Brian Finglass was enquiring last month about a sports/racing Delage which he sold to Pat Garland, an Englishman living in Paris.
In May 1948 I was in the Montlhery Pits during a mixed car and motorcycle race meeting, getting in the way of some chums who were running a Manx Norton ridden by that ace “Bol d’Or” champion, “Tatave” Lefevre. The principal opposition was a Guzzi ridden by Jean Behra. The Guzzi was miles an hour faster but fortunately threw a chain (of Italian make, I hasten to say), allowing “our” Norton to win.
Fired with patriotic pride at this success, imagine my joy at finding a Delage in British racing green running in the main “free formula” race for cars. It had turned up late, Garland explaining that he had fitted new pistons overnight but was hoping for the best. The race was dominated by Chiron and Giraud Cabantous in a pair of very new monoplace Talbot Lagos, and I can still recapture the thrill of seeing these rumbling monsters orbiting at what seemed impossible speeds around the rim of the banking, before hurling themselves down the Pit straight.
The Delage ran very well in spite of its stiff engine, but then it always did because it was a very good car indeed. However, I am sure it was not the Delage in which I saw Louis Gerard win the 1938 TT at Donington. Garland’s car was more upright and less dashing in appearance. Before he owned it, it had run in that mis-named 1939 “Fastest Road Car” event at Brooklands, finishing third behind the Rob Walker Delahaye and the Hugh Hunter Alfa.
Garland graduated to a monoplace Talbot Lago, and I believe the Delage went to the States. It should still be there, but I wonder if anyone knows what happened to Pat Garland ? A fascinating character, much beloved by the French for whom he represented everything they had ever heard (and a bit more that they hadn’t) about the eccentricities of the British. Georges Grignard, the Talbot driver, once told me that Garland never went motor racing without a large travelling bag, bulging with provisions and clothing for an overnight stay, all of which had to be stuffed with him into the Lago’s cockpit. Apparently Garland explained that life was full of surprises and that especially in a motor race one could never be sure where one might end up, so he prepared for every contingency! “He didn’t care”, said Grignard, “whether he finished or not; it was all a huge joke.”
Obviously a man who just loved motor racing; it would be good to know more about him.
Callington Anthony Blight