SAOUTCHIK PLASTIC STEERING WHEEL
In the late 1940s Custom builders experimented with the use of plastics in Custom Cars. One of their inspiration sources was the lucite steering wheel in the Saoutchik Delahay 175-S from 1949.
In the summer of 2016 we did an series of article on the use of Plastics by Custom Car builders and the history of it. One article concentrated on the external use of plastics, like hand made bumper guard taillights and parking lights, while the other article focused on the use of plastics in the interior of Custom Cars. One focal point was the steering wheel in the Barris Kustoms restyled Don Vaughn 1948 Buick. And how this technique possibly was inspired by the use of plastic steering wheels in some coachbuild cars from the lat 1940’s. We included a sample of the clear lucite steering wheel in the Saoutchik designed and created 1949 Delahaye 175-S. This breathtaking beautiful car has been completely restored by Fran Roxas and the steering wheel used in the restored car was completely redone, since the original steering wheel showed its age, the lucite was cracked etc.
In an recently ebay offering this apparently original Delahaye Saoutchik was offered for sale. The auction showed some nice detailed photos of this historic piece, and since we have already mentioned it in the Plastics article I figured it would be nice to show it up close here on the Custom Car Chronicle.
Original used steering wheel
Original NOS New Old Stock 1949 Horn Button Center
The center emblem has the Coat of Arms of the Dauphin
ex French King of France Family
The Restored Saoutchik Delahaye 175-S
The car is built upon the first new Delahaye chassis designed after the war. New features for this model included a much larger 4.5 liter engine, a De-Dion rear suspension, Dubbonet front suspension, Lockhead brakes, and novelties such as a radio and heater came standard.
The first owner of this car, chassis 815025, was Sir John Gaul of England who brought the car to several European concours, catching the attention of the press and public wherever it went. In 1949, it won top honors at the Grand Castle du Bois de Boulogne in Paris, the Monte Carlo Concours and Coup de l’Automobile in San Remo almost always accompanied by an attractive lady.
By the seventies the roadster had made its way to Colorado where maintenance on the race-spec engine and Dubonnet suspension became a nuisance. The owner then chopped out the entire front section of the chassis to fit a GM Toronado system which was front wheel drive.
For nearly forty years the original engine and car were separated much to the blissful ignorance of everyone who could still appreciate its distinct design. Eventually correct 175 parts were sourced and the owner had Fran Roxas refurbish the massive Delahaye. It made a welcome debut restoration at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours where it graced the shoreline beside the best examples of the marque. Later, the original engine was sourced and it was offered at Sports & Classics of Monterey by RM Auctions.
Info from newatlas.com
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