Delage D8-120 photo

1939 Delage D8-120

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 | Oct 2005

Related Reading : Delage D8 History

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....
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1939 Vehicle Profiles

1939 Delage D8-120 vehicle information

Coupe
Coachwork: Vanvooren

Chassis Num: 51618

Louis Delage was born in 1874 in the Cognac region of France. His initial foray into the automotive industry was with Peugeot, however it was not long before he left there to open a company of his own. Delage had a passion for racing. He entered earl....[continue reading]

1939 Delage D8-120 vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

Chassis Num: 51980

This luxurious cabriolet, bodied by master coachbuilder Henri Chapron, has at its base one of the last of the D8-120 series chassis to be built before World War II ended production. The chassis (51980) was built in 1939, but it remained unsold and wa....[continue reading]

1939 Delage D8-120 vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

This late model Delage D8-120 has a 4.3-liter, eight-cylinder engine on the short wheelbase Delahaye 135 chassis. The Delage and Delahaye companies had merged in 1935 and therefore shared many components. Their chassis attracted the latest styles of ....[continue reading]

1939 Delage D8-120 vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

Chassis Num: 51760

Henri Chapron built this cabriolet on the second series of the D8-120, which had a lower and lighter chassis than its predecessor. The D8-120 has an inline, 8-cylinder, 4.5-liter engine with overhead valves mated to the 4-speed Cotal electronic gearb....[continue reading]

Coupe by Vanvooren
Chassis #: 51618 
Cabriolet by Henri Chapron
Chassis #: 51980 
Cabriolet by Henri Chapron
 
Cabriolet by Henri Chapron
Chassis #: 51760 


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Model Year Production

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1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)

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