1939 French Connection by Boyd Coddington
Mechanical Engineer Emile Delahaye started his company DELAHAYE GFA in 1879 in Tours, France. Soon he began making four-stroke internal combustion engines. By 1894, he had built his first car, surprisingly when he was 51 years old.
Born almost a century after Delahaye, my dad was exploring similar passions, but unlike Delahaye, he was allowed more time to express his gift of vision in search of the perfect hot rod. With his passing, my dad left deep and lasting impressions on many generations who know of his work. We hope, through this type of documentation, that future generations will come to know and appreciate his work as well.
The “French Connection” was the last fully hand formed metal body hot rod to roll out of Boyd Coddington’s Garage. This project was built for long-time customer and family friend Rocky Walker.The inspiration behind this creation started several years before, when we constructed the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr or, the “Led Zephyr” as it was called. The Led Zephyr was the start of the next chapter of hot rods my dad wanted to build. I remember a conversation we had where he said, “Jr., I’m tired of looking at the same old thing, it’s time to take this to the next level”. What he meant by the “next level” was the larger, or full-fender cars. With that, the renderings started to fly. Between Todd Emmons, Eric Brockmeyer and Chris Ito, we had them drawing everything Packard’s to Auburns.
Through those renderings came the all steel and hand-fabricated 1936 Delahaye or what came to be known as the WhattheHaye. It was based on the French-designed Delahaye of the 30s. The “French Connection” was patterned after a few of the pre- and post-war Delahayes, principally the 1939 Type 165 and the 1949 Type 175S. For their time, these cars were dramatic extrapolations of the full-fender look. In the car we constructed, we felt that we captured the essence of what Mr. Delahaye’s designers were trying to accomplish – and we added touches from the 21st Century.
Build Sheet & Key Specs
Build Sheet & Key Specs
- Hand formed metal one-off body by Marcel and Sons
- Painted Boyd Red and Boyd Black using Dupont Hot Hues paint system
- Pinstriped by Dennis Ricklefs
- Art Morrison Chassis
- Independent front suspension
- Ford 9 inch rear end with 4-link suspension
- Custom 8pt chrome moly roll cage hidden behind interior
- Hand fabricated grille
- Hand fabricated moldings
- One-off Boyd Coddington Wheels
- Custom gauges
- BTM Marine Offshore 12.8 Liter V-12 engine, made in Italy, 781 cubic inches
- Hand fabricated fuel injection system with 12 weber carbs
- Turbo 400 automatic transmission
My dad set a standard for his workmanship, creativity, and thinking from which he never deviated. He strived to personalize each hot rod to be different without being odd. The flawless metalwork, paint and wheels were always a given. When he saw a line in the body that didn’t suit his overall vision, there was no hesitation, and that line was changed. The “French Connection” reflects the awesome standards and the creative thinking of my dad.
The French Connection was one of the last hand formed metal body hot rod my dad built. He was very happy with the final outcome of this build and as always, proud of the team at Boyd Coddington Garage that made it happen.