French perfection

Model of the 1½-litre straight eight nears completion...

40% scale Delage 15-S-8

Mike Sayers’ 40% scale Delage 15-S-8 engine will fire into life in the New Year

Before our trio of Delages meet again on the Brooklands banking, Abba Kogan and Paul-Emile Bessade pore over a miniature marvel: a hand-crafted scale model of the 15-S-8’s 1½-litre straight eight. It’ll run too, once the gearbox has been made and attached. Which is largely why model maker Mike Sayers is here. There’s in-the-metal research at hand.

“I’ve been building models of engines for 20 years,” says Sayers. “I started out as an instrument engineer, then worked for Esso before joining the family construction business which gave me time for what I really wanted to do. That was vintage motor racing, building full-sized ones.

“But then I got old and crochety and started building these. I’ve made a 3-litre Bentley and a Blower Bentley. I was looking around for something new and went to the 2017 Festival of Speed when five of these cars were there. Brooklands had the remains of the damaged No2 engine on a table for all to see. I had a look and thought, ‘That’s a decent project.’”

Sayers is grateful for access to Brooklands’ archive. “It’s all machined from solid; no castings,” he says of his model. “The detailing is as the original, except it’s on plain crank bearings.”

Kogan is impressed; email addresses exchanged. Sayers hopes to complete the project by next year to get it running “on the button”. Given the barrage created by the full-size version, we’re intrigued to wonder at the din it will make