Delahaye was one of the earliest carmakers. It began building belt-driven cars while at the Brethon locomotive works, in Tours, during 1894. These early cars proved so encouraging that the company entered a car in the 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris race, where Delahaye ended up finishing sixth and eighth. The company concentrated on building racing and luxury cars, which by the 1930s were considered some of the finest in the world.
In the lead-up to WW2, the company fought hard against the silver arrows with its Type 145 powered by a 4.5-litre V12 with three camshafts, pushrod-actuated valves, dual ignition, and triple carburettors. The road cars were gorgeous and invariably featured coachbuilt bodies and outrageous specification sheets to suit their top of the line price-tags. After WW2, the company carried on after it left off, but its large-engined cars were punished by French taxation laws, leading the company to encounter tough times. Delahaye countered this by its own smaller off-roader in 1951, but it was very much the last throw of the dice - and in 1954, it was taken over by Hotchkiss, leaving the Delahaye name to disappear completely in 1956.