1937 Delage D8 120 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Aerosport Coupe
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand
Chassis Num: 50789
Engine Num: 812041
Vin Num: DEL5078937
Sold for $825,000 at 2009 RM Auctions.
In 1936, the Delage D8-120 was introduced. It was given a modified Delahaye chassis and featured an advanced independent suspension in the front with a transverse leaf spring. Power was basically a Delahaye 135M six-cylinder unit, with the addition of two cylinders. The resulting displacement was 4.3-liters and horsepower was rated at 95. It would quickly grow in size and in power output to 4744cc and 115 horsepower. The D8-120 weighed approximately 3,700 pounds, meaning its eight-cylinder engine provided enough power and torque to propel it to speeds approaching 95 miles per hour. Many of Europe's leading coach builders were tasked with building designs atop the chassis. The short list of artisans includes Saoutchik, Chapron, Portout, and Letourner et Marchand being the most notable among them.

Letourner et Marchand built the elegant Aérosport coupes which have been considered by many to be the most attractive of these creations. It is believed that fewer than twenty were created, likely fourteen, built in two styles - the sporty fastback, and the elegant notchback coupe, referred to as Style 5677.

Marcel Letourner was the individual responsible for creating the design of the Aerosport bodies and is considered to be one of the greatest French designers of the 1930s. The coupes had long hoods, flowing fenders, and a unique pillarless design.

Production of the D8-120 last from 1936 through 1939. The D8-120 created such a sensation that it was invited to join the French government's automotive display at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

This example is chassis number 50789. It is believed to be the sole surviving example of approximately ten cars that were originally built with the notchback coupe body. The early history is mostly unknown. What is know is that it was sold new in France. Following World War II, it went to Australia where, after time, it fell into a state of disrepair - although complete. It had been involved in a front-end accident, and its fenders were replaced with incorrect ones from another car.

Richard Scott of Sidney, Ohio, discovered and purchased the car. It was shipped to the United States and treated to a restoration in preparation of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It was entered in the 2006 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours, where it earned a Second Place Award for European Classic 1925-1939 Closed automobiles.

In 2009, this very rare and elegant car was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. The lot was estimated to sell for 1,000,000 - $1,500,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $825,000 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2010
Aero Coupe
Coachwork: Pourtout
Designer: Georges Paulin
Chassis Num: 51620
The Delage was designed by Georges Pauin and built by the coach-builder Pourtout for Louis Delage's personal use, and very much to his careful design specifications. It is an experimental chassis, very low, ('surbaisse' in French) and features a 4.7  [Read More...]
Louis Delage was born in 1874 in Cognac, south of France. His family had a modest income which allowed for him to attend and graduate from the Ecole des Arts et Metiers in Angers in 1893. He then moved to Paris and began working with the Turgan-Foy company. Later he accepted a position with Peugeot. He left soon after to start his own company. Louis Delage began designing and building cars in 1905 with Augustin Legros as his chief engineer. Legros had left Peugeot with Delage and stayed with the company until 1935. The company focused on building cars that were of high quality and reliability. Their first cars were produced in 1906, and called the Type A and B. The cars were powered by a single cylinder de Dion engines producing about 6-7 horsepower.

Louis Delage was a very ambitious man. He had a passion for racing and a competitive edge that led him to produce some of the greatest sports cars of the era. In 1906 he participated in the Coupe des Voiturettes and was awarded a second place finish. This accomplished fueled sales. In 1908 he had three cars entered in the Coupe des Voiturettes race where their achieved a fist place victory.

In 1909 Delage moved away from the de Dion engines and began using their own 4-cylinder engine. However, some of the models they produced did use engines produced by the famous engine supplier, Ballot.

Throughout the years, Delage had many successes in the racing arena. Sadly, it was not enough. In 1935, their fortunes change. The company closed due to bankruptcy and was bought by Walter Watney, the owner of used Delage car dealerships in Paris. A machine tool company purchased the main factory in Courdevoie. Delahaye, another famous automobile manufacture of the time, bought the rights to manufacture cars under the Delage name.

The D8 120 was outfitted with coachwork done by famous coachbuilders such as Chapron, Pourtout, and Letourner et Marchand. At the front was a very larger and imposing radiator. Hidden underneath the hood was a powerful, eight cylinder engine that gave this vehicle a reputation as being a fast, high-performance automobile.

This D8 120 was built after the merger with Delahaye. Even though it retained its Delage styling, there are Delahaye influences. A Delahaye-style chassis was used that included a transverse-leaf independent front suspension and a Cotal electromagnetic gearbox.

The Aerosport was the highlight of the D8 line-up. It was designed by Marcel Letourner, the son of Letourner. In 1939, the design was selected to represent part of the French government's automotive display at the World's Fair in New York.

The vehicle displayed here, chassis number 51018, was the fourth Aerosport built. It was sold for $501,000 at Christies Tarrytown, New York action on April of 2000.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
Deltasport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron
Chassis Num: 51629
Engine Num: 5454
Sold for $770,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company.
In 1906, Louis Delage constructed his first voiturette and by 1908, his light cars were winning races. By 1914, the vehicle had adopted such advanced technology as twin-overhead camshaft engines and four-wheel brakes.   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2013
Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Henri Chapron
Chassis Num: 51624
Sold for $605,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
It is believed that this Delage was originally delivered to a French actress in September of 1937. After World War II, the car was in the care of British ownership where it remained until the 1960s, at which time it was exported to the United States.  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
Aerosport Coupe
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand
Delage was at its best in the late 1920s and early 1930 producing elegant automobiles for a wealthy clientele. Its success stemmed in part from the fact that the marque's 1.5-liter car won the Grand Prix Championship in 1927. By 1935 automakers world  [Read More...]
Aero Coupe
Coachwork: Pourtout
Designer: Georges Paulin
Chassis Num: 51620
It was Delage founder Louis Delage who asked Marcel Pourtout to build this high-speed aerodynamic prototype (chassis 51620) for the 1937 Paris Auto Salon.  [Read More...]
Aerosport Coupe
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand
In the late 1930s Letourneur et Marchard of Paris built a series of aerodynamic 'coaches profiles' that pushed the typically French pillarless style to its aesthetic limits. The Delage Company was unable to weather the economic storm of the early 1930s, and its demise in 1935 led to the amalgamation of Delahaye and Delage in 1936. The new company brought out the first D8-120 wîth two cylinders added to the Delahaye 135MS straight-6 engine, bringing the capacity to 4.3-liters. Most of the D8-120s were built on a longer chassis and were very stylish for the period and were owned by the rich and glamorous.

This is one of ten Aerosport coupes built by Letourneur & Marchand on the eight-cylinder Delage chassis. Though all were slightly different, they shared pillar-less styling and Vue Panoramic windows for greater visibility. Discovered in a barn in France during the early 1990s, this Delage received a meticulous restoration and is painted in its original colors.

Source - Peterson Museum
Louis Delage was born in 1874 and was handicapped by blindness in one eye. This handicap would not hinder him at all in creating some of the most elegant and beautiful creations of the pre-WWII era, and into the early 1950s. He acquired his engineering abilities while working for Peugeot. He worked with the company until 1905, when he left to build cars bearing his own name.

Delage had a strong loyalty to France, and he endeavored to build cars that would bring honor to his country. He began racing in 1906 and acquired some success. By 1913, he had constructed a worthy racing machine to claim the Grand Prix de France. His racing machines continued to evolve. In 1914, they featured double overhead camshafts and brakes on all four wheels.

Rene Thomas drove a Delage in the 1914 Indianapolis 500 where he emerged victorious. In 1924, he set a land speed record at just over 143 mph.

During World War I, the newly built factory in Courbevoie was used for the production of military items.

During the mid-1920s, the Delage cars were powered by eight-cylinder engine displacing 1.5-liters. In 1927, Robert Benoist drove a Delage with an inline-eight cylinder engine to a victory at the Grand Prix de France, Spanish Grand Prix, British Grand Prix at Brooklands, and the Grand Prix de l'Europe at Monza. After this brilliant accomplishment, Delage announced his retirement from racing.

Delage had left the sport on a high-note, but there were troubled times in its future. The Great Depression rattled many industries, including the automotive world. By 1935, Delage had felt the strains of this painful time in history, and was forced to enter liquidation. A Delage dealer named Walter Watney purchased the company's assets. This proved to be a pipe-dream for Watney, and soon was looking for aid from an automotive partner who could help bear the costs of engineering, development and manufacturing. Luckily, he found the assistance he was searching for - at Delahaye. An agreement was reached which allowed the Delage name to continue.

The first new product from this union was the D8-120. Mounted in the long, graceful bonnets were an eight-cylinder engine. The engine was basically a Delahye 135MS six with two additional cylinders. Some of Europe's greatest coachbuilders were tasked with creating designs for the chassis. The list includes Saoutchik, Chapron, Pourtout, and Letourner et Marchand.

The Delage D8's were very impressive automobiles that had style and glamour in a high-performance package. Though the economy disparity of the time begged Delage to move down market, the company refused, and continued to produce their high-priced machines.

The Delage D8-120 had hydraulic brakes, Cotal electromagnet gearbox, and a suspension comprised of transverse leaf springs in the front. The 4.3-liter eight-cylinder engine was capable of producing nearly 100 horsepower in unmodified guise.

The Delage D8-100 was a long-wheel base version of the short-wheelbase D8-120. Both the D8-100 and D-120 were built as a conventional rolling chassis and supplied to the coachbuilders for completion. The coachbuilders would often construct the final product to the exact specifications and requirements supplied by the customer. Because of this, many of the vehicles and their specifications vary considerably. Prior to World War II, around 100 examples were created.

Production of the Delage vehicles continued until 1953.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2010
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