``ONE of the most beautiful cars conceived'' is a description by a historian of a bright orange 1930s French sports coupe now on show in Launceston.
The 1936 Delage D6 70 Coupe is a new addition to the display line-up at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania.
Museum co-director Brian Mathews said yesterday the Delage (named after the manufacturer Louis Delage) was special because of its art deco good looks but also for what it represented.
Mr Mathews said the vehicle was made in France when cars were one-off creations, designed and built by skilled coach builders, in a manufacturing process that has now virtually disappeared.
And the shape will probably never return, as cars are now mass produced using designs tested in wind tunnels to maximise aerodynamic efficiency.
Mr Mathews said this left no room for the Delage's ``flashy curves and tapering body''.
Mr Mathews's opinion is backed by historic car author and racer Anthony Blight.
In his book The French Sports Car Revolution , Blight says of the Delage: ``The result was one of the most beautiful cars conceived''.
The museum, at 88 Cimitiere Street, also has themed displays that change each quarter. The current theme of British Sporting Heritage will be replaced on July 1 with a display of Jaguar cars, called Grace, Space and Pace.