Here’s a little information about the beautiful 1933 Delage D8 S Coupe Letourneur et Marchand which was on display at the 2022 Concours of Elegance. What a beautiful car. Don’t you agree? You can see more Concours of Elegance news, reviews, videos and galleries here.
Delage enjoyed a meteoric rise from its conception in 1905 right up to the start of World War One. From just two lathes and three employees in 1905, by 1912 it had 350 workers toiling in a bespoke factory building 1000cars per year.
However, the 1920s saw Delage’s fortunes really take off both on the road and on track-and the D6 and D8 were primed to capitalise on that. Sadly, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 clobbered luxury car sales worldwide, just as the D8 was released to replace the GLS.
Initially customers could choose from the D8 Normale and D8 S, with the latter featuring a shortened wheelbase to enhance its sportiness. Power came from Delage’s first straight-eight engine, which produced around 145bhp in the specification used in this D8 S.
This particular example, chassis 38186, was bodied to the bustleback style and has a low, rounded, coupé greenhouse along with a very long bonnet, a narrow vertical windscreen, and sweeping fender lines. There is a glass-covered rear licence plate, which is very unusual and unique to the era.
Only four of these cars were completed, all with detailed differences, and just two survive. The bodies were either built by the Letourneur et Marchand subsidiary, Autobineau, or at the Delage factory; this example was finished by the former in 1933. Letourneur et Marchand had been formed in the same year as Delage, and aside from its work for Delage, the Paris-based coachbuilder had bodied Rolls-Royces, Minervas, Hispano-Suizas and Duesenbergs. The Autobineau department was set up largely to specialise in sedan and limousine bodies, and to increase production rates using more standardised production methods.
In October 1934, a D8 S sedan was displayed on the Delage stand at the Paris Salon; this chassis may have been that Salon car. In 1936 a D8 S featured in the French film Prends la Route, which is also likely to be chassis 38186.
The car was found in the mid-1950s in southern France by a Mr Retornaz, who registered it in Marseille. Retornaz used 38186 for some years, then put it into long-term storage in his garage.
It remained there until 1999 when it was discovered by Charles Howard. At the time it wore a Cromos-style bumper, as sported by the car in the French movie. A short while later, Howard sold the car to its current owner Mr Rafael Pueche.