Emile Delahaye

16/10/1843 - 1/6/1905

Record updated 16-Oct-06

Emile Delahaye was a French automotive pioneer and racer who founded Delahaye Automobiles.

Emile Delahaye
Emile Delahaye was born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, in the Loire Valley. He studied engineering at a trade school in the city of Angers, the same school where another automobile pioneer Louis Delâge later attended. For a time, Emile Delahaye worked in Belgium before returning to Tours where he was married in 1873. In 1879, he took over a local business specializing in the manufacturing of brick kilns and related equipment for the ceramics trade. Delahaye experimented with steam and internal combustion engines and in 1888, he designed an internal combustion engine for the shipping industry, eventually converting part of the company's production into the manufacturing of stationary petrol engines. In 1894, he displayed his first automobile at the first-ever Paris Motor Show. At this time, there were 75 workers in the Delahaye workshop at 34, rue du Gazomètre in Tours.

In order to gain publicity for his product, Delahaye raced one of his own cars in the 1896 Paris-Marseilles-Paris road race.

Faced with health problems he looked for support and spoke to one of his customers, Georges Morane, who raced a Delahaye. By coincidence Georges and his brother-in-law Léon Desmarais, had just inherited a company in Paris from their father and father-in-law Paul Morane, and were looking for new outlets.

The deal was soon made, and the firm moved to  at 10, Rue du Banquier Paris in 1898, where it survived until 1954.

In 1901, poor health forced him to retire to the French Riviera where he died in 1905.

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