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D8 SS Chapron Cabriolet
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  Delage D8 SS Chapron Cabriolet      

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:1932
Numbers built:99 (all bodies)
Designed by:Chapron
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:April 18, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionLouis Delage celebrated his finest hour when his beautiful eight cylinder engined cars dominated the 1927 Grand Prix World Championship. This success came at a considerable expense and to get a return on his investment, Delage launched a new range of very luxurious eight cylinder production cars at the 1929 Auto Salon in Paris. As he had done on the track, Delage was eager to take on the very best, so the new 'D8' was introduced as a serious competitor for the likes Rolls-Royce and Hispano Suiza.

The Grand Prix 'eight' was an engineering work of art, complete with sophisticated dual overhead camshafts. The production engine was a much simpler design with a single lateral camshaft operating the valves through push-rods. Its displacement was just over 4 litre, which was relatively modest compared the D8's intended rivals. Sporting hemispherical custom chambers and breathing through a single Delage licensed Smith-Barriquand carburettor, the straight eight produced 102 bhp at 3500 rpm. Fitted with five crankshaft bearings and a balancer, the new engine ran very smoothly and more importantly; very quietly.

Delage offered the D8 with a choice of three wheelbases to accommodate a wide variety of body styles. The chassis itself was of a conventional ladder-type design with an 'X-brace' providing additional rigidity. Suspension was by solid axles, semi-elliptic leaf springs and Hartford friction dampers all-round. Drum brakes were fitted on all four corners. They were operated by cables and featured Dewandre servo assistance. A four speed gearbox completed the mechanical package. Third and fourth were so called 'silent' gears. Like almost all European luxury cars of the day, the D8 was available with right hand drive only.

All D8s on display at the Paris Auto Salon debut were fitted with rather sober factory bodies. Fortunately the D8 could also be delivered as a rolling chassis and soon became a popular choice for all major coach-builders. Despite the difficult economic conditions, the eight cylinder Delage was a big hit with a wide variety of prestigious customers, ranging from artists to royals. In 1931 the range was expanded with the D8 S (for 'Spécial'). Using the shortest of three chassis, it featured underslung suspension and a high compression engine, which produced 120 bhp.

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  Article Image gallery (5) 36113 Specifications