Road car: Delahaye

Cruising on the open road

We should characterise the Delahaye as an extremely hearty and vivid motor car. Even in a run 'round the houses' the car leaps forward in a heartening way, and is clearly calling for straight roads and no hedges.

The shock absorbers were wound up for fast roads, so as soon as we reached open country we gave the car its head. We had considerable satisfaction from shooting-up fast but unstable American saloons, an easy task with the extremely rapid gear change, and found the car bounded up to 60mph.

A little more pedal pressure swings the needle round to 75mph, a really useful cruising speed. Crossing Salisbury Plain we kept the car running at a steady 80mph, which is 2900rpm, reaching the maximum (with windscreen raised) of 91mph on the longer straights and dips in the road. The harder the car was driven the more it seemed to like it. We unblushingly admit to averaging 57mph for some distance on the sweeping, deserted roads of Hampshire.
August 1936

Whit Monday at Brooklands

Then followed an interesting contest to ascertain which really is the most potent road-equipped car — obviously not, as the race card had it, the fastest car, or a timed half-mile would have sufficed. Actually, entrants drove a race over three-and-a-half Campbell Circuit laps, then a race over five Mountain Circuit laps, and the best time gained the day.

In the first race, there was nothing in it between Arthur Dobson's Delahaye and Hugh Hunter's Alfa, Hunter just winning.

Just before the start of the second race, spectators noticed flames coming from the Delahaye, Dobson oblivious until officials shouted to him to leap out. The flames were severe but quickly extinguished. Full marks to Dobson for climbing in again and starting in the race. After a lap he led, while poor Hunter retired with a broken gearbox.

Dobson averaged 71.15mph to win the combined contest, proof of the superior performance of the Delahaye marque, the sales success of which should now benefit.
June 1939