Car of the Week: Delage ERA

1927 Delage ERA

The Albert Lory-designed Delage 15-S-8, powered by a supercharged 1.5-litre straight-eight, was so brilliantly conceived that almost a decade after claiming the 1927 World Manufacturers’ Championship, the model was still winning races in the hands of the great Dick Seaman.

Its potency impressed Prince Chula Chakrabongse of Siam, who in 1936 acquired all remaining chassis for his cousin, Prince Bira, and asked Delage to build two more. The two ‘1936’ cars, chassis numbers five and six, featured the latest independent front-wheel suspension.

Number six was not built into a complete car, however, until it was bought by Reg Parnell in 1946. By 1949 it had passed to Rob Walker, whose plans to race it went awry when the original supercharger was replaced with a Wade unit that proved disastrously incompatible with the motor, and proceeded to wreck every spare Delage engine available.

Following this ill-fated experiment, the car was fitted with an ERA Type E four-cylinder engine with two-stage supercharger, and Walker campaigned the Delage with success for three years before selling in 1954.

The raucous Delage ERA was then passed between several knowledgeable enthusiasts, and was acquired by its current custodian in 2006.