Tag Archive: delahaye


Benjamin B Hotchkiss (1826 – 1885) was born in the USA and moved to France after the American Civil war.

In 1867 , he founded the company Hotchkiss et Cie specializing in the manufacture of military equipment especially cannons and guns. One of the famous unit was the Hotchkiss revolving gun

A Hotchkiss Revolving Gun

Around 1900 , Hotchkiss entered automotive business by manufacturing and supplying engine components to car companies like Panhard-Levassor and De Dion-Bouton.

Prodded by a few car dealers , Hotchkiss started manufacturing their own cars in 1903. The first car was a Hotchkiss 17 CV.

An early version of the Hotchkiss car –

Hotchkiss followed the “one model” policy till 1929 when they introduced multiple models.

In 1948, Hotchkiss bough the license of a front wheel drive technology from Gregoire and the luxury car Hotchkiss-Gregoire was introduced.

In 1955 , another Luxury model Hotchkiss Anjou was introduced.

Dwindling volumes and teething problem led to the downfall of the Hotchkiss cars.

In 1954 , Hotchkiss merged with Delahaye to form Societe Hotchliss-Delahaye. By 1995,, Hotchkiss was taken over by Brandt and was making Jeeps under license.
In 1966 , the Hotchkiss brand was taken over by Thomson – Houston.
However , Hotchkiss is known for major invention – the Hotchkiss drive.

The driveline construction of a Rear Wheel Drive vehicle design with 2 Universal joint fitted propeller shaft and the rear axle mounted on semi-elliptic leaf springs is credited to Hotchkiss and even now known as Hotchkiss drive. The Hotchkiss drive was simpler and less costly than the torque tube (De Dion Axle) of that time.

The Hotchkiss Logo – crossed cannons from the early years when they were making guns and cannons.

DELAHAYE – Sports & Luxury

Emile Delahaye (1843 – 1905), a Frenchman , got interested in steam engines and petrol engines. During 1894 , he manufactured his first automobile and displayed it in the Paris Motor Show.

In order to gain publicity , Emile Delahaye built cars and raced in the 1897 Paris – Marseilles race with a Delahaye 6 HP car.

Failing health made Emile Delahaye to quit the company in 1900. Automobiles Delahaye continued to make automobiles under the leadership of its Works Manager ,Charles Weiffenbach , known as Monsieur Charles. Monsieur Charles steered the company towards road cars and trucks. A 1908 Delahaye –

In the 1930s , in the midst of crisis in the French Auto industry , Delahaye decided to move in to sports cars . Engineer Jean Francois was given the project and thus born the famous Type 134, Type 135 , Type 138 cars with large 6 cylinder engines.


One of the famous such car was owned by actress Diana Dors , a Delahaye 178 –

After the war , Delahaye designed and developed a model to compete with the famous “American Jeep” , called the Delahaye VRL-“Vehicules Leger de Reconnaissance”.  Around 10000 of these VRLs were sold to the French Army.

The Delahaye logo –

Delahaye acquired the other French car manufacturer , Delage in 1935. In 1954 , Delahaye was taken over by Hotchkiss and the brand Delahaye slowly disappeared.