In 1937, this “million franc” Delahaye set the world’s record for speed at Montlhery. It then competed in the Grand Prix of Pau (France), with race driver Rene Dreyfuss at the wheel, winning the race, that included one of Hitler’s prized race cars.
Certain that no French car could beat his prized Mercedes Benz Silver Arrow, Hitler issued orders to conscript the driver of that car for the German team. Once he learned that the world famous driver, Dreyfus, was Jewish, he decided, instead, to destroy the car. A group of French Nationaists then buried the it in a cave, deep in a mountainside in the Northwest of France, until it was rescued by Peter, fifteen years ago as but a rusted carcass of a race car. See the transformation below.
In 2008, we were invited to bring the Delahaye back to Pau, for the seventieth anniversary of the Grand Prix. Everyone in attendance knew this car, well, though none had ever seen it, in person. Peter then drove it on the original course, through Pau, to great applause and attention (mostly for the car, not the driver) of enormous crowds lining the streets.
Peter will now race it, once again, at Laguna Seca -near Pebble Beach- this week, on Friday and Saturday. Could be a modern concept car!
The 1937 Delahaye Type 145 V-12 from the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif. Credit Mullin Automotive Museum
From the NY Times:
The Mullin Automotive Museum, which is dedicated to Art Deco French cars, will field a 1937 Delahaye Type 145 V-12 on the track at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway in California next week. The museum said that René Dreyfus drove the car, which has been called the Million Franc Delahaye, to a 91-mile-per-hour lap record on the track at Montlhéry, France, in 1937, and also that the car won the Grand Prix de Pau and the Cork Grand Prix in 1938. (The Mullin Museum)