1908 Delaunay-Belleville Type 16
Year of manufacture1908
French registration papers (as a historic vehicle)
Chassis no. 2255
- Rarely offered for sale
- High-quality restoration
- Luxury and refinement à la française
Founded by Louis Delaunay - who changed his name to Delaunay-Belleville after his marriage - the son-in-law of the industrialist Julien Belleville, the make also known as Delaunay-Belleville was based in Saint-Denis and built cars from 1904 to 1950, the year it closed down. Its original plan was to build very up-market cars which could be recognised until the 1920s by their round or oval radiator. Very quickly, the French make stood out for its powerful engines and exceptional build quality. A pressurised lubrication system - which was unusual at the time - and the extremely careful machining of the engines made them particularly quiet and flexible. Delaunay-Belleville’s reputation soon extended outside France and it became the favourite marque of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
Initially equipped with four-cylinder engines, in 1907 six-cylinder units became the norm for their luxury models. The Type I was added to the range in 1908 and was available in two versions, the I4 and I6. This generation represented the majority of cars built until 1914.
The model presented here is a rare Delaunay-Belleville Type I6, fitted with the 2553cc six-cylinder engine. Monsieur and Madame B acquired their Delaunay-Belleville in 1972 from a Monsieur Faure. The car was then in fair condition, and judging by the photographs, the bodywork appears to have been sanded down and the paint partially stripped. Evidently, looking at the file for the car, Monsieur B had some difficulty determining the exact model and technical specifications of the car, as it was hard to find period documents, especially for such a rare model. It was only in 2002 in fact, following a meeting at Rétromobile with François Richer (co-author of the book La Delaunay-Belleville 1904-1947, un fleuron de l’automobile) that Monsieur B was able to find out the precise identity of his car. Richer confirmed the exact type and technical specifications of his Delaunay-Belleville. Unlike all the other cars in his collection, and 30 years after he bought it, the Delaunay had still not been restored. It was only during the 2010s that it would be restored to its former glory, the period parts which were retained and sensibly refurbished ensuring a high degree of authenticity. An imposing car at nearly 5m (over 16ft) long, in the end its owners spent little time driving it. The standard of finish and equipment promoted at the time is indeed most impressive. The padded seats are superb, while the BRC parabolic headlamps are immaculate. This Delaunay-Belleville invites you to set off on a journey.
Aguttes – Auction House in Paris
The Autumn Sale 2020 / 13th of December
On appointment only
Contact: +33 1 47 45 93 01 / [email protected]
The Auction Sale:
Sunday 13 December: 15:00 PM
164 bis avenue Charles de Gaullle
92 200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
For more information:
Contact: +33 1 47 45 93 01 / +33 6 16 91 42 28 / [email protected]