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Delahaye 175 was an automobile manufactured by Delahaye between 1947 and 1951. The last of the large Delahayes, the type 175 was essentially a 135 with a larger engine and more modern suspension, with between 120 and 160 hp depending on compression and how many Solex carburettors were fitted. The front end design was by Delahaye's young head designer Philippe Charbonneaux, and marked an effort to develop a particular Delahaye "face". Delahaye required coachbuilders to use the corporate front-end, although famous ones such as Figoni et Falaschi were given a certain amount of leeway. The 4.5-litre engine used in these cars carried the "183" model code.

History

After having spent World War II building train cars for the German occupiers, Delahaye was included in deputy director Paul-Marie Pons' 1945 plan Pons for French industry and engineering. His plan Pons was a five-year program for the recreation of French industry, allotting Delahaye the position of building covetable sports and luxury cars intended to raise much-needed foreign currency. The 134, 135 and 148s were revived, but Delahaye still needed a "halo car" like the 165. In consideration of the lower quality materials available in the immediate post-war era, the elaborate 4.5-litre V12 engine of the 165 was replaced by a new, less complex, six-cylinder engine of the same displacement. The new 175 was one of a very few debuts at the Paris Salon in October 1946, and therefore garnered considerable attention.

The car, however, was not fully developed yet: while shown again in 1947, production did not truly begin until 1948, and some say that it was never fully developed. However, as most of the French grandes marques no longer existed, coach builders all descended upon the 175 to prove their art.

No more than 51 Delahaye 175s were built. While not a grand success in the marketplace, types 175 did win the 1951 Monte Carlo Rally and had a strong showing at the 1950 Carrera Panamericana. The 175 was available with twin carburettors and a 295 cm wheelbase; two longer wheelbase versions with single carburettors and 125 hp were also built: The types 178 (315 cm, 37 built) and 180 (333.5 cm). Only seventeen Types 180 were produced, mainly for heads of state and the like. Two Henri Chapron-bodied, fully armoured 180 limousines with divisions were built for the leadership of the French Communist Party in 1948. A prototype "Delage D180" was also developed on this basis, but never entered production as Delage instead focused on their D6 model. The total produced of the series is 105, although some sources claim only just under a hundred were built.

The type 183 engines with single carburettors produced from 120 to 140 hp depending on compression, allowing for top speeds of 130 (type 180), 140 (type 178) and 145 (type 175) km/h. The triple-carbed versions available in the 175 and 175S raised this to about 160 km/h (99 mph), although naturally these figures were subject to variation depending on which bodywork was fitted.

While still rear-wheel drive, the 175 chassis is considerably more sophisticated than that of its 135 predecessor, the front suspension being independent with struts (Dubonnet system). The rear was by de Dion, with semi-elliptical springs. Brakes were hydraulically operated drums all around.

Sadly, the beautiful custom bodies placed on these cars were often too heavy for the chassis, leading to collapsing Dubonnet suspensions and shearing rear transmission half-shafts. Wet-weather handling was considered unpredictable. A shortage of time and money for development may have been a cause of the 175 having been born under an unlucky star. Delahaye's reputation for solidity took a serious hit in consequence, and although Delahaye managed to introduce the more modern 235 in 1951, the company did not have much longer left. Delahaye and Delage was in freefall, their combined production dropping from 511 in 1949 to 41 in 1952 and 36 in 1953.

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