Delage wants (again) to make a name for itself in the luxury car market

The mythical French luxury brand presented this week a version close to the series of its new model, the D12. In this ultra-luxury segment, Delage has already recorded several orders.

Bugatti is about to find one of its best competitors. The mythical Delage is once again making its name resound at major automotive events. This weekend in Goodwood (Great Britain), during the Festival of Speed, a four-day celebration of automotive beauty and sportiness, the brand unveiled its latest model, the D12.

Like a Formula 1 homologated for the road

This model is the first launched since the end of automobile production by Delage in 1953, and is called the D12. Exclusive – only 30 copies will be produced – and sporty – the top speed borders on 360 km/h – the D12 is positioned in the hypercar segment, like the Bugatti Chiron, Pagani Hyuara or even Koenigsegg Gemera. With a particular philosophy: to approach the sensations felt at the wheel of a Formula 1 in a model homologated for the road. The dream will be worth the trifle of 2 million euros excluding taxes per copy.

This revival was wanted by Laurent Tapie. Passionate about automobiles and motor sports, the son of Bernard Tapie has gathered around him investors, from big names like Xavier Niel or François Pinault to passionate SME bosses like him.

“Bugatti was very well revived by Volkswagen 20 years ago. Delage deserved the same chance, confides to us on his stand at Goodwood Laurent Tapie, between two discussions with collectors. We brought together a team of technicians and investors, very essentially French, that’s the big difference with Bugatti. We have a rather disparate group. It’s a fundraiser that I did two years ago, before I had done everything on 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 client this Saturday who will come 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), at the technology park which adjoins the former Formula 1 circuit, by Benoit Bagur, the technical director. If Delage relies on known names, such as Exagon Motors, for the development, from the nose to the rear diffuser, “everything is homemade”, summarizes Benoit Bagur. Even the atmospheric V12 engine was designed in-house (there are few manufacturers these days for this kind of engine).

The engineer started from the drawings made by Laurent Tapie and the very specialized know-how in motorsport of a small team of specialists to design this D12. The Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve must carry out the development and the behavior on the circuit of the model. Because the goal is also to beat speed records with this model which reaches 1100 horsepower. In the cabin, everything will be made to measure, from the bucket seat, the steering wheel, the pedals molded and installed according to the morphology of the driver, to the materials and colors of the interior.

First deliveries end of 2023

The schedule is very tight. “We started the project in January 2019, the first prototype rolled in May of 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. possible of 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 provide any figures but the cost of developing the model is a two-digit number, not even counting marketing, participation in events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the United States. For Laurent Tapie, the market will be divided between Europe, the United States and the rest of the countries.

A second model is already in the boxes, less radical, with two seats side by side and not one behind the other as on the D12. Another innovation: this second model should be hybrid.

Pauline Ducamp at Goodwood

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