After the racing success of its Type 145, Delahaye created the production version, the 12-cylinder Type 165. Two Type 165s were built, and the first was shown in October 1939 at the Paris Auto Salon, the last salon before the war.
The second 165 – this cabriolet, with body by Figoni & Falaschi, was so emblematic of 1930s French design that it represented the nation at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Shipped without an engine because it could not be built in time for the show, an engine sheel, without internals was used instead. The engine-less body was impounded by US Customs when Europe became embroiled in World War II.
After trading hands at a public auction and receiving a Cadillac engine, it eventually wound up at a used car lot in Honolulu until it was bought by a military serviceman.
Following his death, it was abandoned by his widow in the 1970s and sold to a tow-truck driver for $1200. It took four years of negotiation, but Peter Mullin and Jim Hull eventually purchased the car in 1985 and spearheaded its restoration. The original engine sheel was tracked back to Count Hubertus von Doenhoff and bought. New engine internals were created from original drawings to finally give the 165 the fully-working engine it was intended to have.
The car now resides in the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.