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Robb Design Portfolio: Deco Dream

Robert Ross

1938 Delahaye 135 MS
The epitome of French style, marques like Talbot-Lago, Bugatti, Delage, and Delahaye embody the best of the Art Deco era’s aesthetic sensibilities. Yet among these, Delahaye stood at the forefront of technical achievement as well. In 1938, the company introduced the now-famous 135 MS (Modified Speciale), which it built on a signature chassis that had been victorious at Le Mans. This design made the 100-mph-plus 135 MS one of the fastest production cars of its day. Its low-slung geometry also made the 135 MS a perfect platform for the Parisian carrosserie De Villars to craft one of the most elegant yet understated two-passenger open cars of the day. Chassis with De Villars bodies were uncommon even when new, as the firm produced fewer than 25 bodies annually. Today this extremely rare Delahaye, which is currently being offered at $1.8 million, retains its original allure. It won the coveted Most Elegant award at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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