french car manufacturer

Delahaye is a french production car manufacturer between 1894 and 1954, founded by Emile Delahaye in Tours in France. The very first cars, still derived from the form of horse-drawn carriages, are equipped with single-cylinder or twin-cylinder engines.

The cars of the French house are not innovative but stand out for their constructive quality, taking part in the Paris-Marseille-Paris in 1896. The company grew and was moved to Paris in 1898.

At the end of the nineteenth century Delahaye left the company to run to Charles Weiffenbach, until then a chief engineer. Emile Delahaye retires to a villa on the French Riviera, where she died in 1905.

Weiffenbach at the top of the company gives further impetus to Delahaye. The obsolete belt-driven transmissions with chain-driven ones are replaced by switching to the 4-cylinder engine. In the same period Delahaye also produces trucks, agricultural vehicles, fire engines and military vehicles from which the greatest profits for the company derive.

In 1935, Delahaye acquired the Delage brand, in crisis due to the great depression of the late twenties and used the valid technical solutions of the Levallois house that had made it gain a great reputation in the sports field, and also Delahaye gets great satisfactions, at the Montecarlo rally of 1937 and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1938.

The main character of Delahaye's sporting successes is above all the Type 135, produced both in various configurations in the luxury versions and also as a racing car. In the same period, the Delahaye gained fame thanks to the aerodynamic bodywork with daring teardrop profiles, the result of the creative inspiration of coachbuilders such as Saoutchik and Figoni and Falaschi.

The Delahaye which has managed to pass unharmed both the first world war and the collapse of the Wall Street Stock Exchange, does not survive the Second World War, from which it comes out proven also because of risky business strategies.

In 1954 the French company was taken over by Hotchkiss, which used it for a short time the brand for the production of trucks. Later the brand is permanently abandoned, marking the end of the Delahaye story.