Here’s a woody of a different species: a 1946 Delahaye. It’s a one-off, and has quite a story, which I found along with a few pictures.
Looking at these pictures makes me realize that woody wagons (and other body styles) aren’t really all that different than the bodies of the time, minus their steel exterior skins, since they were invariably wood framed.
I found these pictures at Ed’s Flickr page along with a description of its origins, which I presume to be correct:
Only one in the world…..1946 Delahaye 135 CS Guillore Break de Chasse (Shooting Brake if you are a Brit, or Woodie or Estate Wagon if American) with a genuinely amazing Hollywood worthy story. After WWII, France had a severe need for heros, and the very upscale Delahaye (read expensive) needed good press. In their formidable racer, the 6 cylinder 135 CS finished 2nd at the 1937 LeMons, and 1rst, 2nd and 4th in 1938. Their stable of world class drivers had either died in the War, or fled to America so when Marcel Mongin, the co-driver of the 2nd finishing 1937 race popped up (literally) from a man-hole cover in a Paris street at the War’s end, they had their hero. Marcel had disappeared from sight into the French Resistance at the start of the war and was also presumed dead.
When he miraculously re-appeared, Delahaye approached him and begged him to return and pilot their post war racers, and he replied that he had come close to death many times racing for them in the past, and then had come very close many times in the War, and wanted now, only to retire to his modest estate and grow grapes. To fete him publicly for his heroism they threw him a huge party (the French President attended) and presented him with this one off estate wagon. They took a full racing engine/chassis from a 135 CS (competition sports) (maybe one he drove??) and had a very custom wood ‘shooting brake’ body installed, and bid him farewell to great hoopla!
My friend Steve Hamilton of Carson City, Nev, owns and meticulously maintains this amazing creature (much of it, including the racing engine, unrestored, but running well. PRICELESS!! This is many years before Bill Harrah did a similar trick and stuck a Ferrari V-12 in a Jeep Wagoneer and tootled about Reno, but the story is much better. This is definitely the Ultimate Woodie! Art Deco Estate Wagon on a multiple Grand Prix winning running engine/chassis, and a Hollywood magical WWII story with a happy ending………… Doesn’t get any better!!!!
Resembles the ‘teardrop’ trailers of that era.
How was this kept hidden all this time? It’s the predecessor to all the slopey sort of SUV’s around today (worst offender BMW X6, but half the regular SUV’s are now about like this car) that sacrifice cargo space for trying to look cool, except of course this really is cool. It could have used a few more centimeters of height on the windshield though.
Now, bring back (fake) woodies! (Is there a kit for my Forester?)
Fascinating! Thanks. i attached a picture of an Allard Safari.
Looks like someone dropped a wooden teardrop trailer onto that chassis! I could go for something like that, if I really wanted a Delahaye. Camper Deco!
Distinctive to something, wonderful to others. it almost looks like a hatchback woody, based on the rear tailgate latches. Does the rear wood panel drop, Range Rover style?
Not just Range Rover but about every station wagon on earth until the all in one SUV/hatchback style hatch. Hence: tailgating. But good call – it does not look like there is a tailgate at all. Check the bumper guards (with no bumper to guard). I’ll have to have it modified on mine for practicality.
By “Earth” do you mean “USA”?
I like the way it picks up the design language of prewar Figoni et Falaschi coupes with the fastback rear echoing the round doors. It’s obviously sacrificing space for style but this one is worth it
Never knew that existed – it’s a beauty…
I have a strange feeling that this vehicle only existed until recently, as an idea. Someone with a chassis & engine, but no body, put pencil to paper, and created this cute teardrop woodie.
Curious about Delahaye, I did a little searching for information about their independent front suspension and Google came back with this article. It was a fascinating read, I think others here may enjoy it too.
Thank you so much for providing us with that interesting piece of information, going back to the middle 30’s. It was the writing style that caught my attention, as it reminded me of articles I read in the early fifties. Wonderful.
We did a post on the Dubonnet suspension here:
Sounds all pretty legit, except the French president showing up (France didn’t have a president from 1940 to 1947, but I guess it could be a translation issue).
Kudos to Guilloré, the coachbuilders. Superb job. The incongruity of a high-class chassis and a woodie wagon body is always a delight to behold. Rolls, Packard, Bentley and many others (Hispano-Suiza below) all did it, some as one-offs, some as small batches. Not many were made, even fewer have survived…
Bloody hell, T, you DO find ’em. That’s edible, that is. Just wow.
Oh, I do hope it’s all true, but even if not, the inventor of the story deserves every credit for stirring up the dusty parts of imagination in the adult brain.
As others have said, I’ve never heard of or seen this sweet creation, and I’ve got to confess that my rational brain says the Blue Train Bentley shape seems awfully like a recent curated interpretation (or whatever the term currently is) rather than an historical object, but I’m happy to be wrong and hopefully and probably am.
In the modern idiom, it’s unimaginable, so imagine anyway a Bentayga – albeit with actual styling – on a last-season F1 chassis. Nuts.
Just happen to have a Delahaye project looking for direction (48 Guillore sedan body on a Jaguar Mark VII frame and power train) anyone able to help me out with a way to proceed for something like this? Not too far from Carson City, if that is where this car is…