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DELAGE D12 Renaissance of a French Legend

Delage is a name that inspires dreams, the ultimate hypercar manufacturer, a French legend that has left its mark on people’s minds and hearts for more than a century, offering high-performance, timeless designs of universal beauty.

 

Limprint eternal of the brand in thehistory

Since his first model in 1905, a Delage Type A small car with a single-cylinder De Dion-Bouton 9 hp engine, Louis Delâge has created many automobiles that have gone down in history, with a superior vision of what elegance should be, allowing him to win first prizes in countless competitions. However, his taste for aesthetics does not make him forget about performance, so he favors the development of innovations to always stay ahead and win multiple race victories, as well as several world records.

In those days, it wasn’t about increasing the size of a fin by ½ mm, but about being creative, daring, and taking risks. It would be difficult to detail all the engineering feats achieved by Louis Delâge and his teams in just a few lines, but let’s look at a few outstanding examples. In 1916, the Delage Type CO was the first to integrate front brakes, which allowed it to win the Paris-Nice race in 16 hours at an average speed of 67 km/h, on roads that at the beginning of the century looked more like trails than tracks. In 1924, the 10.5-liter 12-cylinder V DH broke the world road speed record at 230 km/h. He also multiplied his championship victories, such as those obtained at the Grand Prix d’Europe in Lyon in 1924, and at the Grand Prix de l’ACF in Montlhéry in 1925. Finally, 1927 marked the high point of Delage’s racing career, with the Delage 155B winning four of the five events entered in the championship, making it the “World Champion of Manufacturers”, ahead of Bugatti and Alfa Romeo.

copyright : Michael Furman

As a result of the 1929 stock market crash, the company’s difficulties grew and Louis Delâge lost his support to the point that in 1935, he was forced to put his company into liquidation. Despite all the dangers, such a heritage cannot die, and a businessman, Walter Watney, creates the “Société Nouvelle des Automobiles Delage”, which continues to produce cars on the Delahaye production lines! This arrangement, which was salutary, even opened the way to a second golden age. The Delages manufactured at Delahaye give birth to a range going from the 4-cylinder DI-12 to the majestic D8-120 via the 6-cylinder D6-70, a car that will be a huge success.

 

Despite worldwide recognition, the adventure ended in 1953 with the end of production, which had been carried out until then by Delahaye, which was absorbed by Hotchkiss a year later. Once again, this heritage was saved in 1956 thanks to the club created to perpetuate the memory of Louis Delâge, the image of the brand and to provide logistical support to Delage owners.

 

A crazy crazy, ultimate : lHypercar Delage

In the summer of 2019, Laurent Tapie takes the initiative to contact the association “Les amis de Delage”: resurrecting Delage is a challenge that interests him. After several meetings, the association is convinced that he is the perfect successor to this unique heritage that they have taken care to preserve until now. An agreement was signed on October 7 (Laurent Tapie’s 45th birthday) and the rights to the brand were transferred to him. However, the project of the new president of Delage Automobile is crazy, even excessive: to relaunch the company with an innovative Hypercar, which is both the worthy heir of this prestigious past, but also the most performing car approved on the road.

To achieve this, Laurent Tapie set up a new team in Magny-Cours, bringing together engineers, manufacturing and capital, all 100% French. Moreover, we can only acknowledge that French excellence is an everlasting flame for those who know how to feed it.

 

The new Delage is called “D12” to announce the 12 cylinders it accommodates, which was the dream of Louis Delage, after having stopped at the wonderful D6 and D8.

 

Regarding the specifications, Laurent Tapie, who had already owned several cars of the “Big 5” (Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Aston Martin), was eager to find the sensations of a Formula 1. Hence the nickname that the D12 will receive: “The F1 approved for the road”.

Its architecture is unique, designed exclusively for extreme performance and fun. The cockpit, like that of a fighter plane, has a canopy that opens onto two bucket seats positioned one behind the other, allowing two people to share the experience. As Laurent Tapie explains: “This choice is ideal to guarantee greater rigidity by doing away with the doors. Also, the aerodynamic support offered by its narrow nose and its F1 spoiler is optimal. The overall design is sleek, yet aggressive and futuristic, while incorporating an ultra-luxurious interior.”

 

In terms of performance, it is of course breathtaking, because the goal is quite ambitious, even if it was designed for that: “to set the new record on the Nürburgring in the road-going category”. The attempt is planned for 2024, after the D12 has received its European homologation. To optimize performance on the track, the F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is in charge of the car’s behavioral settings.

In total, it boasts 1,100 hp and 1,077 Nm only on the rear wheels to propel its 1,390 kg. 990 hp are generated by an in-house 7.6-liter V12, to which are added some 110 electric hp. The 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 2.6 s and the 0 to 200 km/h in 6.5 s!

 

Another innovation from racing is the first road-legal car with the contractive suspension that revolutionized Formula 1. Many details have been redesigned to further improve its performance, such as the carbon fiber rim sculpture that now incorporates brake cooling. Finally, this Formula 1 on the road can count on a downforce almost twice as strong as that of the best supercars.

 

While its homologation should be granted during the year, it has already been elected the most beautiful car in the world (Best design) at the “Automobile Awards” in December 2020. Several of the 30 examples of this exceptional model have already found buyers, at a price of two million euros. For the future, a second concept is being studied for presentation next year. And Delage has just announced their return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2023, in the LMP2 category!

So hang on!

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