Ex-Dick Seaman Delage for Rob Walker
This historic racing car was a monster indeed. It was designed by Lory at Delage and produced 165 bhp at a phenomenal 8500 rpm. This car had the reputation of burning the driver's right foot because the exhaust had been repositioned by the designer to increase its power output. There were only two inches between the exhaust, which got red-hot, and the panelling. It frequently lost time in the pits when it had to come in to have a bucket of water thrown over the exhaust. It won GPs and was bought in 1935 with many spare parts by Dick Seaman on the advice of Guilioi Ramponi, Ascari's one-time mechanic. This was about the time that Delage went into voluntary liquidation. Ramponi modified the car extensively and Dick Seaman drove it on the Isle of Man and Pescara with success before he was invited to join the Mercedes racing team by Alfred Neubauer. During the winter of 1926/7 Lory redesigned the engine manifolds to put the exhaust down the left-hand side to solve the hot-shoe problem. This is how Henri modelled it.
The car belonged to R R C Walker, the car enthusiast and racing driver. Later he formed the Walker Racing Team which won many GPs in the post-war period. For him, the Delage was a particular favourite. Sadly, it came to a tragic end where it was garaged in Dorking one fateful night during 1968. Rob Walker had just acquired a Lotus 49 which had crashed on a rain-soaked track at Brands Hatch. It was returned to the Dorking Garage where during the night there was a fire which destroyed both the Lotus and the old Delage.
The model was made by commission during 1949 and was powered by one of the early production 2.5cc ERE diesel engines, and rigged for round-the-pole racing. This was the only model of this car that we made with this power unit. The model was originally sprayed French Racing Blue with an engine turned chassis. It was fully overhauled after much racing use and a 'flight' off a warehouse roof, at 60mph, onto the ground below! The livery was then changed to dark blue and silver. Most of the pictures here are of the model in its later guise, but the first is shown just after it was first built. The tyres were all wired and taped for speed and moulded in Henri's workshop, thus they were restrained from flying off the rims at speed! See Wheels and Tyres for details of the techniques employed.
The model Delage before delivery to RRC Walker 1948
Click on picture to see larger scale image
click on picture to see larger scale image
the Delage after decades of racing round-the-pole