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

New Zealand Classic Car - - FEATURE CAR - Words: Ash­ley Webb Pho­tos: Adam Croy

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.

V8 heart

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.

Amaz­ing sound

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.

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