Émile Delahaye

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Émile Delahaye (October 16, 1843 – June 1, 1905) was a French automotive pioneer who founded Delahaye Automobiles.

Émile Delahaye was born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, in the Loire Valley. He studied engineering at Arts et Métiers ParisTech trade school in the city of Angers, the same school later attended by Louis Delâge, another automobile pioneer. For a time, Delahaye worked in Belgium, at the Crail Engineering works, a company known for making steam engines for locomotives, before returning to Tours following the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. Delahaye married in 1873. In 1879, he took over the Brethon Foundry and Machine-works, 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, eventually converting part of the company's production to the manufacture of stationary petrol engines. In 1894, he displayed his first automobile at the first-ever Paris Motor Show. It was one of only two motorized entries.

In order to gain publicity for his product, Delahaye raced one of his own cars in the 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris road race. Faced with health problems, Delahaye partnered with two industrialists from Paris, brothers-in-law Leon Desmarais and Georges Morane. By 1898, the new ownership relocated the automobile production from Tours to the industrial building in the Gobelin district of Paris that Desmarais and Morane had inherited. In 1901, Delahaye's poor health forced him to step down as preisdent. He sold his shares to his partners, and retired to the French Riviera where he died in 1905.

The company he founded would survive until it closed on December 31, 1954.

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