1933 Delage D8S

History

It is believed that there were 99 examples of the D8S constructed from 1931 through 1933. These were highly sought-after high-performance machines that were stylish and elegant.

The D8S was built on a conventional chassis with half-elliptic springs on all four corners. The brakes were cable operated. The true genius of the vehicle lay under the long and graceful bonnet - the eight-cylinder power-plant which was capable of carrying the cars of speeds around 100 mph.

The D8S was followed by the D8SS which brought with it further improvements and enhancements. The chassis was dropped by more than three inches which aided greatly in the vehicles handling. They were available on a shorter wheelbase, though only a few chose this option. Those that did got a vehicle that was very sport, lightweight, and nimble. Horsepower on the D8SS rose from 120 to 145.

The D8S and D8SS were constructed during a very difficult point in history. The Great Depression was bringing an end to many marques. Those who did survive had found a way to corner the market, often offering low cost vehicles or offering vehicles with many amenities to attract new buyers. Introducing an eight-cylinder engine at this time was thought to be foolish, yet Louis Delage found a way to make it work. Though, this would be short lived as the company entered liquidation in the mid 1930s and was purchased by its rival, Delahaye.


By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2007
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

1933 Vehicle Profiles

1933 Delage D8S vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: deVillars

Chassis Num: 38012

This 1933 Delage D8S Coupe Roadster by deVillars was the 1934 Paris Show Car. It was featured in numerous publications at the time, including the prestigious Vu magazine with images and a statement describing it as 'triumphant in any concours d'Elega....[continue reading]

1933 Delage D8S vehicle information

Coupe
Coachwork: Freestone & Webb

Chassis Num: 38220

The origins of the famous saying 'One drives an Alfa Romeo, is driven in a Rolls-Royce, but gives only a Delage to his favorite mistress' remains unknown. The company's slogan, however, was 'The Car with a Reputation' and 'Gained by Performance.' ....[continue reading]

1933 Delage D8S vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Pourtout

Chassis Num: 38237

In 19113, a Delage won the Indianapolis 500. In 1923 it held the land speed record. A few years later, in 1927, it swept the Grand Prix Championship for Makers, the forerunner to modern Formula 1. ....[continue reading]

1933 Delage D8S vehicle information

Conduite Interieur Coupe

Chassis Num: 38186

Louis Delage founded the Delage Company in 1905 and commenced production with a single-cylinder DeDion-engined runabout. Within a few years, they were offering multi-cylinder designs. Right from the start, Delage was involved in racing. A single-cyli....[continue reading]

Roadster by deVillars
Chassis #: 38012 
Coupe by Freestone & Webb
Chassis #: 38220 
Cabriolet by Pourtout
Chassis #: 38237 
Conduite Interieur Coupe
Chassis #: 38186 




Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Delage
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)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)

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