1913 Delage Type R4 Two Seater 'Raceabout' Registration no. HF 1954 Chassis no. 4297 Engine no. 4035
Founded in 1905 by Louis Delage in collaboration with Augustin Legros, a fellow engineer-graduate of an Arts et Métiers college, Automobiles Delage 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 Louis himself taking the 1911 Coupe de l'Auto in a 3-litre four-cylinder. Victories at the Grand Prix du Mans and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race were achieved prior to WWI, while production grew alongside these successes. The 'R4' model was built by Delage from 1911 to 1913 and while the earlier examples were equipped with a Ballot engine, later in the run a similar Ballot-Delage Type 4G3 engine was fitted in the 7th to 11th Series, of which this is an example.
At some stage in its life a previous owner elected to fit the car with the very attractive and sporting two seater coachwork it wears to this day. The spartan design owes much to its contemporary Delage racing cars and also to the famed Mercer Raceabout and Stutz Bearcat, with simple bucket seats, open steering column and dash, and tapering tail section with twin spare tyres. With its sprightly four cylinder motor, three speed 'box and lightweight body, the car provides an enjoyable motoring experience, and is equipped with period brass accessories, including SPE headlamps and Bleriot oil sidelamps.
In the hands of the previous owner a total restoration was carried out and a full photographic record of this work comes with the car. At that time it was repainted in traditional Delage blue and upholstered in buttoned red leather. Purchased by the vendor following that restoration in 1990 the car has been much admired and is well known both in Veteran Car Club of Great Britain circles and in the many countries of Europe in which it has been rallied extensively, such as the Circuits of the Ardennes and the Auvergne, as well as many domestic rallies in France, Germany and The Netherlands. Always maintained regardless of cost, much of the work done by Arthur Archer of Dunmow, the car benefits from a recent engine rebuild and will need running in carefully before being rallied aggressively.
Taxed and MOT'd until May 2013, it is VCC Dated (Certificate Number 1444) and is accompanied by a facsimile handbook, two new Dunlop Chevron tyres and many tools such as a bespoke hub-puller, hubcap spanner, etc.