Thursday, 9 January 2014

Delahaye 135M Torpedo Cabriolet

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Cars can often be polarising things - what one person lusts after may turn the stomach of another. Such is life. But I suspect you'd be hard-pushed to find anybody who didn't immediately fall into a swoon at the sight of this, the breathtakingly gorgeous Delahaye 135M Torpedo Cabriolet.
Its art deco-meets-fairground looks were spirited into being by renowned coachbuilding pioneers Figoni & Falaschi. The various borderline-surrealist details of the body coalesce to create something that's at once vintage and futuristic; the fully enclosed wheels, the chrome accents sweeping back from the headlights, the dodgem-esque paintwork, the jewel-like tail-lights. It's the kind of Jetsons-versus-Gatsby car a five year-old might draw, made incongruously real by slightly unhinged craftsmen.
The Torpedos were quick for their time too, the triple-carb 3.5-litre straight-six offering 120bhp, pushing the 135M beyond 100mph. In the mid-1930s, this was performance rivalled only by the very raciest Bugattis and Duesenbergs. A grand tourer in the traditional sense, then - and only available to the stinking rich. In total, just eleven Torpedo Cabriolets were built.

This 1937 example was on display at the 2013 St. James's Concours - click here for more photos.

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