17 May 1999
1926 DELAGE D1 ALL WEATHER TOURER/CABRIOLET
Chassis no. 22234
Engine no. R4 8818
Blue with black wings.
Engine: four cylinders in line, overhead valve, 2100cc; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: Leaf spring front and rear; Brakes: four wheel mechanically operated drum. Right hand drive.
In the early 1920s, the arrow-straight Routes Nationales of France, with their far horizons, helped to breed a uniquely Gallic thoroughbred automobile. These grand tourers were rugged, to withstand the hammering of ancient stone-set paved highways, relaxed, easy-running over a long day's driving, and they were frugal because petrol was not a cheap commodity. Louis Delage began making fast automobiles in 1906, diversified into Grand Prix and other front-line racing and after the Great War produced a range of very sound touring models. He was one of the pioneers of four-wheel brakes, using them on his racers for the 1914 French Grand Prix; in 1920 he became one of the first manufacturers to incorporate the system on a production car. As specialist French makers were inclined to do in the 1920s, Delage offered cars ranging from 11 hp to an advanced 80 mph six litre 40/50 hp giant. But his great success was built on the four-cylinder D1 series of beautifully balanced 2.1 and 2.4 litre fast touring cars. Originally offered with a sidevalve four cylinder unit, they later acquired pushrod overhead valves. Performance was exceptional, with comfortable suspension, light and responsive steering, good roadholding.
This particularly impressive creation would have been called an all-weather tourer in England but perhaps a cabriolet in its native country. Noteworthy are the folding window framings and the twin side-mounted spare wheels. There was no doubt - the Delage was a classic, recognised as such early in its career, valued by the discerning collector from the very earliest days of the Vintage car movement. The car is Swiss registered.
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The engine number is 8816
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