one-off hArD toP DArt UP for GrAbs

Elec­tro-hy­draulic re­tractable roof makes it a £50,000-70,000 car

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - David Brown www.bon­

A one-off 1960 Daim­ler SP250 with a re­tractable hard­top roof stars at the Good­wood Re­vival next month – and it’s up for sale!

The unique SP250 is of­fered at Bon­hams’ Good­wood Re­vival Sale on 10 Septem­ber with a £50,00070,000 es­ti­mate.

The car has re­mained in the same fam­ily’s own­er­ship since the con­ver­sion was car­ried out by Antony H Croucher Pre­ci­sion & Pro­to­type En­gi­neer­ing Co Ltd in the early 1960s.

AH Croucher, the ven­dor’s fa­ther, first ap­plied the idea of an elec­tro­hy­draulic re­tractable hard­top roof to a Ri­ley 1.5 in 1950. With the patent set to ex­pire in 1964, the new Daim­ler SP250 was bought in 1960 as the glass­fi­bre-bod­ied car was con­sid­ered ideal for con­ver­sion.

In ad­di­tion to the re­tractable roof, the con­verted Daim­ler was made into a four-seater and given a larger boot.

The car was fin­ished in 1963 at a cost of more than £30,000, with 1948 hours spent in the draw­ing of­fice and 3030 man hours taken up on the en­gi­neer­ing side.

The AHC roof could be raised or low­ered at speed, whereas other sys­tems re­quire the car to be sta­tion­ary. Although the con­ver­sion re­ceived good press cover­age, noth­ing fur­ther be­came of the sys­tem and, in 1969, the ven­dor pur­chased the car from his fa­ther.

Orig­i­nally the car had been car­ry­ing an orange and white paint scheme, but was re-sprayed sil­ver grey. Sadly, when the coach­works com­pleted the re- spray they were un­able to get the roof to op­er­ate prop­erly and, as it has to be shut to re­fuel, was tem­po­rar­ily fixed in the closed po­si­tion. It ap­peared in this con­di­tion at events in­clud­ing the SP250 50th An­niver­sary event at Gay­don in June 2009, and has also ap­peared at the Good­wood Re­vival.

The ven­dor’s brother man­aged to get the re­tractable roof back in work­ing or­der, and the Daim­ler comes with the in­ven­tor’s orig­i­nal notes out­lin­ing the con­cept.

one of a kind – the 1960 daim­ler/ahc sP250.

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