Delage D6-70 Spéciale #19 – Spark

1936 Delage D6-70 Spéciale #19
Pilots: J.V. Minardiere, L. Gérard
Team: Société R.V.
Race: 4th overall (1st in 3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1937
Spark - S0602 (resin)

Published 11/01/20

Though starting out by producing small and affordable cars in 1905, after WWI Delage shifted to big luxury cars. In 1930 Delage introduced the D6, and the model became the company’s most popular offering. As was the custom at the time, Delage produced the D6 as a bare chassis, and an independent custom body shop built the coachwork. The customer bought the chassis and then chose who would make the car’s body. The D6 initially came in two chassis sizes, and the engine was a 3045 cm³ L6. Delage produced the original D6 from 1930 to 1933, but by 1932 they introduced complimentary models to the range. The first of these was the D6-11, followed by the D6-65, 60, 80, 70 and finally the D6-75 in 1939. The last version of the D6 was the 3 Liter model, produced from 1946 to 1954.

The D6 was possibly Delage’s most popular model.

By the late 1920s the world was in a serious economic crisis, and obviously, luxury cars became hard to move. Delage did not escape this and needed financial help to stay afloat. The vital aid came in the form of an association with Delahaye, a much bigger manufacturer. However, by 1935 Delage was no more than a subsidiary of Delahaye, with most of their production line shifting to Delahaye facilities. That being so, Delage replaced the D6-65 with the D6-60 in 1935, and the D6-60 was effectively a Delahaye with a Delage badge. The D6-60 used a chassis from a Delahaye model, and had a L6 displacing 2335 cm³. The L6 engine was a Delage unit, and produced 56 hp. 

Car #19 came 28 laps behind the winning Bugatti “Tank”.

In 1937 Delage released the D6-70, which was basically a variation of the 1935 D6-60. The D6-70 used the same 3150 mm chassis of the 60 model, but the engine was slightly bigger. Also an inline-6, but displacing 2729 cm³, and rated at about 78 hp. As always, body styles and characteristics depended on the coach builder contracted by the customer. For 1936 Delage prepared a special edition of the D6, called the D6-70 Spéciale (chassis #50688). This one-off special edition counted on an enlarged 2984 cm³ engine, with a modified cylinder head. Figoni et Falaschi were responsible for the lightweight body work, and the car would debut at the 24 Heures du Mans of 1936. Yet, due to nation-wide strikes in France, Le Mans was cancelled that year. 

One you can see today, the other became scrap metal.

The one-of-a-kind became a show queen, nevertheless it would race the following year. In 1937 the French cousins Jacques de Valence de Minardiere and Louis Gérard wanted to race at Le Mans. So they established the Société R.V. racing team and bought the D6-70 Spéciale. Despite their inexperience they managed to finish in fourth place overall, and first in the 3 Liter category. 

Spark at it’s best – the D6-70 Spéciale is a jewel of a model.

So, another old clunker for the W-143 Garage, but most definitively a charming one. In fact, almost as charming as my Labourdette Aerodynamique. This is an old mold from Spark, but despite its age, detail level is top notch in my eyes. Honestly, it looks like a current model in terms of craftsmanship. It’s also a rare model to find, so I consider myself lucky to have found one.

PS: The real car still exists, totally restored, and sometimes is up for display.

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