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.
After the Delahaye take-over in 1935 the Delages were constructed to Delahaye designs while retaining their own short-stroke engines and hydraulic brakes. In 1937 the D6-70 was introduced featuring Delage’s powerful 2729cc overhead-valve six-cylinder engine and mated to a Cotal electrically operated four-speed gearbox.
The Delage D6-70s in production trim were raced with much success beginning in early 1937. With strong finishes at the Rallye Monte Carlo, Mille Miglia and Rallye du Maroc, the Delage’s earned a reputation for their speed and durability.
It is not so often a car such as a Delage D6-3L not seen for sale for more than 6 years is offered to us. When such a car is in near concourse condition matched with a stunning colour combination of Circassan blue with perfect cream leather interior, it was a simple decision to have the car for sale!
A trademark of this car is the Cotal electrically operated 4 speed gear box, with floor selection for forward and reverse, a conventional clutch but with a precise and excellently positioned column mounted gate, this is a majestic and superb car to drive. Comfort both front and rear for a car from this period, the very best to come out of this iconic Pre-war era. The beautifully crafted large suicide front doors revealing a sumptuous period interior totally correctly restored.
If a classic car is to take the spotlight at any occasion, and possess outstanding provenance and therefore investment potential this car will always command a position in the most discerning collectors top 5 from this period.
The car as you would expect comes with a history file and Delage D6 – 3 Litres handbook, be it the cars early life is quite vague and sadly a stunning. Nut and bolt restoration is not supported with history file detail.
Following extensive detailing and preperation of this outstanding and very rare car, I am pleased to confirm that this Delage D6-3L has taken part in the concourse display at Salon Privee, Syon Park 2011.
A discerning buyer will be well aware of the investment opportunity such a car offers. Should a prospective buyer wish to view the car, this is available at our Suffolk premises. Airport Pick up from London Stansted, a service we have come to regard as local as just over 1 hour away or of course Overnight accommodation in the very local Crown and Castle Hotel in Orford can I’m assured, make a very pleasant trip for those coming from afar as the restaurant is wonderful!