chabaud and Pozzi decided to repower both Chabaud's Type 135 and Pozzi's Type 145 with brand new, race-prepared, 4.5-litre Delahaye Type 175S engines, and negotiated an arrangement with Delahaye CEO, 'Monsieur Charles' Weiffenbach, whereby Ecurie Lutetia would field a pair of the "New Delahaye Type 175" race-cars, to be bodied by Valtat. Delahaye would loan them two engines, and be solely responsible for their race preparation, and servicing. The engines were to be returned to Delahaye at the end of the 1950 racing season.

Pozzi won the 1949 French Grand Prix, at Comminges, in his Valtat-rebodied Type 145 number 48775, with its Type 175S engine. In so doing, and to obtain Weiffenbach's support, Pozzi contributed the nine-year-old battle campaigned Lecanu body from 48775 to Delahaye, to be mounted upon their unproven, untried Jean Francois-designed and engineered prototype for a new 4.5-litre six-cylinder series. The platform was very different from the Type 135 and similar Type 145 units, in having much more modern and sophisticated suspension systems, and massive hydraulic instead of mechanical brakes.

The old Lecanu body needed to be modified to fit the wider, independently suspended chassis, and this was expedited by Lecanu as well, being the designer and builder of this one-and-only original body.

The prototype was long believed by marque experts to have been lost, since it seemed to have vanished around early November of 1947, shortly before parts production for the Type 175, 178 and 180 chassis-series commenced. The prototype chassis, complete with all of its authentic original experimental mechanical components was found, sans any trace of its body, in 1975. The car is currently undergoing thorough rebuilding and restoration, with the lost Lecanu body being reconstituted from photographs and drawings.

Lecanu did not build bodies exclusively for Delahaye. They are also known to have bodied some Talbot-Lago sports-racing cars in the same immediately prewar period as the Type 135s. The Lecanu bodies on Delahaye and Talbot-Lago chassis were virtually the same in design, and detail, and were built over the same body-buck. In both instances their four identical fenders were readily demountable for grand-prix entry. The only real physical differences were in the design of the corporate grilles up front, and of course their unique marque badges.


Last edited by Brian Johnston on Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lecanu coachwork on Delahaye and Talbot-Lago chassis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:20 am 
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Location: Weiterstadt/Darmstadt
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:24 pm
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Lecanu Delahaye 135 S Competition Roadster, #47187


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Delahaye-135-S-Competition-Roadster-27979.jpg
Delahaye-135-S-Competition-Roadster-27979.jpg [ 196.81 KiB | Viewed 1275 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Lecanu coachwork on Delahaye and Talbot-Lago chassis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:40 am 
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Location: Weiterstadt/Darmstadt
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:24 pm
Posts: 28754
Talbot-Lago T150C, 1936, rebodied by Lecanu in 1946

edit: I'm not sure, if the pic shows the first body or the Lecanu body.


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lecanutl.png [ 415.14 KiB | Viewed 1273 times ]
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