Name: 1937 Delahaye 145 Grand Prix
Year(s) Produced: 1937
Number Built: 3-5
Class: Sports car
Engine: 4496cc, V12
Power: 245hp @ 5500 RPM
Top Speed: 143 mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Base Price: (?)
Current Value: (?)
Once known as the car that beat Hitler, this Delahaye 145 earned the reputation of being the only French race car that won over against a German automobile giant. It has one of the most fascinating stories of any 4-wheeled vehicle in the world. It’s a story that involves international intrigue, world war, being lost and then found, and a restoration.
It was dubbed as the “Million Franc” Delahaye due to the prize offered by the Auto Club of France. The world speed records had long been held by the Germans and Italians and the French had simply had enough. They offered a prize of one million Francs to whoever can beat the fascists, and answering the call was French race car driver Rene Dreyfus. The car of choice was a 1937 Delahaye Type 145 V12 Grand Prix carrying with it a top speed of 143 mph. The unexpected defeat of Mercedes and their Silver Arrows in the lead up to WW2 infuriated Hitler. He can’t accept such an ‘inferior’ defeating their nation’s pride and honor. He made an attempt to track down the Delahaye. Knowing the malicious intent of the fascist leader, the car and its engine were hidden away from the Nazis.
Now after four decades of slumber, French car collector and enthusiast Peter Mullin managed to find the car and all of its scattered pieces. He then set about doing the daunting task of reuniting it with its original motor. Now a ‘resident’ of The Mullin Museum, the Delahaye is occasionally seen being driven along public roads as a testimonial on how it once ‘defeated’ a dictator.
Watch this video to see how this champion was brought back to life.