HB6 25CV Landaulet
Few car manufacturers played in the league of Market Delaunay-Belleville, which was not called the French Rolls Royce without reason. From 1904, the company, which had previously specialised in the manufacture and construction of steam boilers, also produced automobiles. The characteristic round radiator grille is also a statement to the company’s high-quality steam boilers.
From the outset, the company’s ambition was to play in the top league in the passenger car sector as well. Most models wore formal coachwork and were driven by chauffeurs; indeed, rival carmaker Fernand Charron once declared: “No owner ever drives his Delaunay – you just don’t.
After the era of the pioneers Panhard & Levassor and before the arrival of Hispano-Suiza or
Talbot-Lago, it could be argued that there were few cars of such quality as the
the Delaunay Belleville.
Delaunay specialised above all in the “six-cylinder”, which even then was associated with refinement and smooth running, and at times offered cars with displacements ranging from 2 to 8 litres.
The HB6 offered here, a 25CV with a displacement of about 4.5 litres, lies in the middle of this spectrum.
The body was made by one of the most respected coachbuilders of the time, Rothschild. The firm of J. Rothschild et Fils, headed by Messrs Rheims and Auscher, was responsible for a large proportion of the bodies mounted on top-of-the-range chassis such as Clément, Mors, Panhard & Levassor and Delaunay-Belleville. The “Maison” Rothschild was a pioneer in the use of aluminium for body cladding, replacing the traditional wood used for this purpose on horse-drawn vehicles.
In 1901, it created the original body style of the “Roi des Belges”, which was copied so often that it was quite simply one of the leading “carrossiers” of the Belle Epoque era.
The majestic Delaunay can look back on a lifetime in France, where, according to a 1965 invoice, it was acquired by the well-known collector Jackie Pichon from Clères en Seine-Maritime. Pichon was the son of Roger Pichon, the owner of the Auberge du Cheval Noir in Clères, who had established a prestigious automobile museum opposite his hotel since 1957. The collection once housed many wonderful and important machines. The Delaunay was later sold to a Mr Bruijn from Holland. He was the father of the well-known collector, enthusiast and founding member of the Concours de Palais Het Loo, Jan Bruijn. At that time, the car was missing its original bonnet, fuel tank, instruments and carburettor, and the radiator had been modified.
The restoration of the Delaunay was only started in earnest when Jan Bruijn began working on the car in the early 1980s, possibly after taking it over from his father at that point. The most important thing for Bruijn was that the car’s bodywork was renewed in a sympathetic way. The rebuild was very extensive and is documented by extensive invoices and correspondence on file, with the majority of the work being carried out by Martin van Klei. To ensure accuracy, van Klei frequently worked with Ousbey Carriages of Stratford Upon Avon, who undertook colour matching and assisted with the woodwork.
The finished car made its debut at the most prestigious concours of its day in Holland, the Paleis Het Loo, where it was awarded 100 points for best in class. Over the last decade, the car has been little used and remains in very good condition.
And although formal, with the rear landaulette folded down and thanks to the large window areas, the body can easily be transformed into an open and airy driving experience for the passengers and driver/chauffeur. Notable features of this magnificent car include matching Rothschild headlights and sidelights, a full set of period instruments, Michelin removable wheels, two spare tyres, OS speedometer and drive, Bosch magneto and coil and rear emergency seats.
The car can be viewed at our premises in 33415 Verl by appointment at any time. A lifting platform is of course available for this purpose.
Please contact us if you are interested in further information.
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