Delahaye 135 CS


Chassis # 47498 | Engine # 800612 | Registration # EXF42

£285,000 ono


The 135CS (Compétition Spéciale) is a true all-rounder, boasting a torquey 3.6 litre straight six engine and independent front suspension. Soundly engineered, the reliability of this Delahaye masterpiece in combination with its performance, gave the car a formidable reputation. With deeply beautiful coachwork, only 17 originals were built; the model is the epitome of the pre-war French sports car ideal, fit to stir even Anglo-Saxon hearts.


And stir it did; that Anglo-Saxon heart was none other than former Rolls Royce Chairman Sir Ralph Robins. Sir Ralph acquired EXF42 from Sheffield-based company, Walter Fox & Partners, who had recovered the car from a farm in mid-Wales during 1974. At that time the sorry remains of the original 1938 Carlton bodied Saloon where beyond restoration. They proceeded to alter the car to Compétition Spéciale specification, before selling to Sir Ralph Robins soon after. Many original parts remained with the car including the superior independent front suspension, the 3.6ltr 20hp engine having been upgraded in 1939.

In 1984 Sir Ralph commissioned new coachwork along with shortening and lightening the chassis to correct CS specification. Sir Ralph competed regularly in VSCC events in the modified class, but with the rigors of the day job, Sir Ralph entrusted EXF42 to Ronin Engineering of Derby, who maintained and maximised the development of the engine to its full potential, until its sale in 2018. These invoices accompany the sale.

The next custodian (whose father worked for Rolls Royce worked on the RB211 engine and solved a reverse thrust problem, receiving personal thanks from Sir Ralf.), has considerably invested in EXF42, bringing her to exact period specification, with the assistance of marque expert Ross Keeling. Specific works include rear axle being narrowed to correct CS specifications, the hydraulic braking system removed, and correct cable braking system fitted so would run as standard class in VSCC. The Cotal gearbox was also rebuilt 2019. 


Although registration number EXF42 is not one of the original 17 of which only 7 still exist, it’s to original CS specification, with current FIA papers it can complete in many illustrious events across the globe. FIVA paper can also be applied for, which we're able to assist you with.


Our thought

On the road this is one sure footed motor car which turns heads. The 3557cc six cylinder breathing trough 3 Solex carburettors gives it purposeful power delivery even by modern standards. In top gear 60 MPH is only 1700rpm, its well documented that 120mph is readerly obtainable. The brakes are reassuringly effective, oil pressure reading a healthy 60psi when warm and being driven in a normal manner. Having never driven a car with a Cotal gearbox previously, I was a little apprehensive when first setting off - but there was no need: a smooth effortless driving experience in a pre-war car, it is the equivalent to a 1930’s tiptronic gearbox. All the electrics work as expected with strong charging, and turn signals fitted. Weather equipment consists of a 50/50 tonneau cover. The tail houses the spare wheel and areas for tools and luggage.



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