Delage was one of the more traditional of prewar luxury carmakers in its day. The company earned a solid reputation in motorsports during the early days of the automobile, including a win at the 4th ever Indianapolis 500. During the interwar period, this considerable engineering prowess was turned to making luxury cars, and the D8 was the company’s flagship model, with the D8 S being an even more powerful version of the car. But Delage only handled the engineering of the car. Being such a traditional company, Delage built just the chassis of the D8, believing that their monied customers would want a custom body made by one of Europe’s many fine couchbuilders operating at the time.
So the story of this particular car is as much about the coachbuilder that designed the body as it is about the Delage chassis. And that body is the work of Fernandez et Darrin, a firm building the designs of the American designer Howard Darrin with financial backing from the French banker Fernandez. The design represents the absolute pinnacle of French fashion, a look befitting one of the most expensive cars of the day. The D8 was a close rival to several other luxury brands, particularly French brands like Bugatti.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1934 Delage D8 S Cabriolet.
It was Delage founder Louis Delage who asked Marcel Pourtout to build this high-speed aerodynamic prototype (chassis 51620) for the 1937 Paris Auto Salon.
Georges Paulin was the chief stylist for Pourtout, and he accepted the challenge. He was also at work on the aerodynamic Embirlcos Bentley, and there are marked similarities between the two cars.