The Delage Automobile Company was established in 1905 in Levallois, a suburb of Paris, France by Louis Delâge. Delâge was a young ambitious engineer who had previously been employed for the Peugeot car company. The company was originally an assembly plant that acquired engines and drive trains from other manufacturers to use along with their own body designs that were purchased from others.
The Delage Automobile Company became a very formidable force in the area of pre-war voiturette racing. Delage focused on Inline-8 and V12 power-plants and won various events that included the Coupes de L'Ato, along with Voiturette races at both Dieppe and Boulogue. These vehicles carried race-bred engineering and robust chassis' that were a tribute to the marques racing heritage.
In 1907 Delage moved his company to Baudin Street in Levallois, as the workshop was becoming too small and orders were pouring in.
From the start, Delage entered his vehicles and in motor races and never stopped. In 1908 the company found success in competing in Grand Prix motor racing, and operation in new production facilities. Delage owned a 400m2 factory in ‘08, and in the same year he won the '500 km Dieppe Grand Prix', with an average speed of 50 miles per hour. By 1909 the Delage Company became making their own engines along with fabricating advanced body designs. Michelat, considered a prominent car engineer joined the company this year, and François Repusseau was in charge of building the bodies.
The workshop was flooded by the Seine River in 1910, so the Delage Automobile Company was moved yet again, this time to Verdun Boulevard in Courbevoi in 1912. Up until World War I in 1914, Delage vehicles were winning lucrative races. At this time the new factory in Courbevoie was converted into military production.
In 1911, Michelat designed the X type, which won the 'Coupe de l'Auto' at Boulogne. Following the war, the Delage Auto Company continued to prosper as racing orientation was increased, and Delage turned producing high quality touring and luxury saloon vehicles moved by six cylinder engines. The original Delage vehicle was the 1918 CO type, which came with a 20 HP 4524 cc six cylinder engine. In 1921 this merged into the CO2 type, which was the first vehicle with front brakes.
Unfortunately, the Great Depression of the 1930's had a very negative effect on the Delage Company and the company went into voluntary liquidation in 1935. The Courbevoie plant was closed and all of its contents were sold. The Delahaye automobile company negotiated a license to manufacture vehicles under the Delage name, and models continued to be produced until 1953 when the company went out of business.
Always envisioning beautiful vehicles to design, Delage constructed the D8 in 1929 with a 4061cc 8 in – line engine that eventually became the D 8 – S (sport). The D8 was built with very little regard for expense, and marked the top end of the Delage vehicles. The coachwork of the D8 was done by famous builders such as Figoni et Falaschi, Letourner and Chapron. Due to the short length of the chassis, only a two-seater D8 coachwork could be fabricated.By Jessica Donaldson