27 April 2011

Le Mans-winning Delahaye highlights Marin Concours

One of Europe’s most rapid pre-war race cars – the 1937 Delahaye Type 145 V-12 coupe that won the 1938 LeMans 24-hour event – will be on display along with 175 other vintage and classic automobiles in the 3rd Annual Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, May 15, at the Marin Civic Center Fairgrounds.

Built by early 20th century French motoring genius Emile Delahaye as part of a then-renewed effort to advance France’s pre-war motor racing accomplishments, the 4.5 liter V-12 coupe was driven by premier French racer car driver Rene Dreyfus. The lightweight coupe also won the 1938 Dunlop Jubilee.

The rare Delahaye has been entered by the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation and is one of a number of Delahaye automobiles in the foundation collection.

The Delahaye 145 coupe is powered by a 4.5 liter, 220 hp V-12 engine that features magnesium components and three camshafts. This thoroughbred racing machine is one among several owned and raced in the late 1930s by expatriate American heiress and race car driver Lucy O’Reilly Schell and her husband Lawrence “Laury” Schell. They were the parents of the Formula 1 Cooper racer Harry Schell.

The Delahaye augments a field of stunning European and American classic vehicles displayed on the greens at the Marin Civic Center site. Rolls-Royce is the featured marque and event organizers will pay centenary tributes to two American motoring institutions – Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The six-car Indy showing includes the revolutionary rear-engine Cooper-Climax racer that finished 9th in the 1961 500-miler, with Sir Jack Brabham driving.

There will be a display of vintage motorhomes and trailers, classic wooden speedboats (in the site’s lagoon), ‘50s steel-bodied American station wagons, and a roundup of stately British motor cars and early Bantam microcars.

The Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance is a nonprofit fundraiser to benefit Hospice By The Bay and also will feature “The Drive,” a separate Hospice fundraiser to be held Saturday, May 14. Gourmet food and fine wine and beverage purveyors are set up to serve Concours visitors.

General admission is $20 for adults and free for children under 16.  Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For information, call (415) 479-7727 or visit the event website.

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