Lot 44

1937 Delage D8-120 Three-Position Cabriolet

Coachwork by Chapron

Register to Bid

SOLD $731,000


$800,000 - $1,000,000| Without Reserve





Car Highlights

Exceedingly Rare as One of Just 74 D8-120s Built

Featured in the 1951 Film An American in Paris

Part of the Mullin Collection Since 1987

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Delahaye assumed control of Delage in 1935, the same year that a new Delage sales and marketing company, SNAD, was established. As a result of the reorganization, Delahaye was to become a sporting marque, while Delage would be positioned at the top of the luxury market. In January 1936, work commenced on a new eight-cylinder chassis that was intended to carry the most luxurious coachwork designed by the very elite of French carrosserie.

The existing 3,227 cc six-cylinder engine that powered the successful Delahaye 135 model was replaced by Delage’s impressive new 4.3-liter inline eight-cylinder engine, which set the standard for smooth and quiet running. Making operation even more luxurious, the highly successful Cotal electromagnetic pre-select gearbox was specified.

Within a short period of time, magnificent coachbuilt creations underpinned by the opulent D8-100 chassis, along with its slightly more powerful sister model, the D8-120, became the absolute queens of the French concours circuit.

This Delage, chassis 51760, received four-seat cabriolet coachwork from Carrosserie Henri Chapron of Paris. According to copies of Delahaye and Chapron documents on file, this Cabriolet was invoiced to Delahaye on July 25, 1939, for the price of 43,500 French francs, finished in emerald green with a red interior and a dark blue soft top. Although its earliest ownership history is unknown, after WWII, it was shipped to California, where it was sold to the Hollywood film studio RKO.

The car’s graceful styling earned it a role in the 1951 classic film An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly, who was chauffeured around in the imposing Delage. While owned by RKO Studios, the D8-120 also made appearances in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) and Carmen Jones (1954). In 1955, the car was acquired by Thol “Si” Simonson, a member of the RKO Studios production team.

In 1987, the Mullin Collection acquired the Delage from Mr. Simonson. After extensively restoring the elegant D8-120 and finishing it in its lustrous and highly attractive two-tone maroon color scheme, it earned an impressive Third Place award in the Chapron coachwork class at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. As a long-wheelbase variant of the flagship D8-120 model, this Delage is ideal for intercontinental touring. For the collector in search of a refined Delage with beautiful and original open coachwork by the prolific Henri Chapron, the search ends here.

*Please note that all of the Lots in this Auction have been in long-term static storage at the Mullin Automotive Museum and may not be currently operational. They will require mechanical attention and in some cases significant restoration prior to any road use.


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