This 1949 Delahaye 175 is one of approximately 50 examples built between 1948 and 1951. Configured in left-hand drive, it was originally bodied by Figoni et Falaschi as a sunroof coupe for its first owner, the Maharaja of Mysore in India. The car was acquired in the early 1970s by an American businessman who eventually sent it to auction in Europe in 1979. In 1980 chassis 815036 was purchased by Sir Elton John, who is said to have owned it until 1983. The coachwork was converted into a cabriolet configuration in the UK during the late 1980s, and after returning to the US the vehicle joined the Petersen Automotive Museum collection in 2001. Power is provided by a 4,455cc Type 183 inline-six fed by triple Solex carburetors and paired with a four-speed Cotal pre-selector gearbox. Additional features include Dubonnet independent front suspension, a De Dion rear axle with Houdaille lever shocks, Lockheed hydraulic drum brakes, wire wheels, and Marchal fog lamps. Finished in red over red leather, this Delahaye is now offered by the Petersen Automotive Museum with its previous UK registration plate, historical documentation, and a clean California title.
The Type 175 platform was introduced as a show chassis with partial coachwork at the Paris Motor Show in 1946, before entering production in 1948. Featuring a 2.95-meter wheelbase, the chassis incorporated a ladder frame with a welded, stamped-steel floor and driveshaft tunnel integrated as structural members. The bodywork for each individual car was provided by a coachbuilder of the purchaser’s choice, in this case Paris carrossiers Figoni and Falaschi.
Chassis 815036 was originally configured as a hardtop coupe equipped with a sunroof, but was converted into a cabriolet in the UK during the late 1980s. Previously finished in silver, the body has been repainted in red. Exterior features include yellow Marchal headlights, grille-mounted Marchal fog lamps, flush pop-out door handles, rear fender spats, and chrome trim around the lower perimeter of the car. The tan convertible top can be set in three positions: fully open, fully closed, or covering the rear seat only.
Chromed 18” wire wheels feature two-eared knock-offs and wear Michelin Comfort Cord S.S. tires, while a full-size spare housed in the trunk wears a Dunlop tire. Braking is handled by finned hydraulic drums from Lockheed at each corner, and the system also incorporates dual master cylinders. The Dubonnet independent front suspension features coil springs and shock absorbers encased together in horizontal cylinders that pivot on the front axle. Rear suspension consists of a De Dion axle that passes through circular openings in the frame and utilizes leaf springs and hydraulic lever-arm shocks.
The Type 175 and its longer-wheelbase counterparts, the 178 and 180, were available in left-hand drive, a first for Delahaye and an effort to appeal to US buyers. The interior of this car is upholstered in red leather with dark gray piping over the seats and sunrise-pattern door panels. Beige carpeting with gray binding lines the footwells, and a tan boot covers the top when it is lowered. The selector for the Cotal gearbox is affixed to the left side of the steering column, while a central floor-mounted lever allows engagement of forward or reverse.
A two-spoke steering wheel sits ahead of the red-painted dash, which houses OS instrumentation including a 5k-rpm tachometer and a 200-km/h speedometer. Additional gauges are present for amperage, coolant temperature, oil pressure, and oil temperature, while a clock is situated in the glovebox door. The five-digit odometer shows approximately 2,700 kilometers (~1,700 miles), and true mileage unknown. A radio and speaker are retained at the center of the dash fascia.
The 4,455cc Type 2AL-183 inline-six features seven main bearings and overhead valves actuated by a single, side-mounted camshaft. This example is equipped with an optional high-performance intake manifold with three Solex downdraft carburetors. Power is sent to the rear wheels through the four-speed Cotal preselector gearbox via electromagnetic clutches that allow gear selection without use of the clutch pedal.
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