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Delahaye 135 S Competition Roadster

1936, Campbell Shed, On long term display

This car dates back to 1936, when it was imported to Britain by T G Clarke, a private entrant for the ‘Tourist Trophy’ race of that year. Tom Clarke did not manage to finish the race but did establish a lap record before being forced to retire. In the same year, Tom Clarke and his co-driver, Maurice Faulkner finished 10th in the British Grand Prix at Donnington. Clarke sold the car in 1937 to the Siamese Prince Chula for his cousin Prince Bira to drive. Bira won many races in it and raced the car at Brooklands on at least one occasion. The car was also lent to Mrs EM Thomas who won the Ladies Race at Crystal Palace.

By 1939, the Delahaye was sold to Rob Walker (a member of the “Johnnie Walker” whisky dynasty). After several races including the 1939 Brooklands Whitsun, the car was fitted with a Cotal preselector gearbox to aid Rob Walker, who had a badly cut finger on his left hand. During the Second World War, Rob Walker got married and promised not to race again. In 1950 the car was lent to a friend but, on its return from a trip to France, the car was found to have a false petrol tank containing 300 Swiss watches. This led to Rob Walker having to buy the car back from Customs and Excise. Walker sold the Delahaye during the 1950s and it ended up in a collection in Scotland. Walker bought the car back again in the 1970s and, following a major restoration, it is still owned by the Walker family. The car arrived for display at Brooklands in 2019 but it hadn’t run for about four years. A careful re-commissioning was undertaken. A faulty magneto was repaired and after extensive checks, the car ran again at Brooklands in October 2020.

Technical Specifications

Engine: Six-cylinder 84 x 107 mm., 3,557-c.c., with overhead valves actuated by pushrods, giving approximately 145 bhp; Cotal pre-selector gearbox and rear-wheel drive.

Prominent Races

1936, Tourist Trophy Race of the year by T G Clarke.

1936, British Grand Prix, Donington by T G Clarke & Maurice Faulkner.

1937, Pau Grand Prix by Prince Bira.

1938, Ladies Race at Crystal Palace by Mrs E M Thomas.

1939, Invitation Road Race & Mountain Race, Brooklands Whitsun by Dobson

1939, Le Mans 24-hour by Rob Walker & Ian Connell

1949, Le Mans 24-hour by Tony Rolt & Guy Jason

Collection Vehicle