The Delahaye years
1938: Delahaye wins the Pau and Cork GPs and comes 1, 2, 4 at Le Mans
- André Vaucourt
- October 17, 2013
- Delahaye - René Dreyfus and the upset at Pau, by Leif Snellman
- Delahaye 138 - 1933-'35: why Delahaye decided to go racing, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1935-'36: a new chassis for the luxury market, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1936: dominating the 1936 French racing season, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135 - 1936: Delahaye wins nine out of 18 races, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145 - 1937: winning big prizes, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145 - 1939: not a very good year for Delahaye, and a terrible year for the world, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145/155 - 1945-'46: after five years of war, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 135/145/155 - 1947-'48: racing with cars over 12 years old, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - What became of the Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48771?, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - The history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48775, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - The brief history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48772, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 145 - The short history of Delahaye 145 V12 chassis no. 48773, by André Vaucourt
- Delahaye 155 - Delahaye's 155 V12 chassis no. 48774: the worst car they ever built, by André Vaucourt
1938 Cork GP
1938 was the best year ever for Delahaye. After a modest start, with fifth place at Le Mans in 1935, it gradually climbed to nearly reach the top, scoring major wins in 1937 and 1938. But the V12s were very disappointing, despite the wins at Pau and Cork, the Million Prize Car was way ahead of the three others in top speed and reliability.
Halfway through the season, Delahaye decided to sell all the V12s, and this is why the cars were very slow towards the end of the season, the drivers having received instructions "not to break" them. From them on, Delahaye saw a steady decline in the sporting world.
The only photo we have of the two identical cars entered by Joseph Paul/Philippe Maillard-Brune (no.98) and Laury Schell/René Dreyfus (no.97). On the left are Paul and his wife, on the right is Maillard-Brune, waving. The photo was taken in Athens before the start.
Maurice Varet and René Dreyfus at the Mille-Miglia, in the Schell car, no.48772. They came fourth.
|25/30 Jan||Monte Carlo Rally||97||?||Schell/Dreyfus||DNF|
|15/20 Feb||Paris/St.Raphael Rally||?||47192||Rouault||1st|
|02 Apr||Coronation Trophy (final)||20||47192||Gerard||11th|
|03 Apr||Mille Miglia||152||48772 V12||Dreyfus/Varet||4th|
|09 Apr||British Empire Trophy||24||46094||Paul||9th|
|10 Apr||Pau GP||2||48771 V12||Dreyfus||1st|
René Dreyfus driving to victory in car no.2, his 48771, at the Pau GP.
Gianfranco Comotti driving car no.4, 48775, at the Pau GP, where he came third.
The fourth and last 145 V12, engine and chassis no. 48775, bodied by Lecanu in a very different style to the three preceding ones, was entered by the Schells in the Pau GP, its first race. As car no.4, driven by Comotti, it finished third.
It ran in just two more races in 1938, and took part in three in 1939. It was then seen again at the Saint Cloud GP, still with the same Lecanu bodywork.
Rebodied in 1949 by Valta, it was entered in five races during 1949-'50. Motorised by Delahaye with a 4.5-litre 6-cylinder 175S engine, it won the Comminges GP at the hands of Charles Pozzi.
After its racing career, it was rebodied as a town car with a Ford Comete body and a 235 engine, then sold to Serge Pozolli, who partially reconstructed it into a racing car and sold it on to Jim Hull and Peter Mullin in 1987. It is now in the Peter Mullin museum in California.
Dreyfus, driving the winning car at the Cork GP, no.14, 48771.
Comotti's car, no.12, 48775, at the Cork GP. He didn't finish.
“Le Bolide”, seen for the first and last time at the Tripoli GP, car no.12, 48773, was driven by Dreyfus instead of Schell, when his own car, 48771, broke down.
|22 Apr||Cork GP||14||48771 V12||Dreyfus||1st|
|08 May||Coupe de Paris, 2nd series||96||47194||Mazaud||2nd|
|07 May||Junior 200 Miles Trophy||11||46094||Mongin||DNF|
|15 May||Tripoli GP||12||48773 bolide||Schell no Dreyfus||7th|
|22 May||Antwerp GP||14||47194||Mazaud||1st|
|05 June||GP des Frontières, Chimay||14||47194||Mazaud (1st Sport)||2nd|
|18 June||3 Hours Light Car Club||15||47188||Willing/Jarvis||1st|
|18/19 Jun||24 Hours Le Mans||15||47190||Chaboud/Tremoulet||1st|
|19 June||Ars Hill Climb||?||46625||Benazet (Sport)||1st|
|03 Jul||ACF GP||30||?||Dreyfus||DNA|
|9/10 Jul||Spa 24 Hours||8||47194||Mazaud/Ravenet||accident|
|24 Jul||German GP||20||48771 V12||Dreyfus||5th|
They are practically all there, at the Antwerp GP. Mazaud in car no.14, 47194, won the race.
Chaboud and Tremoulet, in car no.15, 47190, with Serraud and Giraud-Cabantous, car no.14, 46084, after their victory and second place at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The crashed 47190 of Chaboud/Tremoulet at Spa.
No photo of the Delahaye 155 at the German GP, since the monoplace only practiced. This is what it looked like.
The new monoplace, type 155 V12 no.48774, designed by Jean François at the request of the Schells, was a big disappointment. At the German GP, it could hardly hold the road and didn't take the start. It had a few owners after the war and was engaged in a dozen races, but it only completed one race, in 7th and last position, driven by its owner André Simon. It ended up in a scrapyard and was never seen again.
Here are the two V12s before the race for the Coppa Acerbo. They always travelled in the Delahaye truck and trailer, never by road. Unlike most of the 135S racing cars they weren't road-registered.
Dreyfus driving no.18 at the Swiss GP, he only came 8th.
|2-6 Aug||Paris-Nice Rally||9||47192||Rouault||4th|
|05 Aug||La Turbie hill climb||23||48773 V12||Dreyfus, Course||2nd|
|24||48772 V12||Dreyfus, Sport||4th|
|07 Aug||Coppa Ciano, Livorno||48||48771 V12||Dreyfus||5th|
|14 Aug||Coppa Acerbo, Pescara||48||48773 V12||Comotti||4th|
|21 Aug||Swiss GP||18||48775 V12||Dreyfus||8th|
|11 Sept||Paris 12 Hours||12||46626||Villeneuve/Biolay||2nd|
|17 Sept||BRDC Race Brooklands||22||47188||Charlie Dodson||5th|
|24 Sept.||Dunlop Jubilee|
|First race||1||48772 V12||Dreyfus||?|
|25 Sept||Lapize hill climb||120||46625||Benazet||1st|
|15 Oct||Brooklands Handicap||1||47188||Dobson||3rd|
|22 Oct||Donington GP||9||48774 mono||Dreyfus||DNF|
Mesdames Rouault and Itier getting their 47192 attended to during the gruelling Paris 12 Hours. They came in third.
Dreyfus and his monoplace V12, 48774, its first race at the start of the Donington GP. He didn't finish.