The brief history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48772
- André Vaucourt
- June 25, 2012
- Delahaye - René Dreyfus and the upset at Pau, by Leif Snellman
- Delahaye 138 - 1933-'35: why Delahaye decided to go racing, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1935-'36: a new chassis for the luxury market, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1936: dominating the 1936 French racing season, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1936: Delahaye wins nine out of 18 races, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145 - 1937: winning big prizes, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145/155 - 1938: Delahaye wins the Pau and Cork GPs and comes 1, 2, 4 at Le Mans, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145 - 1939: not a very good year for Delahaye, and a terrible year for the world, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - What became of the Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48771?, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - The history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48775, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - The short history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48773, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 155 - Delahaye's 155 V12 chassis no. 48774: the worst car they ever built, by André Vaucourt
René Dreyfus/Maurice Varet
1938 Mille Miglia
This car made its debut at the Marne Grand Prix on July 18, 1937, as car no.14 driven by René Dreyfus, the leading pilot of the Ecurie Bleue, owned by Lucy O’Riley Schell and her husband Laury.
It's a two-seater “sports-racer” with detachable fenders front and rear and full electrical lighting for road use. The all-aluminium riveted body was made by Lecanu, the well-known coachbuilder. The engine was the V12 designed by engineer Jean François, and was of 4.5-litre capacity, developing some 220bhp at 5400rpm.
René Dreyfus and Maurice Varet at the 1938 Mille-Miglia (Jean-Maurice Gigleux collection)
The car participated in only 12 races during 1937 and '38, and took part in none in 1939. In its two years of active service it had rather poor results to show for, with only one win at the La Turbie hill climb in 1938.
At the start of the Le Mans 24 Hours (Jean-Maurice Gigleux collection)
|19/06/38||Le Mans 24 hours||1||Dreyfus/Chiron||DNF|
|05/08/38||La Turbie hill climb||24||Dreyfus||1st cat sport|
|11/09/38||Paris 12 hours||2||Dreyfus/Divo||DNF|
|24/09/38||Dunlop Jubilee||1||Dreyfus||? 1st race|
|3||Dreyfus||? 3rd race|
Refuelling at the Paris 12 Hours (Jean-Maurice Gigleux collection)
Discouraged by these poor results, Delahaye did not engage the car for the 1939 season and put it up for sale. However, potential buyers are few and far between and the outbreak of war in September puts an end to this racing car's short career. As a result, it is parked in a shop window in Paris throughout the hostilities, alongside another Delahaye 145 V12 (which will be the subject of the next article).
In 1945, the car is sold to a Belgian, Mr Van Poucke, who orders a “Grand Luxe Coupé”, no. 6351, from famous coachbuilder Henri Chapron, but he disappears without paying the bill!
After several other potential buyers, administrative and legal procedures, the car is registered in Paris in January 1950 as 31 RS3, and in December it is sold to Auguste Veuillet who has it registered 938 R75 on January 3, 1951. First it is registered on the name of Office Commerciale Internationale (OCI), one of his companies, and the next day to Sonauto, another of his companies.
Up for sale at the second-hand car show in Paris by Sonauto/Veuillet.
Veuillet will eventually only use it for a few months before selling it to Max Hoffmann of Briston Motors in New York. Meanwhile, the car has lost its original engine, which is replaced by a 165, the town version of the 145, with only 12 plugs, a single carburettor, and a more modest 165bhp. In 1951, the car is sold on to W.F. Procter who keeps it for a few months before selling it to Robert Greer. When Greer dies, the car is stored in the reserves of the Long Island Automotive museum, owned by Henry Austin Clark, where it stays for 18 years!
This is where Lew Gothainer discovered and purchased it in 1970. After restoring the car, Gothainer sold it to Count Hubertus Von Donhoff in 1977, who in turn sold it to Peter Mullin in 2004. This very elegant coupé was shown at Peeble Beach in 2006 and is now in the California museum of Peter Mullin.
The coupe as it is today in the Peter Mullin collection.