This week Aestheticons contributor, Grant Calton, takes us under the bonnet of his Daimler V8 250 to dispel a confusion and to give an attractive option to those seeking an everyday classic car.
The Daimler V8 250 is, for clarity, not the “Morse car” as I often have to tell admirers of my own maroon 1965 example. But it’s an easy to mistake to make as the bodyshape is identical to the Jaguar Mk 2, only differentiated externally by the fluted chrome radiator grill, rear number plate surround and badged wheel trims and in the cabin the split-bench front seat and a black enamel steering wheel.
For years I thought Daimler was a German company but it was founded in 1896 in London and bought the rights to use the “Daimler” name from the German company, Gottlieb Daimler. In 1902 it began to provide cars to the British Monarch, under a Royal Warrant, which it continued to do until the 1950’s when whoever makes such decisions in the Royal Household, decided to switch allegiance to Rolls-Royce.
In the early years of the company, after some financial troubles, Daimler was purchased by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) in 1910 and was merged with the Lanchester Motor Company in 1933.
Back to the 60’s and the subject at hand. The 2.5 V8 was the neglected child of a marriage of convenience that should have spawned a happy family. When Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons acquired Daimler in 1960 (more down to his desire for the company’s factories rather than the Daimler badge) he faced a dilemma. The rather crusty old Daimler marque desperately needed a modern new model, so in 1962 Lyons took the splendid 2.5 litre V8 engine from the 2 seater sports car, the Daimler SP250 (or Dart as it was known), and popped it into what was marketed as a super luxe Mk2 Jag.
The 2.5 V8 was produced from 1962-67 could suavely slip to a top speed of 112 mph achieving 0-60 mph in 13.6 seconds. It was priced in the UK at £1,647 – by way of reference I recall in the same year a Mini was £695 and Rolls Royce Silver Shadow 1 was around £6,000.
In 1967 the Daimler was rebadged the 2.5 V8, with some minor facelifts, and stayed in production until 1969 when it was replaced by the Daimler Sovereign (essentially a Series 1 XJS). They churned out 17,600 in the V8’s 7-year life, making it the best selling Daimler ever.
In 2017 mine is a perfect everyday classic and still around half the price of an equivalent Mk 2 Jag. Bargain!