France was once a country where luxury, prestigious automobiles were made. The crisis in the XNUMXs severely breached that story. And after WWII, the French state interference in car manufacturing decided that many small and affordable cars and cars had to be made.
This approach has formed the basis of our idea that only cars, cars, some automobiles, but certainly no 'voitures' come from France.
The French have tried again later, though, to compete with Mercedes and BMW. But cars like the Peugeot 604 and the later Citroen C6 have never really become successful.
But in the past? You used to have a brand like Delahaye.
That brand was founded in 1894 by Emile Delahaye. After his death in 1901, a new factory in Paris was opened. There, passenger cars as well as trucks and buses were built. In 1908, the factory began producing its own engines and making money from products built by others under license. Delahaye was innovative with the application of new techniques, such as water cooling and cardan drive
Successful in competitions
In the 30s, the factory achieved success in auto racing and many records were set as well. In 1935, the sporty brand from the top segment Delage was taken over. That brand was in financial trouble after the crisis period. After the merger, Delages were essentially Delahayes, with a Delage emblem and grille, but let's find out what 'badge engineering' is in French.
Until the beginning of the Second World War, the factory made 'rolling chassis' that were fitted with a tailor-made suit by various bodybuilders. Well-known designs came from Figoni et Falaschi, Chapron, Letourneur et Marchand and Hermann Graber. Dutch bodybuilders, such as Pennock, also designed bodywork for Delahayes.
After World War II, the factory started making cars again
To facilitate the start, the pre-war models were first put back on the market, such as the 134 and the 135 M. They had four- and six-cylinder OHVs. The cars featured a conventional separate chassis and independent suspension that was still not outdated from a technical point of view. Just like before the war, rolling chassis were also sold that were finished by bodybuilders to the wishes of the buyers ...
A declining case
In 1947, production of the smaller 134 was discontinued and the new 175 took its place. The 4455 cc six-cylinder engine produced 140 hp and a heavier 1950 hp engine became available in 160. Two derived models were the 178 and 180, these had a longer chassis than the 175. In 1951, the last Delahaye model, the 235, was introduced. Sales remained low and fewer than 100 vehicles were sold per year. The money was made with trucks and jeep-like vehicles. More than 9000 copies of the Delahaye VLR jeep were made for the French army.
The end / Fin
In 1954 the factory was taken over by Hotchkiss, which then ended production in 1956. But the name Delahaye is engraved as iconic in automotive history. The info on 135 M convertible from 1950 with its six-cylinder three and a half liter engine of 115 hp with Cotal transmission that is for sale at Retrolegends says 'price on request'.
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