Rare Delahaye Le Mans Survivor Buzzes Into Bonhams Monaco Sale

A rare 1936 Delahaye 135 S Compétition Court racing car, known as ‘Buzz II’ which campaigned in 1930s endurance races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will be offered in Bonhams The Monaco Sale ‘Les Grandes Marques à Monaco’ when the auction house returns to the principality on 23 April, during the weekend of the Monaco Historic Grand Prix (23 – 25 April).


Known for success in races and in concours d’elegances away from the track, the Delahaye 135 was one of the all-time great sporting motor cars of the pre-war period.

The French marque’s successes were in part due to the efforts of Irish American heiress Lucy Schell. A former racing driver, Schell became the first female motorsport team owner, with her finest hour coming at the 1938 Pau Grand Prix, when her semi-works Delahaye team trounced the seemingly unbeatable Mercedes team to take the chequered flag.

Two years earlier, Schell purchased the 135 S offered by Bonhams, which made its debut on track at the 1936 ‘Three Hours of Marseille’ endurance race 1936 as part of Écurie Bleu, her three-car semi-works team. The cars’ sky-blue paintwork, the French national colour, together with the muffled ‘buzzing’ sound of their engines earned them the nickname Blue Buzz’.

1949 Simca Deho Barquette, Coachwork by Motto


Also eligible for the Le Mans Classic is this 1949 Simca barchetta, the creation of racing driver Jean Estager. He decided to transform a Simca Eight classic into a race car with a 1086cc engine prepared by Simca specialist Roger Deho and a hand-shaped aluminium body by renowned Milan based coachbuilder Motto.

The car was sold in 1951 with its new owner wasting no time in entering it into the Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Despite being entered with number 74 and drivers Dblon-Daguet, the car failed to make the start line, but redeemed itself participating in various sporting events in the early 1950s, notably at Montlhéry in 1953.

The barchetta was rediscovered in the early 2000s as a barn find, but still retaining its original chassis and engine. Its next owner, an important Delahaye collector, embarked on a full restoration of the car, although keeping the interior of the driver’s door in its original condition as a reminder of how it was found.

1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto


Another important post-war competition car, a 1947 Cisitalia D46 Monoposto, will also cross the block in the Monaco Sale, with an estimate of €150,000 – 200,000. The renowned Italian marque was established by industrialist Piero Dusio who wanted to bring back motor racing to the post-war world.

His Cisitalia fleet featured the period’s greatest drivers such as Nuvolari, Ascari and Chiron contesting races around Europe and the wider world in these monoposto open-wheel racing cars which introduced the innovative spaceframe chassis.

This rare motor car was one of 14 examples built, of which 12 are known to survive, and is believed to be the ex-Grand Prix de Bern car, number 48, driven by Harry Schell, the first American driver to start a Grand Prix race and the son of Lucy Schell.

Early custodians included the Horschell Racing Corporation, Écurie de Paris and a succession of Australian sports car racers, before it was bought by Belgian racer Paul Swaelens who kept it for more than 40 years. Purchased by the vendor in 2003, this authentic Cisitalia has been fully restored and is eligible for a host of prestigious events worldwide.

The Bonhams Monaco Sale will be staged in the principality as a Live and Online auction on 23 April at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo overlooking the famous hairpin bend of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit, which will host the Monaco Historic Grand Prix over the same weekend.

Bonhams Head of Sale Philip Kantor said ‘We are much looking forward to returning to Monte-Carlo for Les Grandes Marques à Monaco Sale. As ever, we will present an exciting array of cars ranging from Le Mans participants from the 30s to a Ferrari tailor-made for a member of the family. Particular note must be made of the Delahaye 135S and Simca Deho Barquette – both extremely rare and eligible for the Le Mans Classic this year, and worthy of the great racing city in which the sale takes place.’

1991 Isdera Imperator 108i


Leading the charge of exclusive and exotic road cars which would surely be at home parked in front of the Casino de Monte-Carlo is a supercar rarity – a 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i, estimate €500,000 – 700,000.

The Imperator was the realisation of the Mercedes-Benz design experiment of the late 1970s. Engineer Eberhard Schulz, who headed the original concept design team, formed Isdera to build his own supercars.

The 30 examples produced over nine years remained true to the original simple concept. Super-lightweight striking gullwing coachwork on a tubular steel chassis married with outrageous power from the highly-regarded Mercedes-Benz 5-litre M119 V8 engine, resulted in unrivalled performance for its time, with a top speed of 275km/h and an acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in five seconds.

The motor car offered is finished in traditional Silver Arrows paintwork, emphasising the wedge-shaped lines, with contrasting black leather interior.

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Report by bonhams.com

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