1934 Delage D8SS
This car was really hard to get good photos of because Blackhawk's second-floor gallery is so dark. Eventually, I'll see if I have better ones than these.
Blackhawk Automotive Museum contains masterpieces as elegant as any that you will find in the finest museums the world over.
If you believe that statement to be filled with a hubris of hyperbole, then you are probably not a classic-car lover and mistake automotive masterpieces as unworthy of being considered art. Yet it is art. I've often mentioned this when discussing Blackhawk.
Already more than two decades young, Blackhawk has gained an international reputation for its legendary automotive collection.
One of the finest vehicles in its galleries is this 1934 Delage D8SS — the only one of its kind ever made.
And Blackhawk has it, in addition to many other very, very rare vehicles.
Not only were Delage autos among the finest ever made in France, but they were renown the world over for their artistic symmetry.
Of the Delages produced, the finest masterpiece was the D8 with its four-liter straight-eight engine that was introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1929, with production continuing until 1933.
The D8 was an auto of elegance and beauty, as you can see by these photos.
Blackhawk said such attributes inspired "coachbuilders," as auto designers were then called, "to create their most-stylish designs."
The D8 developed into the D8S, a 102-hp engine, only to have a power increase up to 118-hp at 3,800 rpm, according to Blackhawk.
Not content with that, the D8SS had a power increase up to 145 hp at 4,500 rpm. One could call it speedy elegance.
Just imagine taking this beauty on a coastal ride up or down Highway 1.
The beautiful coachwork in this Delage resulted from a partnership with the skillful coachbuilders Fernandez & Darrin that reached its golden age with this special model.
"The coachbuilding firm of Fernandez & Darrin was formed through a partnership between American designer Howard 'Dutch' Darrin and Mr. Fernandez, a Parisian banker," Blackhawk notes.
Darrin was a former partner of the Hibbard & Darrin coachbuilding company, which Blackhawk said created "concours-winning body designs for the chassis of Europe's most-prestigious luxury marques."
The beautifully elegant cabriolet shown in this post "has a removable panel over its front seat and length that is accented with polished aluminum on the hood and belt molding," Blackhawk notes.
"The Lalique crystal radiator mascot, 'Tete de paon,' depicts the proud peacock's head in profile," Blackhawk states.
7-cylinder, straight-eight, OHV
3.03" bore, 4.29" stroke
247 cubic inch
145 hp at 4,500 rpm
Fernandez & Darrin
Courbevoie, Seine, France
Price when new: $3,000 (chassis only in 1934 dollar valuation).