While we love to celebrate the daily driver automobiles that regularly grace our roads, we also love to admire rare automotive works of a bygone era, like those we visited this past weekend at the Mullin Automotive Museum.
Founded in 1895 by Emile Delayahe in Tours, France, the Delahaye automobile company produced a variety of models until their final demise in 1956. Originally designed to compete in a race between Paris and Marseille, these automotive marvels quickly evolved into sleek seducers by the 1930s Paris Auto Salon era.
Production No. 1 of only six produced, this 1939 Delahaye Type 165 Cabriolet, this car was built to represent France at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the theme of which was “Dawn of a New Day.” Over the years, this car migrated from Beverly Hills back to New York (it drove across country during that move), and eventually ended up in Fresno (yes, Fresno), where it had been purchased by a local tow truck driver for $1,200. It took Peter Mullin nearly four years to negotiate the sale of this beauty, and nearly twice as long to bring her back to her original glory.
Formerly the property of Casimir Jourde and Prince de Berae Mukarran Jah, this 1937 Delahaye Type 135-M Cabriolet was the 9th built in a Paris Salon series of 11 cars. Today, it is one of three surviving cars built on the standard wheelbase.
Upstairs, this Delahaye speedster delighted museum goers, each of us wishing we could see this French race car take on the banking at a French track like the Autodrome, just outside of Paris. While we can’t transport this vintage beauty to that vintage track, you can see Ken Block in action at that very track here. Hang in there for the first 18 seconds and you’ll see just how serious that Autodrome banking is!