Skip to content

Rare French pre- and post-war collection set for Paris sale

WORDS: NATHAN CHADWICK | PHOTOGRAPHY: OSENAT

A collection of French pre-war and immediately post-war cars are to be put up for sale by Osenat auction house on Saturday February 3, 2024 in Paris at Osenat, Avenue de Breteuil. Prior to the event, the nine cars will be displayed at Rétromobile, which take place between January 31 to February 4, 2024.

The collection includes a unique Talbot T23 cabriolet prototype by Chapron, the only example of the Delahaye 135 MS bodied by Figoni and one of only five known examples of the Delahaye 135 MS Vedette cabriolet by Chapron, as well as a Figoni-bodied Talbot T150. We’ve pulled out more details on each of the cars below.

1937 Talbot-Lago T150C Roadster

This Talbot T150 C Roadster was bought new by M Fayet, an industrialist in Saint-Etienne, at the 1937 Salon de l’Auto, where it is believed this car was an exhibit. The cylinder-head cover is corked, which is often seen on most salon cars of the period. Fayet decided to facelift the Talbot in the late 1940s, altering the grille and bumpers. At the time the car was red, as were all of his vehicles, but after his son lost his life while borrowing one of the fleet, all his cars were repainted black. Following the Talbot’s sale to masonry contractor and vintage car collector Bruno Dalmas in 1977, it was returned to its original hue. It’s estimated at between €600k and €900k.

1951 Delahaye 135 MS by Figoni

This Delahaye was the last 135 bodied by Joseph Figoni, and served as a prototype for his 235 designs. Chassis 80173 was registered for the first time on April 6, 1951 in the name of Figoni & Falaschi, until July 3 later that year when it was re-registered in the name of Joseph Figoni. On November 15, 1951, the car became the property of Figoni & Cie. More details on the car’s life since then haven’t been released. It carries an estimate of between €180k and €220k.

1939 Talbot-Lago T23 Cabriolet Usine

The early life of this T23 is unknown, but at some point the car was discovered by Mr Dupont, a former president of the Talbot Club. It was in a dilapidated condition at the time. By 1985, stewardship had passed to a Mr Mimieux. Between 1990 and 2002, it was owned by Mr Lelièvre (wearing the registration number 519 CYH 77), who then sold it to Mr Fabre on January 17, 2003. This restored example is estimated at between €140k and €180k.

1951 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Luxe Coupé by Chapron

Bought off the 1947 Paris Motor Show by the attorney Raymond Hubert, who’d come to prominence by getting Guillaume Seznec’s daughter acquitted from being accused of murdering her husband. The original colours (blue and red) weren’t to Hubert’s taste and he had the car repainted, though the auctioneer doesn’t know in which hue. In 1992, the Delahaye took part in the Tour de France Automobile in a different colour scheme, and was then painted red and white in the 2000s. In the early 2010s, it was repainted in metallic grey, a Chapron-favoured colour when it was new. It’s estimated at between €200k and €250k.

1937 Delage D8-120

This Delage is the fifth D8-120 built by Henri Chapron during February 1937. Constructed as part of an order for eight Cabriolets Grand Luxe four-seaters, its history can be traced back to 1946, when it bore the registration number 5983 RL. On October 23, 1947, Louis Delpech, an industrialist in Annonay in the Ardèche,a bought the car. From April 1951, it was registered in Isère on 407 V 38, in the stewardship of David Mayo, a resident of Décines-Charpieu. It then moved to Paris in 1960, for a Alan Nicoud and then Max Liber; the latter sold it to Louis Bayard in September 1969. It broke down not long after in Dijon, and it would remain outside under an awning for 40 years.

The car joined the collection in 2009 and was restored, winning Best of Show at the 2012 La Baule Concours d’Elegance. More recently, the car has visited Paris, Cannes, Bordeaux, Brittany, Normandy and Dubai as part of the publicity tour for the new Delage. It’s estimated at between €400k and €500k.

1948 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Chapron

This Delahaye was first bought by a Mr Leblanc, the manager of Distilleries de Bretagne et de Normandie Réunies. Based at 5 rue Lincoln, Paris, he was just around the corner from Delahaye’s Paris showroom on the Avenue des Champs Elysées. According to documents in the auction house’s possession, sourced from the Chapron archives, the choice of specification was exacting, with several custom fittings. It’s estimated at between €100k and €130k.

1951 Delahaye 235 Cabriolet By Chapron

Believed to have been first shown at the Salon de Paris in late 1951, the car was first bought by Willy Breitling, he of the luxury watch firm. He acquired the car after it was exhibited at the Geneva Salon by the Montchoisy garage. The car was kept in his name until it was sold to G Léon Breitling SA & Cie in 1957. It found a new owner in the late 1960s, the first of several documented ownership changes. It joined the current collection in 2010, and is estimated at between €130k and €170k.

1939 Talbot-Lago T23 Cabriolet Prototype by Chapron

According to the auction house, this car was a special order from the Talbot factory to Henri Chapron to evaluate for series production. It was delivered by the latter in May 1939, but the declaration of war put an end to discussions. Initially owned by Talbot, official records show a change of ownership on May 9, 1940 – one day before the German offensive. This suggests the car was sheltered during the war.

The Talbot-Lago entered the current collection via an American collector in 2009; he’d owned it for 20 years. He believed that the car had been imported immediately after the Liberation, having been requisitioned and painted black by German occupying troops, but the auction house’s investigations suggest otherwise. The T23 was then found in 1948 by Charles Huc in Bordeaux, and then bought by several French and American enthusiasts, heading to the US in 1956. It’s estimated at between €250k and €350k.

1947 Delahaye 135 Ms Roadster Vedette By Chapron

This is one of just five Vedette Cabriolets believed to have been built, and the only one not to be on American soil. First sold in 1948, it changed hands at an undetermined time afterwards, ending up in Alpes Maritimes. In 1953 it returned to Paris and gained the registration number it currently has. It’s estimated at between €800k and €1m.

More details can be found here.