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Amelia Island | Lot 183

1930 Delage D8 C Cabriolet by Chapron

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$176,000 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

12 March 2016


Chassis No.
34738
Engine No.
1327
  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • The only known surviving Chapron-bodied D8 C
  • Long, well-documented ownership history
  • Carefully maintained older restoration by LaVine Restorations

118 bhp, 4,061 cc OHV inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130 in.

Certainly considered to be Delage’s pièce de résistance, the D8 was the work of chief engineer Maurice Gaultier. His engine was a four-liter pushrod straight eight, running on five main bearings and producing 105 brake horsepower with a smoothness and silence that was the envy of virtually every other automaker, with the possible exception of Hispano-Suiza.

Reception to the D8 among Delage’s elite clients was enthusiastic, and the chassis rapidly became a favorite for coachbuilt bodies the world over. Such was the acclaim given La Belle Voiture Française—“The Beautiful French Automobile”—that its makers proudly boasted, “At the Concours d’Elegance held during 1930 in the principal cities of Europe, Delage Straight Eights received more awards than any other car.”

The D8 was offered in two variants, the basic Normale model and the uprated sports edition, the D8 S, which featured amendments to the valve gear and higher compression for 118 brake horsepower at 3,800 rpm. When this engine was fitted to the Normale chassis, the model was referred to as the D8 C, such as the one offered here.

CHASSIS NUMBER 34738

Chassis number 34738 was bodied by the renowned French coachbuilder Henri Chapron and is the only Chapron-bodied D8 C known to survive today. Unusually, however, it was first registered not in France but in Renfrewshire, Scotland, on July 14, 1931, as HS6322 (the registration plates remaining with the car to this day). By 1939, it had passed to Roland Stanley Bevan of Taunton, Somerset, who maintained it for 20 years, after which it was purchased by Douglas Henry Shrimpton of Dorset.

Subsequently, around 1960, the car was purchased by Vojta Mashek, a renowned early French automobile collector in Chicago. In 1966, Mashek sold the Delage to Homer Fitterling of South Bend, Indiana, the famed enthusiast known for, among other things, an “every year” collection of Corvettes, a vast assembly of Duesenbergs, and this Delage, which he reportedly used to tow the Duesenbergs to various shows!

The current owner, a longtime collector in the Midwest, purchased the Delage from Mr. Fitterling in 1973. It was intact, solid, and ran well, but it was ready for restoration, a job tackled between 1992 and 1994 by the renowned facility of LaVine Restorations of Nappanee, Indiana. Subsequently, the car was displayed at the 1994 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and from 2004 to 2007 was exhibited at the ACD Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana, in their Gallery of Classics.

Though now two decades old, the restoration presents exceedingly well, with sumptuous grey leather seating, excellent brightwork, and a superbly detailed engine compartment. It is offered with an extensive history file covering its ownership and restoration and including correspondence with Delage registrar and historian Peter Jacobs, as well as a copy of the Profile Publications volume on the D8, in which this car is pictured.

With excellent history, wonderful lines, and the distinction of being the last known Chapron-bodied D8 C, this is a significant Delage for the enthusiast of beautiful French automobiles.

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