2012 The Silverstone Classic Sale

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The unique ex Tom Delaney/Roger Dowson 1947 Chausson CHS 'Economy Car"

Lot No.: 135

Registration: 7327 WO
Chassis Number: 1001
Engine Number: 1001
Number of cylinders: 1
CC: 340
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Sold for (£): 11,200

During the Second World War the French motor industry was put over to war time production - firstly to make munitions for the French war effort and then, after the Fall of France, to manufacturing on behalf of the occupying German forces. Many of the design teams at various leading French companies were hard at work, in their own time, secretly designing cars for the post war years.

One such company was Societe des Usines Chausson, a presser of radiators and steel body components for many other manufacturers, they also built coaches. Chausson are still in operation to this day. Their "Project X2" was the single cylinder 340cc "CHX". It was a nicely proportioned and extremely well designed little "people's car". Immediately after the war there was a serious shortage of raw materials for motor car construction, so the pre-war racing driver and engineer, Tom Delaney, went with his Father to France and brought back this first Chausson running prototype, ‘1001'. Their plan was to examine the opportunities for production in England using their engineering company L.T. Delaney & Co Ltd in Cricklewood. The saga of these two gentlemen attempting to get the "Economy Car" into series production makes for sad, if heartening reading. Suffice it to say they were unsuccessful. However Chausson still exist today as makers of motor homes. '1001' is understood to be the sole remaining 'CHX Economy Car'.

Tom Delaney were clearly fond of this machine as he kept it right up until the 21st Century, when he gave it to long standing friend Roger Dowson who also had a great passion for it. It is offered for sale here in the Silverstone Classic Auction for the very first time in its history. The car is stripped of paint, apparently done by Tom's children who did not like its original deep maroon finish, and is in "as found" condition. It is being sold with a full set of spare wheels and six tyres and it also comes with six box files of history which include all of the blueprints and manufacturing details.There is also correspondence and photos that passed between Delaney and key people in the post war British Motor Industry. Delaney estimated that it would have cost between £300,000 and £400,000 to set up a manufacturing facility to build the car! We have here a very unusual opportunity to buy a unique piece of motoring history. Perhaps the best summation of this car came in "The Motor" of December 1st 1948:-

"This very interesting prototype car makes it quite clear that thoughtful design can combine comfort and good looks with low weight and compact overall dimensions....Serious attempts are being made to launch well-engineered miniature cars into the French market, and the need for extremely economical transport is and will remain very great in Britain also."