The Delahaye years
1939: not a very good year for Delahaye, and a terrible year for the world
- André Vaucourt
- December 3, 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 135/145/155 - 1938: Delahaye wins the Pau and Cork GPs and comes 1, 2, 4 at Le Mans, 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
Delahaye 155 V12
1939 German GP
The 1939 racing season opened with the Monte Carlo rally, the 18th edition of this world-famous event. The result was unique: two cars were declared ex aequo, the Hotchkiss 686GS Riviera cabriolet of Jean Trevoux and André Lesurque, and the Delahaye 135 MS of Joseph Paul and Marcel Contet.
The two winning cars of the 1939 Monte Carlo rally, both classified as "1st".
The Paris-Saint Raphael ladies rally, and the Paris-Nice rally, both very popular in France, saw a most unexpected incident happening to lady driver Germaine Rouault: she was disqualified in the Paris-Nice for having opened her rear axle, but was allowed to enter the La Turbie hillclimb, which she won, despite strong opposition.
Paul at the start of the Pau GP, with his new look 46094.
Contet's car, 47193, at the Pau GP, now part of the Ecurie Francia. Contet is next to the man with the hat.
Mazaud and his modernised 47194 at Pau.
At the beginning of the year, the Ecurie Francia was formed by the three independent drivers and owners of their cars, Eugène Chaboud with the ex-Schell car, 46810, Marcel Contet with another ex-Schell car, 47193, and Joseph Paul with 46094, his own since 1935. A couple of trucks and a mechanic completed the team. The cars were modernised with a small heart-shaped grill, and all three looked very similar.
Chaboud came 1st in the Paris-Nice rally with his modernised 46094, now part of the Ecurie Francia.
|17-25 Jan||Monte Carlo Rally||31||135 MS Coupé||Paul/Contet||1st|
|7 Mar||Paris-Saint Raphael Rally||64||47192||Germaine Rouault||2nd|
|2 Apr||Pau GP||6||46094||Paul||5th|
|8/15 Apr||Paris-Nice Rally||2||46810||Chaboud||1st|
|7||135 MS cabriolet||Larrue||10th|
|10 Apr||BARC Road Race||?||47188||Rob Walker||DNF|
|14 Apr.||La Turbie hillclimb||9||47192||Germaine Rouault||1st|
|7||135 MS cabriolet||Larrue||9th|
|5/7 May||Coupes de Paris (final)||50||46094||Paul||7th|
|5 May||Grand Handicap Olazur||3||47192||Germaine Rouault||2nd|
|21 May||Antwerp GP||?||46810||Chaboud||5th|
|29 May||BARC Road Circuit||?||47188||Arthur Dobson||2nd|
|BARC Mountain Circuit||?||47188||Arthur Dobson||1st|
|4 June||Luxemburg GP||?||47194||Mazaud||4th|
|17/18 Jun||Le Mans 24 Hours||12||46626||Villeneuve/Biolay||6th|
|?||????? V12||Entered by Schell||DNA|
|25 June||Belgium GP||14||47194||Mazaud||5th|
|2 July||Angoulême Circuit des Remparts||38||47193||Contet||4th|
|9 Jul||ACF GP||30||48775 V12||Dreyfus||7th|
|23 Jul||German GP||24||48775 V12||Dreyfus||4th|
|6 Aug||Comminges GP||26||46626||Villeneuve||6th|
|20 Aug||Swiss GP||18||47194||Mazaud (2nd heat)||12th|
|22||????? V12||Luigi Chinetti||DNA|
|27 Aug||Liège Expo GP (trials)||-||48775 V12||Dreyfus||Race cancelled|
|-||48773 V12||Raph||Race cancelled|
Rob Walker came 3rd in the Mountain handicap with his 47188.
Just in sight of the Fouquets, on the other side of the Champs Elysées in Paris before the start: Germaine Rouault came 2nd in the 1939 Olazur rally in her 47192.
The Walker/Connell 47188 at Le Mans. They only came 8th.
What a sad end to this racing season, the Schells showing their new Maserati at the Swiss GP, and the last appearance of two V12s before the war, at the Liège meeting which was cancelled, and the threat of war more present with each day.
Lining up for the start of the ACF GP is 48775 with its characteristic face. Just behind us 48773 with the 'standard' look of the other three V12s.
Dreyfus driving to 4th place in the German GP, on 48775. The car was marked Ecurie Lucy O’Riley Schell.
Mazaud in his last race with 47194 at the Swiss GP.
On September 3 France and Great Britain declared the war to Germany. In October, Laury and Lucy had a terrible road accident in which Laury was killed while Lucy was seriously injured. But Lucy didn't give up. She sent the two Maseratis to Indianapolis for the 1940 500 miles, with two drivers, René Dreyfus and René Le Begue. Dreyfus failed to qualify, so only one car raced, which was shared by the two pilots, who finished in 10th position.
The Schell saga wasn't quite finished yet, as eldest son Harry became a well-known driver in the fifties before being killed at Silverstone in 1960. Lucy died in 1955. We have lost trace of the younger son, Philippe, and would very much like to know what became of him.
The last view of Mazaud's car, 47194, before it was requisitioned by the Nazis in 1940. It was never seen again.
On June 14, 1940, the Nazi troops marched into Paris, and a few days later, the Delahaye factory was under Nazi control. In 1939 and 1940, Delahaye produced mostly trucks and utilities for the French army and in 1941 as well, but now they would have to work for the invaders, albeit at a much slower rate. In 1942, the Nazis ordered Delahaye to produce the Hanomag tractor, at the rate of 100 per month. Materials and tooling were laid down, but not a single tractor was ever produced!
The Allies landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Paris was liberated in August 1944. The armistice was signed on May 8, 1945.