1937 Delage a near perfect one-off …
Today, rich folks will plunk out a half a million bucks for a new Ferrari or Lamborghini and think they have something special, unique. Yet hundreds are made of such models.
Consider the rich folks of the 1930s who selected a fine chassis and drivetrain from a high-end manufacturer, like France’s Delage, and then commissioned a coachmaker to build a one-off body, just for their chassis. Ah, now that’s exclusivity.
That’s exactly what happened in 1937 when a Delage D8-120 S chassis was built and delivered to coachbuilder Pourtout that created a hand-formed aluminum body for the car. And what a body it was!
Now Automodello recreates a 1/24 scale cast resin version of this streamlined beauty. It’s a knockout!
The Delage D8-120 S Aerodynamic Coupe is fantastic is a true one-off designed by famed stylist Georges Paulin. Records show the body alone cost $18,000 to build, roughly $300,000 in today’s coin.
The car was first shown at the Paris Auto Show in 1937 and Louis Delage, the carmaker’s owner, drove the car for three years before it was sold. Delage had always believed in proving his car’s mettle by racing them, one even winning the 1914 Indianapolis 500. So performance was important to him.
The D8-120 S (which stood for surbaisse, meaning low) had a lower suspension to create a lower center of gravity for better handling. Power was good too with a special D8 straight-8 engine bored out to create 120 horsepower. There was even a special electromagnetically controlled 4-speed gearbox.
The body was a beautiful blend of hand-formed aluminum sculpted to appear as streamlined as any car of the day, possibly ever. Special features included finely made glasswork that mated the door and rear quarter windows perfectly, no need for gaskets or a B-pillar. No cars today have such a feature. Then Paulin also included what became his trademark, a heart-shaped design in the trunk lid that displayed the car’s make, and also could hold a license plate.
The car now is owned by Sam Mann and after restoration won the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance’s Best of Show award in 2005. This may be the most beautiful car in the world!
The Delage starts with a spectacular silver paint job and a beautifully cast body to reflect the car’s elegant and aerodynamic lines. The large photo-etched chrome mesh grille and paper-thin windshield wipers convey a jewelry-like quality that one imagines also was evident in the original. Likewise there are delicate chrome door handles and hood handles plus trim around the split windshield and two tiny rear windows.
Automodello has elected to go with the passenger-side windows up, to show how the glass was cut for front and rear side windows to mesh without need for that B-pillar. While on the driver’s side (right side in France), the windows are down to preserve an unobstructed view of the stylish interior.
That appears to be blue-ribbed leather on the four individual seats, separated by the gray carpeted driveshaft. Even the four-spoked steering wheel is blue to match the elegant, yet cheery interior.
The dash has four white-knobbed controls behind the wheel and detailed gauges amid dash, plus a few smaller readouts below those main gauges. A glovebox with handle is featured prominently on the dash’s left.
Accenting the car are wide white-sidewall tires, but due to those swanky rear fenders with wheel well covers you only see the front tires fully. Likewise you see the finely detailed Delage wheels with big chrome hubcap with the Delage name on it in blue, the French racing color, by the way.
There’s a Delage logo atop the radiator and beautiful headlamps too.
Automodello has created a run of 249 of the silver models at $299.95, plus 24 of its special black Homage Edition that retails at $449.95, with each hand-numbered.
Vital Stats: 1937 Delage D8-120 S by Pourtout
Stock No.: AM24-DLG-37P