DELAGE Cars 1905 – 1953 Levallois-Perret, France


Founded 1905
Founder Louis Delage
Defunct 1953
Headquarters Levallois-Perret, France
Products Cars
Delage D8-120

Delage was a French luxury automobile and racecar company founded in 1905 by Louis Delage in Levallois-Perret near Paris; it was acquired by Delahaye in 1935 and ceased operation in 1953.

Early history

The company was founded in 1905 by Louis Delage, who borrowed Fr 35,000, giving up a salary of Fr 600 a month to do so.

Its first location was on the Rue Cormeilles in Levallois-Perret. The company at first had just two lathes and three employees, one of them Peugeot‘s former chief designer. Delage initially produced parts for Helbé, with the De Dion-Bouton engine and chassis assembled by Helbé; Delage added only the body.

The first model was the Type A, a voiturette which appeared in 1906. It was powered by a one-cylinder De Dion-Bouton of 4.5 or 9 hp (3.4 or 6.7 kW; 4.6 or 9.1 PS). Like other early carmakers, Delage participated in motor racing, entering the Coupe de Voiturettes held at Rambouillet in November 1906 with a 9 hp (6.7 kW; 9.1 PS) racer. Seven days of regularity trials decided the entrants, and one of the two 9 hp (6.7 kW; 9.1 PS) Delage specials was wrecked in the rain on the fifth; nevertheless, Ménard, the other works driver, came second in the event, behind a Sizaire-Naudin.

In 1907 the factory moved to the Rue Baudin Levallois, where a 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft) workshop allowed it to grow. The two-cylinder Delages were no match for the competition this year at the Coupe des Voiturettes.

In 1908, the success enabled the development of the factory and entry into more Grand Prix races. That year, racing success returned: Delage won the Grand Prix des Voiturettes held 6 July. This event, six laps of the 47.74 mi (76.83 km) Dieppe Grand Prix circuit, saw 47 starters. Delage fielded three cars: a pair with 1,242 cc (75.8 cu in) (78 by 130 mm (3.1 by 5.1 in)) De Dion-Bouton twins, driven by Thomas and Lucas-Bonnard, and a radical 28 hp (21 kW; 28 PS) 1,257 cc (76.7 cu in) (100 by 160 mm (3.9 by 6.3 in)) one-cylinder (built by Nemorin Causan) in the hands of Delage dealer Albert Guyot. Guyot won at an average 49.8 mph (80.1 km/h), not needing to stop for fuel. All three Delages finished this time, Thomas the quickest of the two-cylinder cars, while the team also took home the regularity prize. These good results contributed to total sales exceeding 300 cars for the year.

Delage converted to four-cylinder engines in 1909, at first provided by De Dion and Edouard Ballot; shortly, the company were producing their own sidevalve fours, too.

After an increase in sales, the existing facilities were too small, so in 1910 the factory moved to a new facility at 138 Boulevard de Verdun, Courbevoie. The following year saw the creation of advanced bodywork. By 1912, 350 workers were producing over 1000 cars annually, and offered four- and six-cylinder sidevalve engines.

During the First World War, Delage produced munitions. Production of passenger cars virtually stopped, with the exception of some fabrication for the Army. But the Delage factories were running full support for the war effort.

When the war concluded, Delage moved away from small cars and made its reputation with larger cars. First up was the CO, with a 4,524 cc (276.1 cu in) (80 by 150 mm (3.1 by 5.9 in)) fixed-head sidevalve six producing 20 hp. The CO plans had been drawn up during the conflict; this was the first passenger car with front brakes. It was joined by the DO with a 3-liter four.

The 1920s were really the first “Golden Age” of Delage. The most famous were the DE and DI: 4 cylinders of about 2 liters and 11 hp. Delage also attempted to compete with Hispano-Suiza, with the GL of 30 hp and 5954 cc, with some success. After that came a new generation of six-cylinder cars, like the MD (3174 cc) and DR (2516 cc), the best-selling vehicle in the history of the brand, designed by engineer Gaultier.

Both the CO and DO were replaced in 1922. The CO became the CO2, which changed to an overhead valve twin-plug head, producing 88 hp (66 kW; 89 PS), while the DO was supplanted by the DE with a 2,117 cc (129.2 cu in) (72 by 130 mm (2.8 by 5.1 in)) sidevalve four and, unusual in a production car even in this era, four-wheel brakes. The CO2 completed the Paris-Nice run in 16 hours, an average of 67 km/h (42 mph).

The next year, the new 14 hp (10 kW; 14 PS) DI also switched to OHV with a 2,121 cc (129.4 cu in) (75 by 120 mm (3.0 by 4.7 in)) four, fitted with magneto ignition and thermosyphon cooling; all had four-speed gearboxes and Zenith carburettors. At the other end of the scale, the GL (Grand Luxe), also known as the 40/50, replaced the CO2, being fitted with a magneto-fired 5,344 cc (326.1 cu in) (90 by 140 mm (3.5 by 5.5 in)) overhead cam six.

In 1923, a hillclimb car with DI chassis, larger wheels and tires, and 5,107 cc (311.6 cu in) (85 by 150 mm (3.3 by 5.9 in)) CO block (with three Zenith carburetors) was produced. Delage scored successes at La Turbie and Mont Ventoux. This car was joined by a 10,688 cc (652.2 cu in) (90 by 140 mm (3.5 by 5.5 in)) V12, which broke the course record at the Gaillon hillclimb, with Thomas at the wheel. Thomas would set the land speed record at Arpajon in this car, at a speed of 143.24 mph (230.52 km/h), in 1924. A 1925 car had a 5,954 cc (363.3 cu in) (95 by 140 mm (3.7 by 5.5 in)) six, again using the GL block, with four valves per cylinder and twin overhead cams. Driven by Divo, it broke the Mont Ventoux course record in its debut. It would be destroyed by fire at the Phoenix Park meet in 1934.

The 1924 and 1925 DIS, with a 117 in (3,000 mm) wheelbase, switched from Rolls-Royce-type locking wheel hubs to Rudge knock-ons, better cam, and bigger valves, while the 1925 and 1926 DISS on the same wheelbase. Some of the DISes were bodied by Kelsch. The DIS became the Series 6 in 1927, switching to coil ignition and water pump.

In 1926, Delage introduced the DM, with a 3,182 cc (194.2 cu in) (75 by 120 mm (3.0 by 4.7 in)) six, which made it emblematic of the era for the marque. The high-performance DMS had hotter cam, twin valve springs, and other improvements. A DR, with a choice of 2.2- and 2.5-liter sidevalve engines, also briefly appeared.


Delage entered the 1911 Coupe de l’Auto at Boulogne with a 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) 2,996 cc (182.8 cu in) (80 by 149 mm (3.1 by 5.9 in)) four with two 60 mm (2.4 in)-diameter bellcrank-operated valves per cylinder controlled by camshafts in the crankcase. The five-speed gearbox gave a top speed of 60 mph (97 km/h), and the four voiturettes each carried 26 imp gal (120 l; 31 US gal), as the factory planned for a no-stop race. Works driver Paul Bablot won, at an average 55.2 mph (88.8 km/h), with a 1m 11s over Boillot’s Peugeot, followed home by Thomas in a second Delage; Delage also took the team prize.

Delage would move up to Grand Prix racing in 1912, with a Léon Michelat-designed car powered by a four-valve 6,235 cc (380.5 cu in) (105 by 180 mm (4.1 by 7.1 in)) four-cylinder of 118 hp (88 kW; 120 PS), coupled again to a five-speed gearbox and fitted this time with 43 imp gal (200 l; 52 US gal). Three cars were built for the 569 mi (916 km) Amiens Grand Prix, though only two, Bablot’s and Guyot’s, actually entered. On the day, Bablot’s Delage proved the fastest car in the field, turning in a lap at 76.6 mph (123.3 km/h), but it was Guyot who would fall out of the lead with a puncture, and the race went to Peugeot, while the Delages were fourth and fifth. At the French Grand Prix, Delage put Bablot first, Guyot second, ahead of Pilette’s 1908 Mercedes GP car, Salzer in a Mercedes, with Duray coming in fifth in the third Delage.

In 1913, the new type Y set the fasted lap time at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, and in 1914, this same car won the 1914 Indianapolis 500 with René Thomas at the wheel. Thomas, Guyot, and Duray would return to the French Grand Prix with 4½-liter twin-cam desmodromic valved racers featuring twin carburettors, five-speed gearbox, and four-wheel brakes. While quick, they proved unreliable; only one finished, Duray’s, in eighth.

In 1914, Delage emphasized its focus on competition by creating the type O Lyon Grand Prix, while at the same time moving towards the luxury car market with 6 cylinders of a large class. However, racing was severely curtailed during World War One.

Delage D6

In 1923 Louis Delage returned to competition with the innovative 12-cylinder 2-liter type 2 LCV. This car won the 1924 European Grand Prix in Lyon and the 1925 Grand Prix of ACF Montlhéry. The 12-cylinder DH (10,5 liters) of 1924 beat the world speed record on the highway, at 230 km/h (143 mph). A Delage 155 B won the first Grand Prix of Great-Britain in 1926, driven by Louis Wagner and Robert Senechal. The production of cars continued with the DI and the DI S SS. The DM evolved into the DMS and DML, equipped with a 6-cylinder 3-liter engine designed by Maurice Gaultier.

Delage’s Grand Prix effort saw a Plancton-designed 1,984 cc (121.1 cu in) (51.3 by 80 mm (2.02 by 3.15 in)) four overhead cam V12. The 110 hp (82 kW; 110 PS) car, driven by Thomas, fell out of the French Grand Prix in 1923, but went on to perform well for the bulk of the 1923 and 1924 season. With supercharger added in 1925, bringing output to 195 hp (145 kW; 198 PS), it won at Montlhéry and Lasarteproving as fast as the Alfa Romeo P2, but rarely racing it directly. This car was supplanted in 1926 by a Lory-designed supercharged 1.5-liter twincam straight eight of 170 hp (130 kW; 170 PS); capable of 130 mph (210 km/h), it was the company’s last Grand Prix entrant.

A Delage supercharged straight-8 racing engine

Always passionate about racing, Louis Delage designed an 8-cylinder 1500 cc, the type 15 S 8. This car won four European Grands Prix races in 1927, and won Delage the title “World Champion of Car Builders” that same year.

A 2,988 cc (182.3 cu in)-powered D6 won the 1938 Tourist Trophy at Donington Park and came second at Le Mans. A single V12-powered car, intended for Le Mans, tragically caught fire at the 1938 International Trophy at Brooklands.

Postwar, the best results Delage had were seconds at the 1949 Le Mans and 1950 Paris Grand Prix.

The D6 and the D8: The Classic Era

1930 saw the launch of the 6-cylinder Delage D6 which would form the mainstay of the manufacturer’s passenger car range until 1954.

For 1930 Maurice Gaultier designed an 8-cylinder in-line 4,061 cc, evolving the type D8 into the type D8 S (S for Sport).

1939 Delage D8

The D8 was the pinnacle of the marque. It was offered in three wheelbases, “S” or “C” at 130 in (3,300 mm), “N” at 140 in (3,600 mm), and “L” at 143 in (3,600 mm), all powered by a 4,061 cc (247.8 cu in) (77 by 109 mm (3.0 by 4.3 in)) straight eight, making it capable of 85 mph (137 km/h). Delage followed in 1932 with the Grand Sport, on a 123 in (3,100 mm) 130 in (3,300 mm) in 1934) wheelbase, capable of 100 mph (160 km/h).

But the backlash of the economic crisis of 1929 arrived and manufacturers of luxury cars all over the world suffered from poor sales. The commercial and financial situation of the firm was badly shaken. In 1932 Delage introduced the type D6-11 (6-cylinder 2101 cc), and two years later the new eight-cylinder Delage, type D8-15 (2768 cc). These two models, equipped with independent front wheel suspension did not increase sale figures. The transverse leaf and wishbone independent front suspension was licensed by Studebaker for their cars.

The junior D6s shared Delahaye front suspension design, but had hydraulic rather than Delahaye cable-actuated brakes, also shared the Cotal gearbox with the D8. The D6/70 of 1936 was powered by a 2,729 cc (166.5 cu in) (80 by 90.5 mm (3.15 by 3.56 in)) six, the 1938 D6/75 a 2.8-liter six, and the postwar D8/3L Olympic a 3-liter six. At the bottom of the range was a 1.5-liter four that lasted until 1936.

Financial pressures never disappeared, however, and during the Spring of 1932 Louis Delage was obliged to take out a 25 Million franc loan in order to finance the tooling needed to put the D6 into production. It was at this time that he also entered into negotiations with Peugeot about using their dealership and service network. These negotiations went nowhere, and discussions with other possible partners/rescuers also came to nothing. There were also personal problems involving his marriage which necessitated a rearrangement of Delage’s personal finances, although in the event it was the sale of his expensive home in the Champs-Élysées that reduced the pressure on his finances if only in the short term.

The last models to emerge from the factory in Courbevoie were the types D6-65, D8-85 and D8-105, designed by engineer Michelat. On 20 April 1935 the factory in Courbevoie went into voluntary liquidation.

But Louis Delage would not admit defeat, and with the help of a businessman called Walter Watney created the Société Nouvelle des Automobiles Delage (SAFAD), to market Delage cars, assembled from production Delahayes. This union created the 4-cylinder DI 12 and the D8 120, and also the 6-cylinder D6 70. Watney had taken control as president of SAFAD, but he was a British national and in June 1940 he was obliged to leave Paris as the German Army arrived. Watney stayed in France, at his villa in Beaulieu, until the end of 1942 after the Germans had completed their occupation, but already in December 1940 the presidency of the SAFAD business had passed directly into the control of Delahaye. In any event, since the outbreak of the war Delage had been largely inactive, although they did undertake work on a project to replace the six-cylinder engine of the Hotchkiss H39 tank with the more powerful 8-cylinder unit from the Delage D8 120.

Racing aero-engines

Delage produced at least two types of racing aero-engine during the early 1930s. The Delage 12 CED was fitted to the Kellner-Béchereau 28VD racing aircraft, intended to compete in the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe air race. Unfortunately the aircraft crashed during qualification trials for the race on 12 May 1933. The second engine type, the Delage 12 GV, remains a mystery, with very little information available.

After the Second World War

A large prototype Delage D-180 limousine appeared at the 1946 Paris Motor Show but there were evidently no further developments on this project and by the next year the big prototype had quietly disappeared. At the 1947 Paris Motor Show only a single model was exhibited as the business focused on its six-cylinder 3-litre Delage D6 which in most respects will have been familiar to anyone who had known the 3-litre Delages of the 1930s. The car was offered with bodies by firms such as Chapron, Letourner & Marchand and Guilloré. A variety of coupe and cabriolet bodied D6s were produced. In addition, both Guilloré and Chapron produced a large saloon/sedan body. The two were remarkably similar, both being six-light four-door cars with conservative 1930s style shapes. Something else the two had in common was unexpectedly narrow rear doors, enforced by the combination of a long body, a long rear overhang and a relatively short wheelbase provided by the D6 chassis. A longer wheelbase 1952 special version, bodied by Guilloré, was owned by National Assembly president Edouard Herriot.

Nevertheless, these were difficult times for luxury auto-makers in France and by now the company’s registered head office was the same as that for Delahaye: production statistics from the period group Delage and Delahaye together. Louis Delâge himself, who had lived in poverty and quasi-monastic isolation since bankruptcy in 1935 had enforced the transfer of his company to Delahaye, died in December 1947, and during the next few years any residual autonomy that the business had enjoyed disappeared. Increases in motoring taxes, most notably in 1948 and most savagely targeting cars with engines of above 2 litres, combined with the depressed economic conditions of post-war France to create a difficult market for luxury car manufacturers. In 1950 Delahaye produced 235 cars which will have included a significant number of Delages. In 1951 the combined production figure for the two brands slumped to 77: in 1952 it was down to 41. In 1953 Delage production ended.

Delage was absorbed into Hotchkiss along with Delahaye in 1954, and car manufacturing ended.


1920 Delage (type S) CO 4 ½ litre Salamanca (1918, 6 cyl, 4,524 cc)

1924 Delage Di(1920, 2,121 cc)

1920-delage-type-co2-22d181v-dual-cowl-tourer Delage CO2 (1921)

Delage 2 LCV (1923, 12 cyl, 2L)

Delage GL (5,954 cc)

Delage DE

Delage DH (12 cyl DH, 10,5L)

Delage DI S

Delage DI SS

Delage DMS (6 cyl, 3L)

Delage DML (6 cyl, 3L)

Scuderia Giddings black 1927
Delage. Beautiful 1500cc twin cam straight eight, blown alloy engine created almost 200 horse power.

Delage 15 S 8 (8 cyl, 1,500 cc)

1924 Delage GL Labourdett DV-08

Delage GL (5,954 cc)

Delage DM (6 cyl, 3,174 cc)

Delage DR (6 cyl, 2,516 cc)

Delage D4 (4 cyl, 1,480 cc)

Delage D6-11 (6 cyl, 2,101 cc)

Delage D8-15 (2,768 cc)

Delage D6-65

1935 Delage D8-85

Delage D8

Delage D8 S (8 cyl, 4,061 cc)

Delage D8-105

1926 Delage DI Torpedo 11CV 4Cyl

1936 Delage DI-12 Pillarless Saloon Delage DI 12 (4 cyl)

Delage D8 120

Delage D6 70 (6 cyl)

My personal collection, found on www:



Scuderia Giddings black 1927
Delage. Beautiful 1500cc twin cam straight eight, blown alloy engine created almost 200 horse power.

Delage DI 1926 All Weather Tourer. Launched in 1923 the Delage DI was given a 4-cylinder ohv 2120cc 30bhp engine
Delage DI 1926 Drophead Coupe



Delage op You Tube:

Production volumes

During their years of independence, Delage made almost 40,000 cars at their workshops in Levallois and Courbevoie. After Delage production was subsumed into the Delahaye operation, approximately another 2,000 Delage badged cars were manufactured between 1935 and 1940. With the post-war resumption of passenger car production, 330 Delage cars appear to have been produced by Delahaye between 1946 and 1953.

Sources and further reading

  1. Jump up^ Hull, Peter. “Delage: Speed and Elegance in the French Tradition”, in Ward, Ian, executive editor. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Volume 5, p.517.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Hull, p.517.
  3. Jump up^ Hull, p.517. One was de Dion powered, the other Aster-engined; it is unclear from Hull which was involved in this crash.
  4. Jump up^ It featured four spark plugs, four valves per cylinder, two flywheels, and thermosyphon cooling. Hull, p.518.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hull, p.518.
  6. Jump up^ Hull, p.518-519.
  7. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i Hull, p.519.
  8. Jump up^ Hull, p.520. It would later be famous at Brooklandsin the hands of John Cobb. In the 1970s, it was still campaigned in veteran and vintage racing by Johnty Williamson and Cecil Clutton.
  9. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Hull, p.520.
  10. Jump up^ Hull, p.519 caption.
  11. Jump up^ Powered by an experimental overhead cam six. Hull, p.518.
  12. Jump up^ Hull, p.520, says 1995cc, which is belied by the cylinder dimensions.
  13. Jump up^ Hull, p.520, says 4,050 cc (247 cu in) which is belied by the quoted cylinder dimensions.
  14. Jump up to:a b c d “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1934 (salon [Paris, Oct] 1933). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 22: 30. 2002.
  15. Jump up to:a b c “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1940 – 46 (les années sans salon). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 26: 32. 2003.
  17. Jump up to:a b c d “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1948 (salon Paris oct 1947). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 7: 9. 1998.
  18. Jump up to:a b c “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1953 (salon Paris oct 1952). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 19: 22. 2000.
  19. Jump up to:a b c “Automobilia”. Toutes les voitures françaises 1954 (salon [Oct] 1953). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 24: 23. 2002.
  20. Jump up^ The chassis number range runs from 1 in 1905 to 39,100 in 1935.
  21. Jump up^ Chassis numbers 50,000 to 51,999.
  22. Jump up^ Chassis numbers 880,000 to 880,330.

Hull, Peter. “Delage: Speed and Elegance in the French Tradition”, in Ward, Ian, executive editor. World of Automobiles, Volume 5, pp. 517–520. London: Orbis, 1974.

External links

Les Amis de Delage, website of Delage-collectors

Delage World, web site maintained by collector Peter Jacobs

Continue reading “DELAGE Cars 1905 – 1953 Levallois-Perret, France”


DELAHAYE Automobiles and Trucks

for Delahaye Buses see :

Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1894
Founder Emile Delahaye
Defunct 1954
Headquarters Tours (France)
Products Cars

Delahaye automobile was an automotive manufacturing company founded by Emile Delahaye in 1894, in Tours, France, his home town. His first cars were belt-driven, with single- or twin-cylinder engines mounted at the rear. His Type One was an instant success, and he urgently needed investment capital and a larger manufacturing facility. Both were provided by a new Delahaye owner and fellow racer, George Morane, and his brother-in-law Leon Desmarais, who partnered with Emile in the incorporation of the new automotive company, “Societe Des Automobiles Delahaye”, in 1898. All three worked with the foundry workers to assemble the new machines, but middle-aged Emile was not in good health. In January 1901, he found himself unable to capably continue, and resigned, selling his shares to his two equal partners. Emile Delahaye died soon after, in 1905. Delahaye had hired two instrumental men, Charles Weiffenbach and Amadee Varlet in 1898, to assist the three partners. Both were graduate mechanical engineers, and they remained with Delahaye their entire working careers. Weiffenbach was appointed Manager of Operations, and, with the blessing of both George Morane and Leon Desmarais, assumed control over all of Delahaye’s operations and much of its decision-making, in 1906. Amadee Varlet was the company’s design-engineer, with a number of innovative inventions to his credit, generated between 1905 and 1914, which Delahaye patented. These included the twin-cam multi-valve engine, and the V6 configuration. Varlet continued in this role until he eventually took over the Drawing Office, at 76 years of age, when much younger Jean Francois was hired in 1932 as chief design-engineer. In 1932, Varlet was instructed by Weiffenbach, under direction from majority shareholder Madam Desmarais, Leon Desmarais’ widow, to set up the company’s Racing Department, assisted by Jean Francois. <Club Delahaye archive>. Those who knew him well at the factory affectionately referred to Charles Weiffenbach as “Monsieur Charles”.


Delahaye 135 MS Pourtout cabriolet

Delahaye began experimenting with belt-driven cars while manager of the Brethon Foundry and Machine-works in Tours, in 1894. These experiments encouraged an entry in the 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris race, held between 24 September-3 October 1896, fielding one car for himself and one for sportsman Ernest Archdeacon. The winning Panhard averaged 15.7 mph (25.3 km/h); Archdeacon came sixth, averaging 14 mph (23 km/h), while Delahaye himself was eighth, averaging 12.5 mph (20.1 km/h).

For the 1897 Paris-Dieppe, the 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) four-cylinder Delahayes ran in four- and six-seater classes, with a full complement of passengers. Archdeacon was third in the four-seaters behind a De Dion-Bouton and a Panhard, Courtois winning the six-seater class, ahead of the only other car in the class.

In March 1898, 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) the Delahayes of Georges Morane and Courtois came sixteenth and twenty-eighth at the Marseilles-Nice rally, while at the Course de Perigeux in May, De Solages finished sixth in a field of ten. The July Paris-Amsterdam-Paris earned a satisfying class win for Giver in his Delahaye; the overall win went to Panhard.

Soon after the new company was formed in 1898, the firm moved its manufacturing from Tours to Paris, into its new factory (a former hydraulic machinery plant that Morane and his brother-in-law Leon Desmarais had inherited from Morane’s father). Charles Weiffenbach was named Operations Manager. Delahaye would produce three models there, until the close of the 19th century: two twins, the 2.2-litre 4.5 hp (3.4 kW; 4.6 PS) Type 1 and 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) Type 2, and the lighter Type 0 (which proved capable of up to 22 mph (35 km/h)), with a 1.4-liter single rated between 5 and 7 hp (3.7 and 5.2 kW; 5.1 and 7.1 PS). All three had bicycle-style steering, water-cooled engines mounted in the rear, automatic valves, surface carburetors, and trembler coil ignition; drive was a combination of belt and chain, with three forward speeds and one reverse.

In 1899, Archdeacon piloted an 8 hp (6.0 kW; 8.1 PS) racer in the Nice-Castellane-Nice rally, coming eighth, while teammate Buissot’s 8 hp (6.0 kW; 8.1 PS) was twelfth.

Founder Emile Delahaye retired in 1901, leaving Desmarais and Morane in control; Weiffenbach took over from them in 1906. Delahaye’s racing days were over with Emile Delahaye’s death. Charles Weiffenbach had no interest in racing, and focused his production on responsible motorized automotive chassis, heavy commercial vehicles, and early firetrucks for the French government. Race-cars had become a thing of the past for Delahaye, until 1933, when Madam Desmarais caused her company to change direction a hundred-and-eighty degree, and return to racing.

The new 10B debuted in 1902. It had a 2,199 cc (134.2 cu in) (100 by 140 mm (3.9 by 5.5 in)) vertical twin rated 12/14 hp by RAC, mounted in front, with removable cylinder head, steering wheel (rather than bicycle handles or tiller), and chain drive. Delahaye also entered the Paris-Vienna rally with a 16 hp (12 kW; 16 PS) four; Pirmez was thirty-seventh in the voiturette class. At the same year’s Ardennes event, Perrin’s 16 hp (12 kW; 16 PS) four came tenth.

Also in 1902, the singles and twins ceased to be offered except as light vans; before production ceased in 1904, about 850 had been built.

Delahaye’s first production four, the Type 13B, with 24/27 hp 4.4-litre, appeared in 1903. The model range expanded in 1904, including the 4.9-litre 28 hp (21 kW; 28 PS) four-cylinder Type 21, the mid-priced Type 16, and the two-cylinder Type 15B. These were joined in 1905 by a chain-driven 8-litre luxury model, one of which was purchased by King Alfonso.

All 1907 models featured half-elliptic springs at the rear as well as transverse leaf springs, and while shaft drive appeared that year, chain drive was retained on luxury models until 1911. In 1908, the Type 32 was the company’s first to offer an L-head monoblock engine.

Protos began licence production of Delahayes in Germany in 1907, while in 1909, h. M. Hobson began importing Delahayes to Britain. Also in 1909, White pirated the Delahaye design; the First World War interrupted any efforts to recover damages.

Delahaye invented and pioneered the V6 engine in 1911, with a 30° 3.2-litre twin-cam, in the Type 44; the invention is credited to Amadee Varlet, Delahaye’s chief design-engineer at the time. The Type 44 was not a success and production stopped in 1914. It had been designed by Amadee Varlet, who had joined Delahaye at the same time that Charles Weiffenback was hired by Emile Delahaye, in 1898. The Type 44 was the only V-6 engine ever made by Delahaye, and it was the last time the company used a twin-cam engine.

Delahaye engineer Amadee Varlet designed the Delahaye “Titan” marine engine, an enormous cast-iron four cylinder engine that was fitted into purpose-built speedboat “La Dubonnet” which briefly held the World Speed Record on Water. With the ‘Titan’ Amadee Varlet had invented the multi-valve twin-cam engine in 1905, the same year that Emile Delahaye died.

At the Paris factory, Delahaye continued to manufacture cars, trucks, and a few buses. By the end of World War I, their major income was from their truck business that included France’s firetrucks.

After the war, Delahaye switched to a modest form of assembly line production, following the example of Ford, hampered by the “extensive and not particularly standardized range” of cars for Chenard et Walker, and itself, and farm machines for the FAR Tractor Company. The collaboration with FAR Tractor Company and Chenard-Walcker did not last long. This continued until continually reduced sales volume made a change necessary, for the company to survive. It has been alleged that Monsieur Charles met with his friend, competitor Ettore Bugatti, to seek his opinion on turning Delahaye around. Whether or not this meeting actually occurred, it is on record that Madam Leon Desmarais, the majority shareholder and Leon Desmarais’ widow, instructed Charles Weiffenbach to come up with a new higher quality automotive-chassis line with vastly improved horsepower, and re-establish a racing department. That pivotal decision was made in 1932, the year that Jean Francois was hired. By 1933, Delahaye was back in the racing game, and promptly went about winning events and setting records.

At the 1933 Paris Salon, Delahaye showed the Superluxe, with a 3.2-litre six, transverse independent front suspension, and Cotal preselector or synchromesh-equipped manual transmission. It would be accompanied in the model range by a 2,150 cc (131 cu in) four (essentially a cut-down six), and a sporting variant, the 18 Sport.

In 1934, Delahaye set eighteen class records at Montlhéry, in a specially-prepared, stripped and streamlined 18 Sport. They also introduced the 134N, a 12cv car with a 2.15-litre four-cylinder engine, and the 18cv Type 138, powered by a 3.2-litre six — both engines derived from their successful truck engines. In 1935, success in the Alpine Trial led to the introduction of the sporting Type 135 “Coupe des Alpes”. By the end of 1935, Delahaye had won eighteen minor French sports car events and a number of hill-climbs, and came fifth at Le Mans.

Racing success brought success to their car business as well, enough for Delahaye to buy Delage in 1935. Delage cars continued in production from 1935 to 1951, and were finally superseded by the Type 235, a modestly updated 135. The truck business continued to thrive. Some of the great coachbuilders who provided bodies for Delahayes include Figoni et Falaschi, Chapron, and Letourneur et Marchand, and Joseph Saoutchik, as well as Guillore, Faget-Varlet, Pourtout, and a few others less well known.

Delahaye ran four 160 hp (120 kW; 160 PS) cars (based on the Type 135) in the 1936 Ulster TT, placing second to Bugatti, and entered four at the Belgian 24 Hours, coming 2-3-4-5 behind an Alfa Romeo.

American heiress Lucy O’Reilly Schell approached the company with an offer to pay the development costs to build short “Competition Court” 2.70- metre wheelbase Type 135 cars to her specifications for rallying. Sixteen were produced, most having been uniformly bodied by “Lacanu” a small coachbuilding firm owned and operated by Olivier Lecanu-Deschamps. Joseph Figoni also bodied one of these chassis. Lecanu could respond quickly, build economically, and was favored by Delahaye for its race-cars. All four Type 145 race-cars were bodied by Lecanu, to a weirdly homely design by Jean Francois. Lecanu both designed and built the last of the four Type 145 bodies, this one on chassis 48775.

In 1937, René Le Bègue and Julio Quinlin won the Monte Carlo Rally driving a Delahaye. Delahaye also ran first and second at Le Mans. Against the government-sponsored juggernauts Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, Delahaye brought out the Type 145, powered by a new, complicated 4½-liter V12 with three camshafts located in the block, with pushrod-actuated valves and four overhead rocker-shafts, dual Bosch magneto ignition, and triple Stromberg carburettors. Called “Million Franc Delahaye” after a victory in the Million Franc Race, the initial Type 145, chassis 48771, was driven by René Dreyfus to an average speed 91.07 mph (146.56 km/h) over 200 kilometres (120 mi) at Montlhéry in 1937, earning a Fr200,000 prize from the government. Dreyfus also scored a victory in the Ecurie Bleu Type 145, again number 48771 at Pau, relying on superior fuel economy to beat the more powerful Mercedes-Benz W154, in 1938. Third place in the same race was claimed by Gianfranco Comotti, driving Delahaye Type 145 number 48775. Dreyfus brought his Type 145 number 48771 to its second grand-prix win at Cork, in Ireland, but the German teams had boycotted this event, being another between-the-houses race where they could not exploit their superior power. Type 135s also won the Paris-Nice and Monte Carlo Rallys, and LeMans, that year, while a V12 model (Type 145 number 48773) was fourth in the Mille Miglia. These victories combined with French patriotism to create a wave of demand for Delahaye cars, up until the German occupation of France during World War II. The Type 145 was also the basis for five grand-touring Type 165s, three of which exist today. The other two were demolished during the second World War.

In early 1940, one hundred Type 134N and Type 168 chassis were built (Renault-bodied) as military cars under contract for the French army. The government had ordered private sales to cease in June, 1939, but small numbers of cars continued to be built for the occupying German forces until at least 1942.

After the Second World War

After World War II, the depressed French economy and an increasingly punitive luxury tax regime aimed at luxurious non-essential products, and cars with engines above 2-litres, made life difficult for luxury auto-makers. Like all the principal French automakers, Delahaye complied with government requirements in allocating the majority of its vehicles for export, and in 1947 88% of Delahaye production was exported (compared to 87% of Peugeot and 80% of Talbot output), primarily to French colonies, including those in Africa. Nevertheless, Delahaye volumes, with 573 cars produced in 1948 (against 34,164 by market-leader Citroën), were unsustainably low.

Production of the Type 135 was resumed, with new styling by Philippe Charbonneaux. The Type 175, with a 4.5-litre inline overhead-valve six, was introduced in 1948; this, and the related Type 178 and 180, proved unsuccessful. The Type 175, 178 and 180 were replaced by the Type 235 in 1951, with an up-rated 135 engine producing 152 hp (113 kW; 154 PS).

Until the early 1950s, a continuing demand for military vehicles enabled the company to operate at reasonable albeit low volumes, primarily thanks to demand for the Type 163 trucks, sufficient to keep the business afloat.

A 1-ton capacity light truck sharing its 3.5-litre six-cylinder overhead-valve engine with the company’s luxury cars (albeit with lowered compression ratio and reduced power output) made its debut at the 1949 Paris Motor Show. During the next twelve months, this vehicle, the Type 171, spawned several brake-bodied versions, the most interesting of which were the ambulance and 9-seater familiale variant. The vehicle’s large wheels and high ground clearance suggest it was targeted at markets where many roads were largely dust and mud, and the 171 was, like the contemporary Renault Colorale which it in some respects resembled, intended for use in France’s African colonies. The vehicle also enjoyed some export success in Brazil, and by 1952 the Type 171 was being produced at the rate of approximately 30 per month.

As passenger car sales slowed further, the last new model, a 2.0-litre jeep-like vehicle known as VLRD (Véhicule Léger de Reconnaissance (Delahaye)), sometimes known as the VRD, or VLR, was released in 1951. The French army believed that this vehicle offered a number of advantages over the “traditional” American built jeep of the period. It was in 1951 that Delahaye discontinued production of the Types 175, 178 and 180. During 1953 the company shipped 1,847 VRDs as well as 537 “special” military vehicles: the number of Delahaye- or Delage-badged passenger cars registered in the same year was in that context near negligible, at 36.

Financial difficulties created by an acute shortage of wealthy car buyers intensified. Delahaye’s main competitor, Hotchkiss, managed to negotiate a licensing agreement with American Motors, and obtained sanction to manufacture its Willys MB Jeep in France. The French army had learned to appreciate the simpler machine, available at a much lower price, and cancelled Delahaye’s contract for the more sophisticated VLR reconnaissance vehicle, dealing a hard blow to Delahaye. In August 1953 the company laid off more than 200 workers and salaried employees. Rumours of management discussions with Hotchkiss over some sort of coming together proved well founded. Hotchkiss were struggling with the same problems, but it was hoped that the two businesses might prove more resilient together than separately, and an agreement was signed by the two company presidents, Pierre Peigney for Delahaye and Paul Richard for Hotchkiss, on 19 March 1954. Delahaye shareholders agreed to the protocol, which amounted to a take over of Delahaye by Hotchkiss, less than three months later, on 9 June. Hotchkiss shut down Delahaye car production. By the end of 1954, for a brief period selling trucks with the Hotchkiss-Delahaye nameplate, the combined firm was itself taken over by Brandt, and by 1955, Delahaye and Hotchkiss were out of the automotive chassis business altogether, having their facilities absorbed by the giant Brandt organization with its own objectives for its captives’ assets. By 1956, the brands Delahaye, Delage, and Hotchkiss had forever disappeared.


1899 Delahaye 0910

1899 built vehicle in 2006
1936 1937 1938 Delage DI-12 (Delahaye 134) France Car Photo Spec Sheet Info CARD 1936 Delahaye 134N Berline Autobineau at Monthléry 1938 Delahaye 134 N Chapron Delahaye 1939 134 G Berline Delahaye 1939 134 GDelahaye 134 – 1933-40

1935 Delahaye 135 roadster 1935-1936 Delahaye 135 Coupe des Alpes Car Photo Spec Sheet Stat French Card 1935-1950 Delahaye 135 Competition Le Mans Race Car 1935-1952 Delahaye 135 (1936 Coupe des Alpes) Car Photo Spec Sheet French Card 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Court by Figoni & Falaschi 1936 Delahaye 135 DS Cabrio DV PBC 04 1936 Delahaye 135M Figoni & Falaschi Competition Coupe 1936 Franay Delahaye 135 Convertible 1936-1954 Delahaye 135 Convertible France Luxury Car Photo Spec Sheet Info CARD 1936-1954 Delahaye 135 MS (1948) Henri Chapron Car Photo Spec Sheet Info CARD

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1937 Delahaye 135M Figoni et Falaschi Torpedo Cabriolet 1937 Delahaye 135M Figoni 1937 Delahaye 135MS Competition 1937 Delahaye 135MS 1937, Delahaye 135M Saoutchik Cabriolet 1938 Delahaye 135 MS Competition Cabriolet by Figoni 1938 Delahaye 135m ad 1938 Delahaye Type 135M W-COA b 1939 Delahaye 135 M Drophead Coupe, Body by Chapron 1946 Delahaye 135 Guillore Break de Chasse 1946 DELAHAYE Cabriolet PININFARINA Design Car Rare Art Print a 1947 Delahaye 135 MS Cabriolet par Franay - 1947 1947 Delahaye 135 MS ChapronDelahaye 135 – 1935-54

 Delahaye 138 only 300 Lucy O’Riley Schell with the very first Delahaye 138 Sport, probably coach-built in a clumsy way by the small Delahaye racing department workshop.Right This was Lucy's favourite, coach-built by Figoni, a very elegant and fast roadster.
Delahaye 168 – 1938-40
1947 DELAHAYE 175 COUPE - 1953 CHRYSLER THOMAS SPECIAL 1947 Delahaye 175 1947 Delahaye 175S Aerodynamic Coupe 1947 DELAHAYE TYPE 175S AERODYNAMIQUE Dream Cars CARD 1947 Delahaye Type 175S, Imperial Palace Co. LV, Car Trading Card - Not Postcard
1949 Delahaye 175S Roadster 1947 Delahaye 175S competition version Delahaye 175-175-180 Promo Poster 1949 Delahaye Type 175 Roadster Delahaye 175 Roadster 1949 Delahaye Type 175 Saoutchik Coupe de Ville c 1951 Delahaye 175S Franay 1949 DELAHAYE TYPE 175 SAOUTCHIK COUPE DE VILLE b 1949 Delahaye Type 175S coachwork by Saoutchik Delahaye 175S roadster bugnotti top
Delahaye 175 – 1948-51
1949 Delahaye 178 Drophead Coupé, once owned by Elton John.
delahaye 178 chapron 07 delahaye 178 chapron 05 delahaye 178 chapron 10