1964 Daimler SP250 ‘Dart’
The history of Daimler dates back to the late 1800’s. In 1893 the British businessman Frederick Simms established the Daimler Motor Syndicate Ltd in London, however, at that time the company neither manufactured vehicles nor engines. In 1895, Henry Lawson provided an investment capital and Daimler Motor Syndicate Ltd became British Motor Syndicate Ltd, as a subsidiary of the Great Horseless Carriage Company, a company founded to promote the new vehicle industry and acquire licenses and patents. Next the company acquired the British Daimler and Maybach patents. The following year, on 14th January 1896, Henry Lawson founded the Daimler Motor Company Limited which acquired the rights to the Daimler patents from the British Motor Syndicate Ltd. In 1897 the Daimler Motor Company Ltd. started production in Coventry (UK) making it the oldest British automobile factory.
For the foreseeable future Daimler remained the only automotive brand operating throughout the British Empire. As a side note, Henry Lawson and Frederick Simms also founded the Motor Car Club of Britain in 1895, which held its first London to Brighton car run, the ‘Emancipation Run’ on 14th November 1896. This event is still being held today.
The early years were not easy. The first Daimler engined cars left the factory in March 1897. By mid 1897 Daimler in Germany were in financial difficulty. They began asking for accounts to be settled and refused to send working drawings of their new engine. These financial difficulties led to a reorganisation of the company in 1898 and again in 1904. A new company was founded with a new board of directors which acquired the old company and paid for its debts and wind up costs.
In 1900 Daimler sold its first car to a member of the British Royal family, Edward VII. The car was a 6hp, 2 cylinder, 1527cc fitted with a ‘mail phaeton’ body. When King Edward bought his second Daimler, he granted Daimler a Royal Warrant to provide cars to the British monarch, a privilege it kept until the 1950’s.
Like most manufacturing companies, Daimler was significantly impacted by both the first and second World Wars. In 1937 Daimler introduced new saloons with a fresh new design. These cars were quite successful and they continued to produce limousines for the royal families of Europe as well as various embassies and consulates. The public however slowly started to turn away from Daimler. Its cars were perceived as boring and expensive compared to some of the other manufacturers like Jaguar for example which seemed to know exactly what the public wanted. Daimler continued to struggle through difficult times right through until the late 1950’s
As a last attempt to save the company, Daimler decided they needed something different. They had many talented engineers, one of them being the group automotive managing director, Edward Turner. He, together with Jack Wickes, were given the task to come up with a radical new design. In addition to designing a new car they ended up designing two legendary new V8 engines, a 2.5 litre and a 4.5 litre. The latter was used in the Daimler Majestic and called the Majestic Major, which was an interesting car in its own right. The second smaller engine was to be used in an all new Daimler V8 sports car.
Daimler’s new sports car made its world debut at the International Automobile Exhibition in New York on 4th April 1959. The car was christened the ‘Dart’, however, Chrysler objected to Daimler using the name as they had previously registered this name for one of their own cars. Daimler then decided on a new name and in line with the company tradition, named their car the SP250. Surprisingly its new car was built with an all fiberglass body. The Daimler SP250 was built from 1959 until 1964 and a total of 2,654 cars were built. As it turned out, the SP250 became the last car produced by Daimler before the company was acquired by Jaguar.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to confirm the sale of this lovely 1964 Daimler SP250. This car is a rare Australian delivered, factory right hand drive, late model ‘C’ spec example that comes with its original hard top.
- Daimler SP250