Lot 61 (Imperial War Museum Duxford, 18th March 2020)
Sold for £69,188
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: 644 YUX
Chassis No: 37988
MOT: August 2020
"There is a select band of motor cars which have the indefinable power to charm the driver and passengers immediately they are taken on the road. The Delage as a make most certainly belongs to this comparatively small group" (Autocar, 8th May 1931).
Introduced at the October 1932 Paris Salon, the Delage D6 11 was engineered by Maurice Gaultier. Notably modern, the newcomer featured a square-dimensioned, straight-six OHV engine of over 2 litres, four-speed manual gearbox and electrically welded chassis frame complete with independent front suspension. Supplied as a bare chassis only, the D6 11 was clothed by some of France's most renowned coachbuilders in a variety of open and closed guises. Unfortunately, no Delage records detailing despatches are known to have survived to the present day (they are presumed to have been lost when marque custodians Messrs Tholoze of Paris closed their doors in the 1950s). As such we do not know who first owned chassis 37988 or how it was initially bodied.
Inspired by a Saoutchik design of the period, the present Cabriolet design was crafted by Carrosserie Automobile Daniel Nantou of Bazemont during the late 1980s / early 1990s. Belonging to former president of the Association Francaise Automobile Club de l'Auto Patrick Houdayer at the time, the jaw dropping two-seater with dickey was awarded first prize at the 1993 Paris Deauville Concours d'Elegance and 1994 Rallye de Lisieux. Acquired by Ferrari collector and hotelier Jean Roger Bossut thereafter, he kept the Delage until June 2006 when it was sold to its previous Guernsey-based keeper via Christies for £54,600. Treated to £3,133.55 worth of fettling by Wellanier Motors in September 2009, the D6 11 was acquired by the vendor some four years later.
As well as getting chassis 37988 UK road registered as `644 YUX', he has spent some £16,768 with Buskell Engineering of Norwich fettling its front suspension, steering, carburetion, fuel system, wiring, water pump and ignition system plus general servicing. Genius of the Lamp replated the radiator slats and restored the Marchal head / spot lights and the Lucas horns at a cost of a further £4,500 or so. Benefiting from the addition of a more modern fuel pump and alternator, the Delage started readily during our photography session and ran for half an hour with no sign of overheating; a boon given that the seller has used it on frequent 40-mile round trips.
Exquisitely detailed from its proud radiator grille to its extravagantly long tail by way of a tapering swage line, voluptuous wings and twin side-mounted spare wheels, `644 YUX' was the subject of a multi-page article in the October 2015 issue of Let's Talk magazine entitled `Delicious Delage'. Nearly thirty years after its restoration was completed, the Cabriolet remains highly presentable albeit that the paintwork is imperfect in places. The doors still shut with a reassuring thunk and the interior is trimmed in Dark Blue leather with the same colour running through the marquetry to the door cappings. Cream faced Jaegar instruments grace the wooden dashboard and the door cards are sunburst patterned. Of the 1,728 D6 11 cars made just 18 are still thought to exist. Though, few - if any - can boast the visual impact of chassis 37988. Among the most stylish pre-WW2 French cars we have had the pleasure of offering, this handsome Delage is accompanied by a large history file and MOT certificate valid until August 2020.