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1938 Delage D8 120 Aerosport Coupe by Letourneur & Marchand

Details

  • Year Built: 1938
  • Engine Size: 4.7L
  • Trans: Manual
  • Fuel Type: Gas

1 of 12 Built and 1 of 8 in Existence

Of the 12 Delage D-8 120 Aerosport Coupes by Letourneur & Marchand Coachbuilders, This Particular Example is Number Eleven

Chassis No. 51617, Engine No. 51617

Coachwork by LeTourneur et Marchand

Fully Documented History

Featuring the Original Late Production Larger 4.7 Litre Straight-8 Motor

Cotal Four-Speed Electric Pre-Selector Gearbox

Full Extended Pontoon Front and Rear Wings

Full Separate Step Plate Running Boards

Split Rear Windscreen with the Leading Edge of the Rear Larger Distinctive Aerosport Fin

Louvered Hood

Wheelbase: 133

Period Brochures & Manuals

Recently Completely Restored (1999) for the Second Time in the Past Owners 57 Years of Ownership, A Distinguished Atvocat (Barrister) and Noted Delage Authority

Ordered New by French Aviation Pioneer, Felix Amiot

Seized During WWII by the German Government and Sent to Occupied Denmark in 1940.  After Denmark’s Liberation in 1945 the Car Was Confiscated by the Newly Re-Established Danish Government, Where it was Assigned a New Documented Title Number D838120 and Sold to National Resistance Hero, Jens Lillelund.  Then Passed on to Danish Industrialist, Knud Vilhelm Count Shulin Who Sold the Car to Hans Jorgen Beier in 1956. Beier Owned the Car Until 2013 When it Was Imported to Florida

Long considered the most attractive design in Delage history, the Aerosport was the work of the brilliant Marcel LeTourneur, who today ranks alongside the renowned Jean Bugatti as one of the greatest young French designers of the 1930s. Just 12 Aerosport coupes were built (not counting the less attractive notchback coupes), all featuring long hoods, flowing fenders and a unique roof design incorporating dramatic downward-sweeping pillarless side windows. At almost 18 feet in length, the Aerosport was a large but beautifully styled and proportioned automobile whose lightweight alloy body easily enabled prolonged cruising at highway speeds. The final iteration of the Aerosport, design number 5941, was reserved for this car, chassis number 51617. A late Series 2 car with a lower roofline, it is the 11th built of the series of 12 cars, eight of which remain extant today. Recently imported from Copenhagen by a Sarasota, Florida, museum, its entire history and ownership are very well chronicled. Ordered by French aviation pioneer and manufacturer Felix Amiot, the car was delivered to LeTourneur et Marchand on February 1, 1939 and completed later that spring. At the beginning of the German occupation in June 1940 the car was requisitioned by the Wehrmacht for a German officer and sent to occupied Denmark in September 1940. After Denmark’s liberation in May 1945 the car was confiscated by the newly re-established Danish government, where it assigned a new documented title number D838120 with engine number 51617 (both remaining with car today) and sold it to national resistance hero Jens Lillelund. It passed then to Danish industrialist Knud Vilhelm Count Schulin, who demonstrated the Aerosport’s performance when he almost succeeded in outrunning the police on his way to catching a ferry; the incident, which ended with a record-setting fine, was reported in the national media, immortalizing both the Aerosport and its driver in Danish automotive lore. The Count’s company, DAPA, manufactured heavy truck trailers; the Delage was parked outside a DAPA factory with a “For Sale” sign when it was discovered by its next owner, prominent Copenhagen attorney Hans Jorgen Beier in 1956. Beier had the somewhat run-down Delage fully restored in 1957, and again in a two-year project completed in 1999. A most enthusiastic owner and caretaker, Mr. Beier amassed a huge collection of handbooks, instruction manuals and historic marque information, all of which accompany the car. After 57 years of single ownership, in 2013 the car was imported directly to Florida, where it was rallied and shown at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in non-judged display-only status. Always carefully maintained, this magnificent French automotive objet d’art still presents in excellent condition today.

 Imperious and strong-willed, Louis Delage ran his automobile company from its founding in 1905 to its liquidation at the height of the Great Depression with unbending authority. The graduate of the École Nationale d’Arts et Métiers spent two years at Peugeot before starting his own Paris firm in partnership with fellow engineer Augustin Legros. Delage pioneered the exploitation of racing success to sell cars, first earning national acclaim by taking 2nd place at the 1906 Coupe des Voiturettes de L’Auto. Rapid expansion followed. Bolstered by wartime profits, Automobiles Delage emerged from WWI poised to establish a line of luxury automobiles and to maximize sales with more racing victories. After winning the 1927 Grand Prix World Championship at almost crippling expense, Delage turned his attention to producing beautifully engineered chassis and drivetrains clothed by Europe’s leading coachbuilders and prized by such owners as entertainer Josephine Baker and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. By the 1930s the majestic French marque was hemorrhaging both money and disaffected talent, and in 1935 Delage was forced to liquidate its assets, which were eventually purchased by Delahaye. The first new design of the Delahaye era, the D8-120, was also the most memorable. Built on a Delahaye chassis, the D8-120 was the only 8-cylinder-powered car in the entire Delage-Delahaye range. Its chromed flex-pipe exhaust system, sweeping voluptuousness and regal countenance made it the belle of the Concours d’Elegance circuit and an immortal classic, once again attracting the ministrations of the top designers, most notably LeTourneur et Marchand, who created the elegant Aerosport coupe offered here.

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