At the beginning of the 20th century they were among the most prestigious cars produced in the world, and perhaps the most desirable French marque. S.A. des Automobiles Delaunay-Belleville was formed in 1903 by Louis Delaunay and Marius Barbarou. Barbarou's family owned the boiler making company St. Denis in Belleville, with boiler design influences inspired by the company. Marius had experience working for Clement, Lorraine-Dietrich and Benz and was responsible for design and styling.
Most of the models were powered by inline-six engines, with a few four cylinder engines. A pressurized system of pumps and oil ways for lubrication was one of the first of its kind, most cars of the day having a drip system.
The Delaunay-Belleville were favorite automobiles of Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Other royal owners included King George I of Greece and King Alphonso XIII of Spain. Jules Bonnot, the famous French anarchist gangster, used a Delaunay-Belleville for his first hold-up.
By the late 1920s the Delaunay-Belleville had lost its prestige and converted to truck and military vehicles production.