This 1936 Delage D8-120 Aerosport Coupe carries chassis number 51012, has an eight-cylinder engine with 105 horsepower on tap, a Cotal four-speed electromagnetically actuated transmission, and four-wheel drum brakes. It has a body designed by Letourneur & Marchand in aerodynamic and sporty form. It is the prototype example for the short run of bodies that would soon follow. In 1936 it was shown at the Salon de Paris, which opened on October 1st.
The D6 was introduced in 1930 and provided a wider range of buyers the opportunity to purchase a Delage. It had a six-cylinder engine and a sticker price that was more reasonable than some other cars in the marque's lineup. The four-cylinder D4 followed in 1933 which was another attempt to keep the marque afloat during the difficult Great Depression era.
As the years of Great Depression progressed, the struggle continued. Delage was forced to sell his showroom on the Champs Elysees and was left with limited funds for new product development. He turned to Peugeot but they were unwilling to offer assistance. A variety of refinancing efforts were tried but to no avail; in 1935 the company entered receivership. The assets were liquidated with many purchased by Walter Watney, the Paris distributor. He sold the manufacturing rights to Delahaye which resulted in a line of Delahaye vehicles wearing Delage badges, radiators, and hoods.
Engineer Jean Francois developed an eight-cylinder engine from the pushrod overhead valve Delahaye 138 and 135 sixes. It was placed in the D8-120 and quickly became the highlight of the Delage marque. The D8-100 was the long wheelbase version and the D8-120 was the shortened wheelbase version. The D8-120 was offered as a rolling chassis and supplied to coachbuilders to work their craft and create custom and unique creations to their exclusive and demanding clients. Before the commencement of the Second World War, around 100 examples were created.
This vehicle was offered for sale at the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. It is the prototype Salon Paris Show Car and has traveled just 36,000 kms since new. It is the last and only fully unrestored example in existence. Bidding was fierce on auction day, as the value continued to climb. As the gavel fell it found a new owner for the selling price of $1,705,000 including buyer's premium.Also photographed at :
Introduced in late 1929 and noted for its six-foot long hood and graceful sweeping fenders, the Delage D8 was among the most handsome cars of its era. The D8-120 was one of several later versions of this luxury car. This example is the prototype Aerosport Coupe, and was exhibited at the 1937 Paris Salon on the Delage stand, where it was purchased on the spot. Reaction to the car was so positive that six more were built. The car remained with the original owner until 1953, when it was sold to the Mashek Collection, where it remained until 2004. It has since been very sympathetically restored to its original colors and configuration.