Minichamps MIN107116130 1937 Delahaye Type 145 Grand Prix - French Blue with Red and White Stripe on Hood Coachwork (1:18 Scale)
"For me, French automobiles of the 1920s and 1930s represent the pinnacle of 20th Century art and design - the artistic realization in steel, leather, and glass of a modern idea created at a moment when hand craftsmanship embraced the machine, and a spirit of optimism fueled an explosion in artistic and technical development. As an avid collector, the preservation of these rolling sculptures for the enjoyment and a pleasure. I relish the stewardship and preservation of their exciting histories."
- Peter W. Mullin, Mullin Automotive Museum
This is the first of four race cars built for the Ecurie Bleue Racing Team owned by Americans Laury and Lucy Schell. The Prix du Million was a one million franc prize offered in 1937 by the French Government to encourage French automobile manufacturers to beat the Germans, who then dominated racing. To compete according to the new racing formula, Delahaye developed a new chassis with an un-supercharged 4.5 liter V-12 motor.
On August 27th Rene Dreyfus put in the performance of his life at the Montlhery race track setting a new record with an average speed of 146.7kph over 16 laps. In Frances volatile political and economic atmosphere, he instantly became a national hero, celebrated throughout Europe.
The car then competed in the Grand Prix de Pau in 1938 with a first place finish beating the Mercedes Silver Arrows. Next came the Grand Prix de Cork with a first place finish followed by the Mille Miglia with a fourth place finish. World War II then engulfed Europe and racing stopped. The Schells returned their cars to Delahaye and race car specialist Fernand Lacour took all the cars to his shop.
The car traded hands, lost part of its original body and its identity was for a time difficult to establish, but careful research has revealed its true history.
Pre-order! Ship Date: August 2014.
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Historical Account: "Automotive Pioneers" - Emile Delahaye was born in Tours, France in 1843. He studied engineering in Angers, France. In 1869 he began work with his engineering degree in applied arts and crafts.
Emile Delahaye began business in Tours, France in the middle of the 19th century for the purpose of constructing engines for the ceramic industry. The company branched out and began constructing mechanical appliances such as pumps and engines. In 1888, Delahaye designed an internal combustion engine for the shipping industry. It was not until 1896 that Automobile production began for Delahaye. His first automobiles produced were powered by belt-driven single and twin cylinder engines.
Emile used motor racing to promote his vehicles. In 1896, Emile Delahaye entered the Paris-Marseilles race. Not only did he enter a vehicle his company had created, but he entered as the driver. The results were astounding, which truly speaks highly of the caliber and quality of the automobile. The demand for the vehicles began pouring-in and a second factory was opened.
Due to failing health, Delahaye was forced into retirement in 1901. This was a year after the second factory was opened in Paris. Since Delahaye had no heirs, management control was passed onto a young engineer named Charles Weiffenbach. Weiffenbach oversaw operations until 1954. In 1905, due to failing health, Emile Delahaye passed away.