Delahaye 175S Cabriolet Dandy by Chapron

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175S Cabriolet Dandy by Chapron





Delahaye 175 was an automobile manufactured by Delahaye between 1947 and 1951. The last of the large Delahayes, the type 175 was essentially a brand new chassis and engine.

The new 4.5-litre engine was visually quite similar to the Type 135, but significantly improved. It had seven main bearings versus the Type 135's four, and its cylinder head had six intake and six exhaust ports, twelve in all, versus nine in the standard Type 135 (a rare few Type 135 racing engines had twelve port heads). The excessively complex V12 had three camshafts in the block; four overhead rocker-shafts; three Stromberg carburetors (in the Types 145 and 155, but a single one in the detuned Type 165); two mechanical fuel-pumps, and dual Bosch ignition. The V-12 was replaced by a new, much less complex inline overhead-valve six-cylinder of the same displacement. The 1AL-183 and Type 2AL-183 engines, when equipped with a single carburetor, produced 140 horsepower and the standard compression ratio was a modest 6.8:1. The new 4.5-litre engine used in these cars carried the "183" engine-block casting code, and was made in two visually distinct forms.

The transmission was a Cotal, this being a semi-automatic electrically shifted solenoid-actuated four-speed epicyclic gearbox. The shift lever protruding from the transmission operated forward and reverse only, the car being capable of being driven in either direction with the same four gear-ratios.

The optional Type 175-S had an increased compression ratio, for higher performance. The Type 175-S racing engine employed by France's champion driver, Eugene Chabaud, had a claimed 9.1:1 compression ratio, and with its three horizontal Stromberg carburtors, produced 220 brake horsepower. The higher performance Type 175-S came with two factory options: Rudge wire-wheels; and, three Solex down-draft single-venturi carburetors. The triple-carbureted 175-S raised this to about 160 KPH 160 km/h (99 mph) and 160 HP, although naturally these figures were subject to variation depending on which sort of body was fitted, and which coachbuilder made it. Coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik seemed oblivious of weight, and applied flamboyant heavily chromed brass embellishments on his extended enclosed fendered bodies. The custom bodies placed on these cars were often much too heavy for what the chassis had originally been designed and engineered for, leading to collapsing Dubonnet suspensions and sheared differential half-shafts.

The new chassis was completely different from the 135 in its dimensions, proportions, and structural design. Even in the cockpit area, the new chassis had a large parallel-sided central structure, whereas the Type 135's was tapered from the cockpit's rear cross-member forward, and it was considerably narrower.

A very distinct feature was the nearly round open hoop through both rear chassis-rails, through which the DeDion tube and splined half-shafts extended, out to the hub-carriers attached to the rear leaf springs.

More modern suspension than in the Type 135 was featured in the 175/178/180 chassis-series, with an entirely new previously untried Dubonnet-licensed independent system up front. The rear suspension was not a new concept, its DeDion system. The Type 175, 178, and 180 DeDion system featured a rigidly mounted differential in a cast aluminum housing containing a Gleason hypoid final-drive gear-set, with a curved large diameter tube connecting both rear hubs. The rear wheels were driven by splined half-shafts. The semi-elliptical rear leaf-springs were conventional, and damped by lever-arm hydraulic shock absorbers.

The front-end and new postwar grille's design were executed by Delahaye's young in-house designer, Philippe Charbonneaux, in a corporate effort to develop a particular Delahaye "face" after the war. Delahaye required coachbuilders to use the corporate grille design, although several of the more famous ones such as Joseph Figoni (of Figoni & Falaschi), Jacques Saoutchik, and Henri Chapron were given some leeway for artistic license.

The new Type 175 debuted as a glitzy show-chassis with partial frontal coachwork demonstrating the company's new postwar "face". It would also be Delahaye's first left-hand drive model. The chassis however, was not yet fully developed (in October 1946), nor adequately performance tested, before being put into production. Production did not truly begin until early 1948, and some say, with conviction, that the three-wheelbase chassis-series was never fully developed. Brakes were hydraulic type made by Lockheed. The brake-drums were deeply finned cast-iron, actuated by dual master cylinders with a balance-bar drums all around.


While not a grand success in the marketplace, a Type 175S won the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally, the same car finished in twelfth place in the Carrera Panamericana.

Type 175/175-S total comes to 52 in all with no differentiation explaining which of these were Type 175 or optional 175-S chassis.

The 175-S came with three carburettors and a 2.95-metre wheelbase. Two longer wheelbase versions with single carburetors and 140 HP were also built.

The Production Build List confirms that there were 37 of the 3.15-metre wheelbase Type 178 built.

17 Type 180 chassis (3,33 m) were produced, mainly for heads of state, dignitaries, and the like. Two Henri Chapron-bodied, fully armoured 180 limousines with divisions were built for the leadership of the French Communist Party in 1948.

The total produced in the three-chassis series was 105 chassis.

A shortage of time and money for development may have been a cause of the 175's failure. Delahaye's reputation for solidity took a serious hit in consequence, and although Delahaye managed to introduce the seemingly more modern 235 in 1951, the company did not survive much longer. Delahaye and Delage combined production dropped from 511 in 1949, to 41 in 1952, 36 in 1953, and 7 in 1954.

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