The 1949 The Delahaye Type 175 S Saoutchik Roadster, which some have dubbed the most beautiful car in the world, once owned by the late British actress Diana Dors is sold for $3,3 million at RM Sports & Classics of Monterey Auction in California, August 12 – 14, 2010.
Saoutchik was a cabinet maker when he moved to Paris from his home in Ukraine around 1900, but he didn’t take long to establish himself in the fledgling automotive coachbuilding industry and he showed a consistent flair over the next 50 years which puts him among the very elite of automotive designers.
His designs borrowed little from other designers, and along with names such as Figoni et Falaschi, Chapron, Franay and de Letourner et Marchand, Saoutchik was one of the foremost designers of exquisite Art Deco coachwork during the 20s and 30s. Saoutchik was commissioned to produce the spectacular work-of-art by flamboyant English collector, Sir John Gaul. The design was based on the first post-war Delahaye chassis from a 175 S Roadster (chassis number 815023) producing 165 bhp from an engine much larger than the pre-war Delahayes ran – a 4,455 cc naturally aspirated overhead valve inline six cylinder engine with four-speed electro-mechanically actuated Cotal Preselector gearbox, Dubonnet coil spring front suspension, De Dion rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, and four-wheel hydraulic finned alloy drum brakes. The wheelbase was a whopping 116 inches.
The car was unveiled sixty one years ago at the 1949 Paris Auto Show, and was exhibited at all the major European concours events that year, from Paris to Monte Carlo to San Remo, scooping the pool wherever it was exhibited. Indeed, whilst it will undoubtedly be the star of the auction this year at the Pebble Beach event, it won best-in-class in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2006 just a few months after a complete restoration. Just a few months later, the car was honored again, winning People’s Choice at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance.
Having fulfilled its exhibition duties, it then passed through a succession of other flamboyant owners, including actress Diana Dors.
If the $3,3 million is a bit hefty price for you, there are replica cars available at approximately $500,000 from Delahaye USA.
Photo: Ron Kimball/Kimball Stock