Delage has to its credit many titles and records, including a double title Driver and Constructor in the World Championship of Grand Prix (before it was called “Formula 1”).
Delage also won more Concours d’Élégance, in the first half of the XXth century, than any other brand in the world.
Founded in 1905 by Louis Delage, the company commenced production with a single-cylinder De Dion-engined runabout, and within a few years, was offering multi-cylinder designs. Then, Delage offered more and more high-end cars, becoming one of the most prestigious brands in automotive history.
The publicity value of racing was recognized right from the start by Louis Delage. A single-cylinder Delage won the Coupe des Voiturettes as early as 1908. Then came the victories at Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500-mile race, which were achieved prior to WW1, followed by the Grand Prix World Championship title in 1927.
The company became a major force in racing in the 1920s and 1930s, setting several world land speed records.
Four-cylinder and six-cylinder cars formed the mainstay of Delage’s touring car production in the 1920s. Then, at the 1929 Paris Salon, Delage launched the magnificent 4-liter D8 straight-eight, a model destined to attract the creative attentions of Europe’s finest coachbuilders: De Villars, Pourtout, Chapron, Letourneur & Marchand, Figoni & Falaschi, Fernandes & Darrin, to name the most famous.
Introduced for 1937, the D6-70 was powered by Delage’s own powerful 2,729cc overhead-valve ‘six’, which drove via a Cotal electrically operated four-speed gearbox. Both fast and durable, the D6-70 proved good enough to win the Tourist Trophy at Donington Park in 1938 and secure a brace of Le Mans 24-hour second places.
From getting records and racing titles, to being internationally acclaimed as “la voiture chic” or “la belle voiture française,” Delage has fascinated car enthusiasts for almost a half century, until its last production car in 1953.
The finest remaining Delage cars are still sold to collectors all over the world, sometimes for several million dollars, and fans are still numerous enough, 7 decades after the last Delage car was produced, to be organized in clubs in several countries…
Many books have been written on Delage. We particularly recommend the one by Daniel Cabart, Claude Rouxel, and David Burgess-Wise, which is very comprehensive and titled « Delage: France’s Finest Car » in two parts.