Mike Sayers

1927 DELAGE 15-S8


On a visit to Brooklands Museum Mike Sayers was impressed by the engine of a 1927 Grand Prix Delage which resides in the museum’s Jackson Shed. He decided that this was to be the project to follow his wonderful models of the engines of the iconic Bentley 3-litre and the 4.5 litre supercharged, widely recognized as two of the finest examples of model engineering of the past decade. Like the Bentleys the Delage engine would be made using conventional machine tools.

Some way into the project it was due to make an appearance at the 2020 National Model Engineering and Modelling Exhibition at Doncaster. Unfortunately,  Covid-19 put paid to that plan, but Mike has kindly shared some photos of progress to date. Expect to see more at Doncaster in 2021.

In 1926, new regulations required the use of 1.5 litre engines in Grand Prix cars. Designer, Albert Lory, took a different approach with Delage’s new car, with a supercharged straight-eight replacing the previous V-12. Dual overhead camshafts with two valves per cylinder working together with twin Roots-type superchargers, produced 170 bhp at 8000 rpm. The cylinder head was integral with the cast iron block, while the crankcase was aluminum. The billet steel crankshaft was supported by nine ball bearings, together with eight roller bearings.

Lory made some changes for the 1927 season and the twin superchargers were replaced with one larger front-mounted blower. The Delage was an instant success winning the Spanish, Italian, French and British Grands Prix. Such was the superiority of the car that none of Delage’s main competitors bothered to show up at Monza.

Brooklands Museum describes its Delage 15-S8 Grand Prix (1500cc supercharge straight eight) as one of four originally built for the 1926 racing season, including the very first RAC British Grand Prix, held at Brooklands and won by Robert Sénéchal and Louis Wagner in a sister car with the museum’s car finishing third.

Delage substantially modified the cars over the winter of 1926/27 and, in their revised form, they won the World Constructor Championship in 1927, winning five grands prix. Car No 2, driven by Robert Benoist, won the British Grand Prix at Brooklands, with second and third places also taken by Delages, and it is that winning car which was bequeathed to Brooklands Museum.

In 1929 the car had been purchased from Louis Delage by Malcolm Campbell and shortly after that by W B ‘Bummer’ Scott. In this car Scott achieved a Class F 24 Hour World Record at Montlhéry and a Class F 200 Miles World Record at Brooklands. It was later owned by Prince Chula of Siam’ cousin of Prince Bira, who dismantled it for an unsuccessful modernization.

Alan Burnard acquired the remains of the car in 1964 and began a lengthy rebuild. As first restored by him, it ran with an ERA engine, but he later reconstructed the correct Delage engine with which it is now fitted, though still driving through an ERA-type ENV pre-selector gearbox.

The museum would be grateful for any support for its plans to “rebuild, refuel and revive” the car.



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