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  Delahaye 135 S Competition Roadster      

  Article Image gallery (101) Chassis (7) Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Produced in:1936
Numbers built:14 - 16
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 28, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhen Delahaye launched the new Type 135 range at the Paris Auto Salon in October of 1935, the French manufacturer also announced a purpose-built competition version. Compared to the standard road car, the 135 Compétition Spéciale featured a larger engine and a shorter and lowered chassis. For homologation purposes, this chassis and engine combination would also be available in road going trim, dubbed the 135 Competition Court.

Among the driving forces behind the creation of the track-bound Delahaye were husband and wife Laurie and Lucy Schell. Using Lucy Schell's family fortune, they had established Ecurie Bleue as a semi-works team, closely associated with Delahaye. They very much had the intention of becoming the French equivalent of the Scuderia Ferrari, which had a similar relationship with Alfa Romeo and also fielded cars on behalf of wealthy privateers. One of their earlier achievements was a third at the 1935 Monte Carlo rally with a Delahaye 138 from which the 135 was derived.

Although similar in design as the production cars, the ladder frame chassis used for the competition cars was fundamentally different. It was not only shorter and lower but it was also built lighter as it would not need to carry a heavy body. Needless to say, a lighter chassis also helped increase the competition car's performance. The front suspension consisted of a single transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring and oblique arms and transverse friction dampers on each corner. At the rear the longitudinal leaf springs were mounted alongside the frame to allow the live axle to be mounted closer to the chassis.

The straight six engine was also based on the production Type 135 unit but with the bore increased from 80 mm to 84 mm. This created a swept displacement of just under 3.6 litre. The cast-iron engine sported a detachable head and a laterally mounted camshafts, which actuated the overhead valves by push-rods and rockers. Among the competition specific features were triple Solex carburettors and high compression aluminium pistons. This helped raise the power to just over 150 bhp. The Type 103J engine was mated to a Cotal electromechanical, four-speed automatic gearbox.

Referred to as the 135 S for Spéciale or 135 CS for Compétition Spéciale, the new Delahaye racer was fitted with a very simple aluminium body. Designed in-house, it featured cycle fenders and a rudimentary rear seat to comply with the Le Mans regulations, which stipulated that only four-seater bodies could be used. Delahaye did not have their own body-shop, so had to outsource production to the likes of Figoni & Falaschi, Olivier Lecanu-Deschamps and also Chapron. While most bodies were similar, Delahaye experimented with extended cycle fenders in an attempt to reduce drag.

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  Article Image gallery (101) Chassis (7) Specifications