Maurice Gaultiers Delage D8 carried the flag for France at the 1929 Paris Salon an all new design with its overhead valve, straight eight 4-litre engine operating with silky smoothness and virtual silence and yet still developing some 105bhp which made the new D8 one of the most powerful French luxury cars of its era. The power output was complemented by servo-assisted braking and the rigid cross-braced chassis contributed to superlative handling. Delage publicity quite rightly promoted the new model as appealing to experienced and justifiably demanding folk, men of industry and of the world, businessmen and elegant women. Royalty and world leaders were to appear on Delages impressive customer list, including the likes of King Gustav V of Sweden, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and film and cabaret stars such as Betty Spell and Josephine Baker added their name to the order list. Here was a car with international appeal, clad by the elite of European coachbuilders. As a manufacturer Delage had long since proved its winning ways on the racing and Grand Prix circuits, winning all the Grand Prix in 1927 and here was a car that set it in the highest echelons amongst the European hyphenated greats such as Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Fraschini.
This car carries most elegant three-position Foursome Drophead Coupé coachwork by an unidentified coachbuilder, but clearly constructed in period. It comes from a private collection, until recently sharing the motor house with Bentley, Talbot-Darracq, Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Fraschini marques and amazingly has been in the present ownership for some 51 years. It was discovered in a friends uncles garage in 1957 and £35 changed hands upon acquisition. The old buff log book with the car dates from 1946 and records ownership from that time in the Manchester/Stockport area where it has remained. Some thirteen or so years ago the substantially original car was entrusted to Briardale Workshops for the first stage of restoration, involving essentially mechanical and chassis work. Subsequently vintage restorer John Selway was commissioned to take the work further, including attention to coachwork, preparation and painting of coachwork in its present green and cream livery, rebuilding of the steering box, restoration of instruments and a total rewire of electrics. Amongst other work carried out the Marchal headlamps were repaired and re-plated, the hood frame reworked and covered in beige mohair, brown carpets fitted, replacement running boards manufactured and much more detailed work. The car was prepared for MoT which it passed in March this year but subsequently has seen little use as it is noted that second gear requires attention.
This handsome French motor car is equipped with the aforementioned Marchal lighting, Duolamp rear lights, rear-mounted spare wheel, windscreen visor, sits on 7.00 x 18 tyres and the interior is furnished with brown leather, complementing the brown carpets. Although the brief was not to prepare the car to concours standards we feel that with just a little further attention to detail this car would be well placed for presentation at premier Concours dÉlégance events. It is offered with old style buff log book, Swansea V5 document, current MoT certificate, road fund licence to March 2009 and a detailed list of major elements of the restoration work carried out.