1937 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 | Dec 2008

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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1937 Vehicle Profiles

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

Aerosport Coupe
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand

Chassis Num: 50789
Engine Num: 812041
Vin Num: DEL5078937

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 o....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

Aero Coupe
Coachwork: Pourtout
Designer: Georges Paulin

Chassis Num: 51620

The Delage was designed by Georges Paulin 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....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

Deltasport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

Chassis Num: 51629
Engine Num: 5454

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. ....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Henri Chapron

Chassis Num: 51624

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.....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

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....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

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 193....[continue reading]

1937 Delage D8 120 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: deVillars

This D8-120 was built by the coachbuilding firm of de Villars. It is a flamboyant design which reflects both the industrialization of Europe as well as the Art Deco era.....[continue reading]

Aerosport Coupe
Chassis #: 50789 
Aero Coupe by Pourtout
Chassis #: 51620 
Deltasport Cabriolet by Henri Chapron
Chassis #: 51629 
Drop Head Coupe by Henri Chapron
Chassis #: 51624 
Aerosport Coupe
 
Aerosport Coupe
 
Roadster by deVillars
 


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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Delage
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)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)

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