1931 Delage D8C Drophead Coupé
Coachwork by Figoni (see text)
Chassis no. 34786
•One of the finest French cars of its day
•Registered in the Republic of Ireland (previously registered in the UK)
•Offered from long-term museum display
In its day, the Delage D8 was the only French car which could be mentioned in the same breath as the 32CV Hispano-Suiza in terms of elegance and engineering excellence, while the Delage factory at Courbevoie was the most modern in the French industry, equipped with the finest tools that money could buy.
Founded in 1905 by Louis Delage, the company had commenced production with a single-cylinder De Dion-engined runabout and within a few years was offering multi-cylinder designs. The publicity value of racing was recognised right from the start, a single-cylinder Delage winning the Coupe Des Voiturettes as early as 1908 and Paul Bablot taking the 1911 Coupe de l'Auto in a 3.0-litre four-cylinder. Victories at the Grand Prix du Mans and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race were achieved prior to WWI, the company going on to become a major force in Grand Prix racing in the 1920s and setting a new World Land Speed Record mark in 1924 with a 10.7-litre V12.
Four-cylinder DI and six-cylinder DM models formed the mainstay of touring car production in the 1920s, and then at the 1929 Paris Salon Delage launched the Maurice Gaultier-designed D8. A magnificent 4.0-litre overhead-valve straight eight featuring an X-braced chassis and servo-assisted braking, the D8 was destined to attract the creative attentions of Europe's finest coachbuilders, while the equally impressive list of D8 owners included King Gustav V of Sweden, King Alexander of Yugoslavia, and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia as well as leading businessmen, politicians, and film stars of the day.
One of 458 short-chassis models produced between 1929 and 1933, this magnificent Delage D8C carries a three-position drophead coupé body by the celebrated French coachbuilder Figoni. Although the body carries no Figoni plaque, the chassis number 34786 is in the Figoni production record and the design conforms, as such it would have been built in the Figoni works in Boulogne Billancourt.
During the 1950s and '60s the car was owned by the architectural historian Maurice Craig, remaining in a subsequent owner's hands from 1972 until 1996 when it was purchased at auction by the current vendor. Its former UK registration was 'GP 7338'. The Delage is described as in generally good/very good condition, and is standard apart from the provision of flashing indicators. It should be noted that the engine has been changed at some time.
Kept on museum display in the Republic of Ireland for the last 20-or-so years, the car will have been got running for the sale but may well require further re-commissioning and thus is sold strictly as viewed. Accompanying documentation consists of Irish registration documents, various Delage related literature and the car also comes with English and French instruction manuals.
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