Started by Emile Delahaye in 1895, standardizing on overhead valve inline six-cylinder engines in the 30's and developing a reputation for power, reliability and fuel economy which brought the marque recognition as one of France's grandest routieres and a successful competitor in grand prix and sports car races including the 24 Hours of LeMans. Following World War II Delahaye offered sixes with 4,453cc in its sports models and 3,557cc in the more popular 135 and 148. Offering luxury and performance competitive with most of the European marques of the day and even the larger American cars, the 148L sedan had 95hp, independent front suspension and a long 124" wheelbase for a comfortable ride and abundant interior room. This example is typical of the 148L and more importantly is almost miraculously original and well maintained. It was displayed in the Preservation Class at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The original paint, chrome and interior upholstery are sound. It completed the Pebble Beach Tour and runs and drives well. Even the original radio works. It is right-hand drive and boasts a Cotal semi-automatic 4-speed gearbox. New tires have been fitted for safety and the wheels repainted. Finished, as all self-respecting French luxury sedans of the day were, in Black with Tan cloth upholstery, its coachwork by LeTourneur et Marchand is distinguished by wide-opening doors hinged at the center pillar which give unusually easy entry either into the front or rear seats. Under the hood the engine is orderly and still has its original air filter assembly. The interior is luxuriously appointed with wood trim and window surrounds, rear seat armrests, pullout ash receivers, a full complement of working gauges and a beautiful 3-spoke steering wheel with riveted leaf spring spokes. The correct spare wheel and tire are in the trunk. This is a wonderfully preserved automobile of impeccable quality and heritage that needs nothing to be used and enjoyed and its rarity and heritage is sufficiently important that it should probably never feel the restorer's touch, just be driven and displayed with pride. It recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic (tm), one of a select series of post-World War II automobiles accorded this important distinction.
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