DAIMLER DA Z ZLER
In an effort to reinvigorate the Daimler marque after acquiring the company in the early ‘60s, Jaguar slotted Daimler’s 2.5-litre V8 into their Mk2 body and introduced a new model in 1962
In order to keep costs to a minimum the Mk2 Jaguar body shell only received minor modifications — including a revised rear valance to accommodate the V8’s twin-exhaust tailpipes, plus a few minor alterations to the engine mounts — but essentially, all body panels were shared with the Jaguar.
In terms of styling, and without going to the cost of a complete remodelling, there weren’t many options left for Jaguar other than to provide some level of cosmetic differentiation by adopting a ‘badge engineering’ approach. With this in mind, and despite the Daimler wearing many Jaguar Mk2 trim items, it got its own entirely redesigned grille consisting of the marque’s long-established sculptured flutes across the top of the surround. The grille was devoid of any engine-size badge — instead, this appeared on the boot lid in the shape of a redesigned traditional ‘Daimler’ script and V8 emblem. Following on from the handsome grille design, the chrome-plated number-plate surround also sported those trademark flutes. Of course, gone also was the leaping Jaguar mascot, instead sitting proudly on the top front edge of the Daimler’s bonnet was a newly designed and created ‘D’ emblem followed by a centrally located triangular-section chrome strip running the entire length of the bonnet.
To complete the Daimler’s fresh identity, new wheel trims were fitted boasting a chromed ‘D’ motif against a black background in the centre section. When optional wire wheels were fitted, hexagonal spinners were installed wearing the ‘D’ motif. Interestingly, in contrast to Mk2 Jaguars, very few Daimlers were fitted with wire wheels from new.
Moving through to the Daimler’s interior, the differences between the two vehicles becomes more apparent and quite easily identifiable — at least for Jaguar and Daimler aficionados.
For starters, there’s no centre console in the Daimler, in its place a small panel sits under the centre of the dash panel — this finished in walnut veneer to match the main dashboard. The panel houses the necessary heater functions as well as a pull-out ashtray and chrome-mesh speaker panel — the last item appearing on the side in later production cars.
Other differences included a split front seat arrangement, with twin centrally mounted armrests and recliners offered as options. Daimlers also shared the same steering wheel as their Mk2 cousin, the only difference being the ‘D’ badging in the centre. As well, unlike late ’60s Jaguars, the Daimler never suffered the indignity of vinyl upholstery — all were treated to full leather trim.
At the heart of the new project the Daimler boasted the light-alloy 2.5-litre V8 engine inherited from the sportier two-seater Daimler SP250. Designed by Edward Turner, this jewel of an engine truly complemented the car’s handsome and curvaceous body perfectly. The engine was modified slightly for its new installation, and included such changes as a revised sump, a viscous coupling cooling fan, a repositioned water pump, redesigned air cleaner and revised exhaust manifolds to clear the narrow Mk2-derived engine bay. The V8’s head-fixing bolts also had to be revised in order for them to be removed whilst the engine remained in place.
In addition, the new Daimler received a Borgwarner automatic transmission that was lighter, more compact and of later design than what was fitted to the automatic Jaguars. This unit remained the only gearbox available for the Daimler until 1967, when a manual/ overdrive box was offered as an option on the car when it was rebadged as the V8 250. Like Jaguar’s cut-price Mk2 models — the 240 and 340 — the V8 250 also received new, slimline front and rear bumpers.
Today, although not as collectable as its Jaguar cousins, the Daimler remains living proof of a clever move by Jaguar — the combination of well-proven and well-developed components made it possible to build a reasonably priced compact Daimler to fill the gap left by the previous Conquest and Century models.
To put it bluntly, the Daimler may have been considered a bitza when it emerged from Coventry back in 1962, but this stylish, luxuriously appointed combination proved to be one of the finest cars of its era.
Some readers may remember Wayne Marmont’s magnificent 1964 Mercedes-benz 230SL — as featured in Nzclassiccar, May 2013 — a car that stands as testament to his passion for fine automobiles.
The love of cars has always been in Wayne’s family as his father, Monty Marmont, was well known in the automotive industry from the ’50s through to the ’80s. Monty was also heavily involved with stock cars, and had a strong association with Western Springs Speedway for many years.