1948 Delahaye 175S


  1. First in Class
  2. Best French Car. Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, California, 1988.

Autobody Notes

This car was built for the 1948 Paris Salon by Figoni & Falaschi.


The most beautiful car in the world! The unreserved glamour and expense of the Delahaye 175 caused a sensation at the first post-war Paris Motor Show in 1948. This 175S won the hearts of the judges at the Pebble Beach Concours in 1988, capturing a pair of awards; First in Class and Best French Car at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1988.

The late 1920s saw European car design inspired by the US. But in the early thirties a new mood of nationalism arose in Europe, and nowhere was this mood stronger than in France.

Delahaye, one of France’s pioneer marques, had during the 1920s produced steady sellers both in passenger cars and commercial lines. Six-cylinder models had always featured, and while well engineered and indestructible their performance was scarcely exciting. Then the automobile designer Jean Francois struck on the brilliant idea of using the type 103 commercial engine with an increased bore and displacement of 3.5L this engine proved remarkably fast. It was also supremely reliable.

The Delahaye rolling chassis, fitted with custom bodies designed by the greatest coachbuilders of the time, won numerous competitions for luxury cars. By the 1930s Delahaye was synonymous with prestige around the world. They supplied their remarkably handsome cars to a slew of kings, show-business celebrities and other wealthy VIPs. For those very much in the public eye, Delahaye was the vehicle to be seen in.

After the Second World War the economic and social climate was particularly hard for luxury car manufacturers. Delahaye managed to survive mainly thanks to the commercial and fire fighting vehicles it sold, but also thanks to the reconnaissance light vehicles (in French VLR) it sold to the Army.

In 1948 the 4.5-litre model 175 was introduced. This 175S incorporated Dubonnet engineered suspension and a beefed up engine.

This car was bodied by prominent French coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi and is one of only 10 left-hand drive 175S’s built in hopes of entering the US market.

Delahaye was taken over by Hotchkiss in 1954. Soon after they shut down automobile production, dropped the Delahaye name, and brought to a close this famous chapter of French automotive history.