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Toppers from France

ER Classics Desktop 2022

France was once a country where luxury, prestigious automobiles were made. The crisis in the XNUMXs severely breached that story. And after WWII, the French state interference in car manufacturing decided that many small and affordable cars and cars had to be made.

This approach has formed the basis of our idea that only cars, cars, some automobiles, but certainly no 'voitures' come from France.


The French have tried again later, though, to compete with Mercedes and BMW. But cars like the Peugeot 604 and the later Citroen C6 have never really become successful.

But in the past? You used to have a brand like Delahaye.

That brand was founded in 1894 by Emile Delahaye. After his death in 1901, a new factory in Paris was opened. There, passenger cars as well as trucks and buses were built. In 1908, the factory began producing its own engines and making money from products built by others under license. Delahaye was innovative with the application of new techniques, such as water cooling and cardan drive

Successful in competitions

In the 30s, the factory achieved success in auto racing and many records were set as well. In 1935, the sporty brand from the top segment Delage was taken over. That brand was in financial trouble after the crisis period. After the merger, Delages were essentially Delahayes, with a Delage emblem and grille, but let's find out what 'badge engineering' is in French.

Until the beginning of the Second World War, the factory made 'rolling chassis' that were fitted with a tailor-made suit by various bodybuilders. Well-known designs came from Figoni et Falaschi, Chapron, Letourneur et Marchand and Hermann Graber. Dutch bodybuilders, such as Pennock, also designed bodywork for Delahayes.

After World War II, the factory started making cars again

To facilitate the start, the pre-war models were first put back on the market, such as the 134 and the 135 M. They had four- and six-cylinder OHVs. The cars featured a conventional separate chassis and independent suspension that was still not outdated from a technical point of view. Just like before the war, rolling chassis were also sold that were finished by bodybuilders to the wishes of the buyers ...

A declining case

In 1947, production of the smaller 134 was discontinued and the new 175 took its place. The 4455 cc six-cylinder engine produced 140 hp and a heavier 1950 hp engine became available in 160. Two derived models were the 178 and 180, these had a longer chassis than the 175. In 1951, the last Delahaye model, the 235, was introduced. Sales remained low and fewer than 100 vehicles were sold per year. The money was made with trucks and jeep-like vehicles. More than 9000 copies of the Delahaye VLR jeep were made for the French army.

The end / Fin

In 1954 the factory was taken over by Hotchkiss, which then ended production in 1956. But the name Delahaye is engraved as iconic in automotive history. The info on 135 M convertible from 1950 with its six-cylinder three and a half liter engine of 115 hp with Cotal transmission that is for sale at Retrolegends says 'price on request'.

Also read:
- Hotchkiss M201: Jeeps from France
- A Facel is quite an expensive thing
- Bentley S2 Wendler. The Mercedes-Bentley
- Rolls-Royce Chinese Eye, rally with a Rolls-Royce
- Tatra JK2500, the communist Ferrari

It can also be cheaper ...

6 Comments

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  1. I don't need a French person because they are too chauvinistic for us (not French)
    selfish. I used to drive Opel 's but now I don't need an Opel anymore.

    • the fact that the French are chauvinistic does not detract from the quality of this car ... The French are not at all selfish if you make the effort to get to know them ... And which car are you driving now?

  2. It is easy.
    Oooooooit life was beautiful, and craftsmanship was a profession as well as art. That's why everyone is still addicted to the old days.
    Now that everything is unity because of the 00000
    Never comes back before. Unfortunately !!!!

  3. Most can no longer imagine it (neither did I until recently), but it would have been close if France had become communist in 44. The Americans quickly pushed De Gaulle (who they actually did not really like) forward. But since then socialism (and the trade unions!) Has been very strong in France. That has led to many nice things, a 2CV or R4 for everyone, but also to a lot of misery: beautiful car manufacturers that went bankrupt, enormous damage to their reputation (still! abroad ('do you have your way?', management against trade unions).

    This Delahaye is a great and very beautiful car.

    By the way, Delahaye means 'from the hedge'. In the past there were annual tours from The Hague to Paris (the other way around is not possible, because then the name is no longer correct) for Delahayes and Delages were also allowed to participate. I saw them somewhere in the center of the royal city. All people with too much money, but not unsympathetic. Was beautiful!

    • A nice reflection, Henk. Thanks for that, I have some additions.

      - The Republique (and revolution) is older than 1944 and forms a basis for both the USA, USSR and European democracies for (constitutional) laws.
      - If you know how broken France came out of 2 world wars ...: many cities and villages flat, the landmines in agriculture, the dead and disabled (also among the civilians) then you might draw a different conclusion. The reconstruction of demolished France was, on the contrary, immensely successful. Also in the field of the automotive industry and mobility.
      - The fact is that the Premium marketing of Germany, Japan and Korea (through government policy) has been set up very effectively. Even old buckets from both countries are denied (lesson: buy the press: Bild and Autoweek, Telegraaf and Autovisie).
      - De Hofstad does not make it more fun for us to have a nice car.
      - So the liberals in The Hague are also communist?

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