Louis Delage was a graduate of the 'École des Arts et Metiers' (School of Arts and Trades), a hard-working, passionate, intransigent and ambitious man who also loved speed. Even though he deeply believed in the promotional possibilities of motor sport, his company was also the epitome of luxury and refinement, to the extent that it became the incarnation of "la belle voiture française"; of which the Aérosport is one of the most graceful examples, proving that the tenets of streamlining were not limited to North American models.
In 1905, Louis Delage formed a partnership with Augustin Legros founding the company that would take his name and leaving him to concentrate primarily on the conception of racing automobiles. This was a wise decision; his automobiles would quickly gain recognition, particularly thanks to victories at the French Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. This success would provide him with a solid base for developing more touring-orientated models.
The first of which was the CO, a model produced in 1922, based on a competitive 5 liter engine racing version and one of the first cars to be fitted with front-wheel brakes. This was later developed into a colossal 12 cylinder 10.7 liter version which, on July 1924, would become the fastest automobile in the world, reaching 145 mph.
Being resolute in his desire to continue on the Grand Prix circuit, Delage applied to compete in the 2 liter category for the years 1923 to 1925. This led to the birth of the 2LCV, powered by a spectacular V12 engine with four overhead camshafts driven by plethora of gearwheels - using about a hundred ball bearings! The gamble paid off, as in 1925 Benoist won the ACF Grand Prix behind the wheel of this model. The World Constructors Title then followed in 1927, thanks to a new single-seat, in-line 8 cylinder 1 500 cc version.
To be continued...