|During the early days of the French automotive market, the primo coachbuilder to enlist for you custom bodied vehicle was Fagoni et Falaschi. Usually, at least, five years ahead of its competitors in auto styling. Fagoni et Falaschi produced bodies whose lines were years ahead of their cohorts who complimented their rival by copying them. The 1947 Delahaye seen here justifiable serves as a lasting statement to the elegance that once flowed from the Parisian coachbuilder.
The Delahaye has the attributes the coachbuilder was known for: aerodynamic flowing fenders, the absence of running boards and the graceful use of bright work that enhances the overall form and function rather than distract from it.
Italian born Guiseppe Fagoni, a Parisian immigrant from three years of age in tow with his parents worked from an early age to capture in cold hard sheet metal the warmth and sensuous qualities found in the works of the great masters. Fagoni was never one to copy the lines of others. Rather he was always at the forefront of a movement to build automobiles as pieces of sculpture while never attempting to hide or deny the notion that they were modes of transportation. The function for which they were built was never in doubt. That the New York Museum of Modern Art should include one of Fagoni et Falaschi‚s pieces (a late 1930's Talbot coupe) in its "Ten Great Automobiles" exhibition in 1951 of Rolling Sculpture is testimony alone of the builders artistic prominence.
Fagoni et Falaschi along with the other French coachbuilders gradually lost their grip on the epicenter of automobile design to the Italians in the post-war days of the early 1950's. Many historians point an accusing finger at the notable French automakers of the time, Talbot, Delage and Hotchkiss among others who were unable to market a chassis capable of fending off foreign competition. Plus, the automakers saw coachbuilders as adversaries when, in fact, they weren't. Historians also cite the French government which in hindsight appears to have penalized the buyers of coachbuilt cars. The buyer was on record, at least visually, as one who had spent a tidy sum to acquire an elitist auto. Tax collectors‚ job were easier as the owners rode around with virtual targets on their backs. The owners feeling that they were being picked on, gradually sulked away to buy mass-produced vehicles which were less austentaious, yet ones which delivered the desirable attributes formerly only available from coach builders, ie., dependable drive trains, pleasing styling, comfort and even prestige if you choose from the top of a line.
Brought to D & D Classic Auto Restoration by Richard Scott, this 1947 Delahaye Convertible Coupe was in need of a lot of TLC. Over a period of months, it received roughly a 50% restoration as per Scott's instructions.