Presented by RM Sotheby’s – At the height of automotive design and engineering in the 1920s, the French marque Delage was a driving force in setting the standard for luxury among road cars made in the country at that time. Delage would manufacture chassis for coachbuilders to build their own body and complete the car, and the long length and generous dimensions of the D8—first introduced in 1929—would allow bespoke builders to make elegant designs with highly distinctive and luxurious body shapes.
The D8 was available in two variants: the “Normale” and the uprated sports version, the D8 S. The enhanced car reduced the length of the wheelbase to optimize maneuverability and save weight while also featuring amendments to the 4.0-liter straight-eight pushrod engine. The engine of the D8 S benefitted from improvements to the valve gear and had a higher compression for 118 brake horsepower at 3,800 rpm, around 20 horsepower more than the standard powertrain. The claimed top speed was around 82 mph—around seven mph faster than the Normale. Performance figures varied depending upon the weight of the body installed by the coachbuilder of choice, but in all cases the D8 S offered sporty characteristics alongside supreme comfort, luxuriousness, and style.
This example, chassis number 38237, was bodied by the French coachbuilder Pourtout and started life as an exhibition car at the 1933 Paris Motor Show. Its first owner, a Parisian car collector, bought the Delage from the show stand, and historical registration documentation suggests that the D8 S spent its first years in the Gironde region of France until around 1950. The Delage would come into the ownership of acclaimed Michelin-star chef and entrepreneur, André Surmain, on 18 August 1966. It was purchased from Dax Auto, a Peugeot dealer in the town of Dax in the south-west of France, for a sum of $4,000.
Mr. Surmain sold the car to its next owner, Albert Prost, on 26 June 1978. Mr. Prost would hold onto the Delage until his passing in 2002, after which point the car would be stored until sold by the Prost family to its incumbent owner in 2014. Under the ownership of Mr. Prost, the Frenchman was not afraid to add kilometers to the odometer and entered the car into a number of events. Notably, the D8 S won the Mougins Concours d’Elegance in the late 1970s, as is documented by a newspaper clipping revealing a picture of Mr. Prost and his wife standing with the car in front of an applauding event crowd.
In earlier public appearances, the car has been seen in a two-tone color of yellow over black. Today, the car is finished in a tasteful combination of black fenders with central body panels in a deep shade of violet over black leather interior, and a black soft-top hood, also with the wheel centerpieces now finished in matching deep violet. The elegant classic radiator shape is bookmarked by two Marchal lights, while the low folding windscreen with the flowing wings accentuate the sporting nature of the D8 S. At the time of cataloguing, the odometer reads 24,241 km, and the car is offered with its historic maintenance log.
RM Sotheby’s will present this vehicle as part of a single-owner collection comprised of 75 of the finest racing and road cars in the world, offered entirely without reserve. The Guikas Collection, to be sold at Paul Ricard Circuit in France in November 2021, presents pedigrees spanning from the endurance racing of the 24 Hours of the Le Mans to the world stage of Formula One and nearly everything in between. The collection of race cars will provide modern racing enthusiasts an introduction into virtually all vintage racing series worldwide, including GT and road cars that are equally impressive which offer a wide selection of Pre- and Post-War sports cars.