This week, the mythical French luxury brand presented a version close to the series of its new model, the D12. In this ultra-luxury segment, Delage has already registered several orders.
Bugatti is finding one of its best competitors. The mythical Delage once again makes its name resonate at major automobile events. This weekend in Goodwood (UK), during the Festival of Speed, a four-day celebration of car beauty and sportiness, the brand unveiled its latest model, the D12.
As a Formula 1 homologated to the road
This model is the first to be launched since the end of the car production of the Delage in 1953, and it is called the D12. Exclusive – only 30 copies will be produced – and sporty – the top speed limits to 360 km / h – the D12 is located in the hypercar segment, such as the Bugatti Chiron, Pagani Hyuara or even the Koenigsegg Gemera. With a special philosophy: to approach the sensations felt at the wheel of a Formula 1 in a model homologated to the road. The dream will be worth small change of 2 million euros excluding taxes per copy.
This revival was desired by Laurent Tapie. Bernard Tapie’s son, who is passionate about cars and motorsport, has gathered investors around him, from big names like Xavier Niel or François Pinault to passionate SMEs like him.
“Bugatti was very well revived by Volkswagen 20 years ago. Delage deserved the same chance, entrusting us at his booth at Goodwood Laurent Tapie, between two discussions with collectors. We assembled a team of technicians and investors, very basic French, that is “The big difference with Bugatti. We have a pretty heterogeneous group. It’s a fundraiser that I made two years ago before I had done anything for my own funds.”
Three and a half years after the start of the project, Laurent Tapie is currently registering the first orders for his D12, including a French buyer and several Americans. He is thus expecting a collector’s client this Saturday, who comes to Goodwood to sign his order form, next to copy 000 of the D12 on display. And the French blue color of the car in the nose, reminiscent of Formula 1, is no coincidence: this car is, above all, a French car.
A model made in France
All development is carried out in Magny-Cours (Nièvre), in the technology park adjacent to the former Formula 1 circuit, by Benoit Bagur, the technical director. If Delage relies on well-known names, such as Exagon Motors, for the development, from the nose to the rear diffuser, “everything is homemade,” Benoit Bagur sums up. Even the atmospheric V12 engine was designed internally (there are few manufacturers these days for this kind of engines).
The engineer was based on the drawings made by Laurent Tapie and a small team of specialists’ highly specialized know-how in motorsport to design this D12. Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will carry out the development and behavior of the model’s circuit. For the goal is also to break speed records with this model which reaches 1100 horsepower. In the cabin, everything will be made to measure, from the bucket seat, steering wheel, pedals molded and installed according to the driver’s morphology to the interior materials and colors.
First delivery at the end of 2023
The schedule is very tight. “We started the project in January 2019, the first prototype rolled in May this year,” explains Benoit Bagur. “Here we went far enough to save time afterwards on the prototype, so that it was as close as possible to the final car.” Production will begin in the first quarter of 2023 before the first deliveries at the end of the year.
Delage does not disclose any figures, but the cost of developing the model is a double-digit figure, not even marketing, participation in events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the United States. For Laurent Tapie, the market is divided between Europe, the United States and the rest of the countries.
Another model is already in the boxes, less radical, with two seats side by side and not behind each other as on the D12. Another innovation: this second model has to be hybrid.