• THE 2008 EXHIBITION •
Never was this more amply demonstrated than by his fabulously costly factory team of exquisitely engineered, very fast and hugely successful 1.5-liter grand prix cars of 1926-1927. Driven most notably by Robert Benoist, future Second World War resistance hero, they became the effective world champions of their day. As the bonnet opens and the light of day pitches in, Delage engineering in all its glittering splendor blazes out; the 180bhp 1,500cc engine is a hand-made wonder.
Albert Lory was largely responsible for the development of the car and he, aided by Maurice Gaultier, were entrusted with the design of a 1 1/2 liter model to run under the formula recognized for 1926-27. This stipulated maximum cylinder capacity of 1 1/2 liters, one occupant and a minimum width for the body of 80 cm. The minimum weight was 600 kilos for 1926 and was raised to 700 kilos in 1927 or, approximately, 11.8 and 13.8 cwt. respectively.
In 1925 the riding mechanic disappeared and regulations permitted only the driver in the car. This paved the way to a marked change in external appearance. It became possible, for the first time, to offset the whole transmission towards the mechanic’s side of the car and to place the driver’s seat down very low with the propeller shaft running past him at about thigh level.
The Delage was the first design in which this principle was embodied, the bevel pinions being offset four inches to the left side of the car, making the proportions from the center of the bevel box to the track 42.5 : 57 : 5; and by this means the height of the scuttle was reduced to 35 inches. In consequence, although the body width could not be reduced to less than 31.5 inches, the frontal area of the car came to the remarkably low figure of 9 1/2 square feet.
Hugh Bancroft races his ex-Chiron Indy 500 Grand Prix Delage in the “Round The Houses Race”.
(August 15, 1936 - Alexandria Bay, New York)