1946 Delahaye Woody Shooting Brake – A Different Species of Woody

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!!!!