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Delage


 

Delage cars have been considered a great marque from early days. This was partly due to racing successes and partly due to good advertising. I do not believe that the early road cars were anything exceptional.

I owned a DM car and drove it for a few years. It was indeed huge, in every respect and vastly overweight despite the fabric body. This model Delage did not accelerate but rather 'got under way'. Cast iron pistons knocked for at least half an hour after starting, and the induction could be heard wheezing at a hundred yards.

The brakes were also very interesting! The early power assistance through Perot shafts did nothing for one's confidence. Touch the brake and it would then continue all on its own to stop the car abruptly (that is if the brakes had been recently adjusted). To slow down just a tad one would touch the brake and release it very quickly by touching the accelerator. This was the Delage dance and I feel sure that I could have made a career in tap dancing.

The car was in every respect unwieldy and extremely tiring to drive. Many earlier Delage models were actually very boring and therefore could never be described as thoroughbred. In most respects, Voisin cars of the period were streets ahead.

It was only with the introduction of the D 8 that in my view the Delage marque created a real thoroughbred. It was indeed everything that earlier cars were not and an example with pretty coachwork is highly desirable.