An unusual luxury classic at a bargain price, this Daimler is worth a look despite its quirky gearbox, reckons our tester, Chris Hope
For those uniniatied with these Fifties Daimlers, the best way we can describe them is primitive but surprisingly useable. There are areas that require attention here, though none that we feel would embarrass this car’s next owner on the show field. For those contemplating using it regularly though, we’d recommend adding front lap belts and having indicator units fitted to complement the working trafficators.
The two-tone paint – bottom half black and grey (almost champagne) bonnet, door tops, roof and bootlid – appears original and largely presents well, though it has dulled in a few places, including the front wings. Areas such as where the offside rear wing meets the end of the bootlid have paint chips, likewise the edges of both the rear doors where they meet the B-pillars. The silver coachline is unbroken and the attention-grabbing fluted grille is free from pitting, as is the front bumper, though quarterlights and door handles display greater evidence of ageing. All panels are free from dents and evenly gapped while the body appears solid, with no corrosion to be seen anywhere.
A lot of what is found within the cabin is patinated rather than damaged. Starting with the large leather front seats and rear bench, there’s plenty of creasing and the dye is wearing away in several places, but they remain comfy. The fabric (rather than rubber) door seals are threadbare in places while the base of the headlining has lifted in the area surrounding the rear windscreen. Nonethless, it feels welcoming and luxurious. Carpets are immaculate and the wooden dashboard and door cappings, though in need of fresh varnish to restore their shine, are largely undamaged. The three-spoke steering wheel too is free from cracks and crazing.
The engine bay is presentable with no leaks, though the bright red metal pipework won’t please purists. Both the bulkhead and inner wings appear to be free from corrosion. Ignition coil and HT leads appear to be recent additions and the electrics have been converted to negative earth.
With plenty of torque on offer, acceleration from the straight six is strong and power delivery is free from flat spots. The pre-selector gearbox moves more easily up and down its ratios than others we’ve tried and is smooth in operation. Steering is lower geared but not onerous to use, it’s as precise as you can reasonably expect from a system whose design is this old. The same applies to the brakes; far from sharp by modern standards, but they pull the car up smartly without pulling to either side. It rides well too; there’s plenty of bounce in the springs, though nothing that suggests wear in the suspension.
The V5 shows five former keepers. History is largely limited to work carried out over the past ten years, with numerous invoices for work by Kingsdown Garages in Oxfordshire, including fitting a reconditioned radiator. In 2018, more than £650 was spent overhauling the suspension. Included with the car’s history is a series of period service manuals.
Price £7750 Engine 2433cc straight-six, ohv, Zenith 24T carburettor Power 75bhp @ 4000rpm Torque 124lb ft @ 2000rpm 0-60mph 20.4sec Top speed 81mph Fuel consumption 15-22mpg Length 4496mm Width 1664mm