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Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
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-liter engine, the only car the company ever built to that specification. The design is totally unique and arguably one of the purest of line and most aerodynamic of the pre-war era. It is four-place and has a sizeable trunk with the original fitted luggage. The windshield is not only curved, revolutionary technology for the period, but also appears to be a single ribbon of glass from the rear around the front to the other side. The straight-eight D8-120 engine is largely aluminum, with three carburetors and develops about 160 horsepower. The transmission is a four-speed Cotal electromagnetic unit, and the car is a joy to drive comfortably at speeds up to 100 mph.
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.
Georges Paulin was the chief stylist for Pourtout, and he accepted the challenge. He was also at work on the aerodynamic Embirlcos Bentley, and there are marked similarities between the two cars.
Upon its introduction, this Delage was lauded by the press. It was immediately recognized for being a milestone in streamlined styling.
Built on the D8-120 S chassis the automobile's suspension was lower than standard, adding to the drama of Paulin's design, which was simple and balanced. He used no chrome, no fancy accents, preferring instead to have the pure lines of the car speak for themselves. The lines and curves are all continuous. Nothing is allowed to stand out in a way that might detract from the overall effect, with everything tapering to the tail. Even the traditional Delage radiator tilts back into the body to create a more graceful profile.
The body shape was tested in a wind tunnel in France to ensure that it was aerodynamic.
The body was produced in aluminum, so the car is lightweight and the engine size was increased to 4,750 cc (up from the standard 4,300 cc). So the car definitely has power.
Of course, such things come with a price. The coachwork alone cost $30,000 French francs.
Delage liked the car so much that he kept it and used it for himself.