Lot 628: 1930 Delage D6L Tourer
This Delage D6L successfully completed the arduous Peking to Paris Rally earlier this year, a 12,000-kilometre marathon that took 35 days to complete, receiving a bronze medal in recognition of its achievement. The Delage�s crew was one of 134 teams on the centenary event, which included cars dating from 1907 to 1960. Entrants were flagged away from Tiananmen Square on Sunday, May 27th, 2007, heading towards the Great Wall of China then north to the Gobi Desert and on into Outer Mongolia. Crossing the vast grassy plains of the Asian Steppes, through territory that has hardly changed since Prince Borghese gave local villagers their first glimpse of a motor car, they travelled through Siberia, Kazakhstan and Russia before arriving in Europe. This unforgettable motoring experience ended with a parade into Paris and a celebration at the Continental le Grand Hotel on Saturday June 30th, 2007.
However, the Delage�s participation was not merely about two men undertaking one of the toughest motor rallies in the world, it was also an opportunity to help raise money for the Wessex Heartbeat charity based at Southampton Hospital. This worthy cause has in recent years raised over �2 million to provide specialist equipment and support staff training, in particular for the children�s cardiac unit and ward, which cost over �1 million.
The Delage had arrived at the Peking start-line following over 1,200 hours and 13 months of hard work dedicated to transforming it from a formal saloon car into an open tourer suitable for long-distance rallying. Many different makes of car were considered, but when this one came up for sale it seemed the obvious choice: in the 1920s and 1930s Delage cars were not only famous for their racing successes but also for their strength and style. The right-hand drive D6L had originally been built for an Indian Maharajah and spent the first three years of its life in India. Its first owner�s special requirements - twin spare wheels mounted each side, the large folding luggage rack at the back and the beautifully made gearbox protection plate fitted underneath � are all still in place.
The car arrived in England in 1933, spending the next 20-or-so years in Yorkshire before being given to its owner�s chauffeur, with 19,000 miles recorded. In the 1960s it appeared on the Vintage & Sports Car Club register and was last used on the road in 1968. It was then acquired by two young men with the idea of restoration, but when the vendor bought the car nearly 40 years later only the chassis and parts of the engine had been restored. Of the original body, only the luggage rack, windscreen and parts of the wings were salvageable, the rest had to be scrapped.
One of the main changes has been the conversion from limousine coachwork to a Chapron-style four-seater tourer body, built by Autodove coachworks in Devon, while to give the extra ground clearance needed in rough terrain the suspension was altered to take 21� wheels. The 70 horsepower 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine has been completely rebuilt, and with its relatively low compression was found capable of running on the low grade fuel that is often all that is available in more remote locations. A robust Jaguar E-type clutch has been fitted to drive the four-speed gearbox, which together with an overdrive unit gives a comfortable cruising speed of around 55mph and 60-65mph where possible. An extra fuel tank has been fitted together with a duplicate fuel pipe system with change-over switch and two pumps, all to aid reliability, while one modern concession for such journeys is more comfortable front seats - taken from an MG saloon. A number of other improvements were incorporated with long-distance rallying in mind, including �assister� springs at the rear; twin spot-lamps; flashing indicators; reversing light; electronic ignition; twin SU carburettors; and a Brantz rally trip meter.
The car is presented in good condition throughout and offered with restoration invoices, current MoT/road fund licence and Swansea V5 registration document. Finished in blue with matching interior, it represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a thoroughbred Vintage tourer, fully sorted and of proven reliability, supremely suited to long-distance rallying.
Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles|
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£28750|
|Registration number||SN 6031|
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