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1930 Delage D8N

Chassis no. 34410
Engine no. 1307
Coachbuilder Henri Chapron Carrossier
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1st and current engine no. 1307
Manufacturer: DELAGE
Note: Type M7
1st and current chassis no. 34410
From 1931
to 1957
Plate: GO-399
Country: IT
9th March 1931
Owner: J. (JACK) SMITH & CO (GB)
Note: The car left Henri Chapron coachworks bound for Delage’s London agency J. (Jack) Smith & Co of 28 Albemarle Street, London W1
9th March 1931
1st and current interior
Material: Leather
Seats: Grey
9th March 1931
1st and current body
Coachbuilder: Henri Chapron Carrossier
Type: Two-door saloon
Colour: Two tone Blue-Grey
From 1939
to 1945
Note: During the war years the car served as a hackney carriage in the service of the Gordon Omnibus Company of 219 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, in the East End of London. This not only enabled it to keep running during a period of extreme petrol rationing, but also entitled its owner to a reduced annual road tax. Around this period its colour scheme was changed to the typical taxicab colours of black and yellow
From 1945
to 26th May 1954
Owner: Arthur Aaron Caplan (GB)
Note: Between 1945 and 1948 the car fluctuated between periods as a hire car and a private vehicle (with the accompanying increase in road duty). At some stage in this period it belonged to a Mr Arthur Aaron Caplan of Flempton Road, just off the Lea Bridge Road; his address is so close to that of the Gordon Omnibus Company that it suggests there might have been some connection.
From 26th May 1954
to 22nd June 1954
Owner: Albert Walter Childs (GB)
Note: In May 1954 the Delage changed hands and was briefly in the ownership of Albert Walter Childs of nearby Cann Hall Road, London E11
From 22nd June 1954
to 5th July 1963
Owner: Michael Thomas Bizony (GB)
Note: In June 1954 the Delage’s days as a humble taxicab in the East End of London were definitely over, and it had found a new owner – a Mr Michael Thomas Bizony – in a more salubrious quarter of London, Walpole Street, just off the Kings Road in Chelsea. The car stayed with him until early 1964, when it was acquired by John Graham Ireland of Aldwick Bay in Sussex
From 5th July 1963
to 1st March 1964
Owner: John Graham Ireland (GB)
Note: February 1964 Advertisement. The car was advertised by vintage car dealers Langton & King of Walnut Tree Stables, Runcton, Chichester, Sussex as “mechanically and bodily excellent, interior tatty”; the price was just £145
From 1st March 1964
to November 1964
Owner: John Richard Warth (GB)
Purchase price: £ 145 ?
Note: Belmont Grove, London SE13
From November 1964
to 1980
Owner: André Surmain (FR)
Purchase price: £ 150
Famous owner: Renowned restaurateur André Surmain, founder of New York's Lutèce
Note: Later 1964 the car was acquired – for £150 – by restaurateur André Surmain, the well-known collector of Delages (at one stage he owned 37 antique cars, a Paris omnibus and a 13.12 metre yawl named Honey). Born in Cairo of French parents, Surmain grew up in Paris, but moved to the United States after the fall of France in 1940. He served in the Office of Strategic Services (the major US intelligence agency during the war and the forerunner of the CIA). He was one of six OSS officers parachuted into St-Lô before D-Day. André Surmain was the proprietor of the Lutèce restaurant at 249 E 50th Street in New York, which after only two years in existence had been declared “one of the great restaurants in the world” by James Bond in Ian Fleming’s 1963 short story “Agent 007 in New York”.Curiously, when Surmain wrote to the London County Council to enquire about previous owners of the car, the reply was “as the car had not been licensed since 1957, the original file of registration documents for Delage car GO 399 was destroyed. The registration was renewed in 1963”. The Delage was shipped to New York – and, noted Surmain wryly, “the cost of shipping was more than I paid for the car!” The D8N was in such good order that he drove it from the boat to his garage. Surmain had 34410 restored to original condition in the United States, using as his guide the information (“dark blue and mid grey, grey cloth trim”) provided by Henri Chapron; 1964: Letter from Henri Chapron Letter from Henri Chapron attested the colour scheme applied to this car when it left his coachworks on 9 March 1931, bound for Delage’s London agency J. (Jack) Smith & Co of 28 Albemarle Street, London W1. May 1969 The car shipped back to France Surmain had the car shipped back to its native France by the French Line in May 1969. André Surmain sold Lutèce in 1973 to his partner André Soltner and retired to France, aged just 52; there he opened another fine restaurant, Le Relais de Mougins, a few miles inland from Cannes on the French Riviera, which soon gained two Michelin stars. Ironically for Surmain, cars were not allowed in the village of Mougins. Surmain also owned a farm and another restaurant “Foc e Fume” (Smoke and Fire) in Majorca, and the Delage was also housed there.
From 1980
to 19th June 1989
Owner: José Lesur Of Hardelot (FR)
Note: Former president of the marque club Les Amis de Delage
From 19th June 1989
to November 1989
Owner: Bruno Vendiesse
Note: The car was auctioned and purchased by the dealer Bruno Vendiesse
From December 1989
to July 2014
Owner: Pier Mario Meletti Cavallari (IT)
Note: This owner had the engine restored by Gianni Torelli Il Restauro of Campagnola Emilia (Reggio Emilia)
From July 2014
to currently
Owner: Private collection