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The Carchive: The 1984 Daimler Lineup

Chris Haining November 20, 2015 Cars You Should Know, The Carchive 18 Comments


Sitting as I am peering through steam misted glass at a ceaseless slow rain, and mourning a sun which I’ve not glimpsed so far this month, I need something to perk me up and stoke my fire of enthusiasm once again. What better than a quick trip into The Carchive?

Last week we rather overdid it on Grey Poupon as we contemplated buying a Rolls-Royce in the early ’80s. Today we’re sticking with the decade, but twisting on the brand. For those who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) buy a Roller, there was always Daimler.

All images may be made a little more legible if you click ’em up real good.

“Some people may regard the juxtaposition of hand-crafted luxury with high-technology engineering as anachronistic. Such people have, in all probability, never enjoyed ownership of a modern Daimler car.”

Of course, this brochure doesn’t once mention the word “Jaguar”. Previously part of the BSA (Guns ‘n Bikes) empire, Daimler became part of Jaguar in 1960. Whilst a few models were dropped immediately after the takeover (including the) SP250 Dart a few others were seen as worth hanging onto. So, for a little while the Daimler name was applied to those Jaguar cars which were re-equipped with Turner-designed V8s, as well as still appearing on the Majestic Major, an honest-to-goodness Daimler from the ground up.

“The Daimler Double Six is unique in that it is powered by the world’s only production V12 engine”

I love the name, Double Six. It’s suggestive of whisky-fuelled evenings playing dice in a Gentleman’s Club and implies raffishness. The production V12 claim is an interesting one, though, and I guess its validity hangs around interpretation of the word “production”. Especially as you could also buy the slightly less posh Jaguar XJ12 instead.

Whatever, the V12, by now in its High Efficiency form after a bit of a fuelling and control rethink, had become a terrific engine, smooth, sonorous and deliciously powerful with 295 quoted horsepower.

“Readjustment of exterior driving mirrors, so often necessary in today’s crowded conditions, used to be a difficult chore to say the least. Not any more. The electrically operated remote control system fitted to the Daimler 4.2 and Daimler Double Six allows you to adjust either mirror whilst maintaining your natural driving position”.

This is by far the wordiest description of electric mirrors I think I’ve ever read. Considering that a certain Ford Sierras and plenty of other mundane machines had been carrying such technology for a good few years, you would have thought they’d wax lyrical about something else instead.

These cars were pretty richly equipped, though, with climate control, power glass (inc moonroof), cruise control. You could also forgo the analogue clock in the centre console and opt for a fuel computer instead- and Daimler wouldn’t charge you any extra for making that choice. Must have been a serious clock.

“The internationally respected Daimler Limousine may be said to represent the state of the coachbuilder’s art. A masterly fusion of skilled craftsmanship and advanced automotive technology, it exactly fulfils the purpose for which it was first created; the carriage of Very Important Persons in conditions of the utmost comfort, luxury and dignity”

Not for these folk something as crass and overblown as a stretch limo; such machinery is far too plebeian. No, the Daimler Limousine was the waftmobile of choice for the not-quite-elite throughout the United Kingdom, and a little way beyond.

I always associated these cars with Britain’s Lord Mayors. I imagine them being driven sedately away from, for example, the opening of a new supermarket or a school extension. Of course, I suspect Daimler would much rather have been associated with the aristocracy.

“In addition to a stereo cassette player and electric clock, a colour television set with or without video recorder can be fitted to the lower section of the cocktail cabinet.”

These things were more-or-less bespoke. Those intended for VIP duties could be as laden with comfort-enhancements as ones budget allowed, But there were a goodly number also built with none of these costly trappings and these cars lent themselves well to use as funeral cars.

It’s a bit of a shame that the Daimler Limousine tended to become associated with the funeral market, indeed there were a great many hearse conversions built. It seems a waste of the legendary “race-bred” 4.2 litre straight six engine, downtuned in this application to provide 164 totally fuss-free horses.

I always wish the Daimler name had been used a little more prominently. There was a Daimler Super V8 variant of the X308, basically a luxury-focused variant of the awesome 370hp Jaguar XJR, and a quick badge ‘n gewgaws job on the X351, but I would have liked to have seen Daimler variants of some of the other models.

Imagine a Daimler branded F-Type. No, think of a Daimler badged XJ220. My goodness, what an ostensibly pointless yet extremely cool thing that would have been.

(All images are of original manufacturer publicity material, photographed by me, in the rain, on the back seat of the Rover. Copyright is very likely property of TATA, but who knows)

  • I_Borgward

    A badge-engineered Jag? I learn something new every day!

    And, do my eyes deceive me? Did they really put what appear to be dog dish hubcaps on that limo?

    • Rover 1

      Look for the crinkly grille surround and the crinkly number plate plinth at the back, (and the use of names like ‘Sovereign’ instead of numbers – though Jaguar later stole that.)

      And rarest of all, the Daimler Coupes in Sovereign and Double Six.


      1932 Daimler Double Six with 6.5 litre sleeve-valve V12 and Martin Walter close-coupled Sports Tourer body.

      King George V 40/50 7.5 litre Double Six State Limousine 1930. The Royal Family used Daimlers because Rolls Royce were a little bit ‘nouveau riche’

      1926 Daimler Double Six 7.5 litre Saloon De Luxe

      • Sjalabais

        Is that history’s longest hood in relation to overall car length and number of doors?

        • Rover 1


          It does have to fit over the engine.
          1920s large capacity V12s aren’t small. The engine had to haul the State Limousine with the King of the world’s largest empire and his retinue. But there was at least one coupe made with a shorter wheelbase. The 1931 Double Six Corsica Drop Head Coupe on Chassis 30661

          • I_Borgward

            The Drophead Coupe… ay yi yi! Given unlimited means, if I couldn’t have that one then I’d have one built.

            • Rover 1

              Unlimited means might help. It sold for £1000 in the 1960s, but has reportedly had £1million spent on it before it appeared at Pebble Beach.
              Corsica of Cricklewood made more than one in 1931.
              So keep an eye out for another one.
              Or get one of the diecast models (which don’t come with a scale toolkit). The 1/43 Ilario model is $350.

  • mrh1965

    Looks like one of the options was a shower head? For cleaning up after diddling your secretary, maybe. Pretty sure a condom dispenser was in there somewhere.

    • Van_Sarockin

      Likely a speaking tube. Can’t trust the chauffer to do as he is told. So hard to get good help…

  • smokyburnout

    Imagine a Daimler branded F-Type.

    • smokyburnout

      also, this

      • Thanks. I’ve just enjoyed by breakfast a second time but from a different direction.

    • Rover 1

      They nearly made a Daimler version of the XJS, without the rear buttresses of the Jaguar, called the Daimler S.
      A prototype remains. Perhaps it was felt that the Double-Six Coupe met the market demand.

  • nanoop

    Thanks for shining some light on the role of Daimler to Jaguar. Kind of the relationships within the VW family: a Porsche is a souped up Audi is a souped up VW, but marketing says otherwise…
    Also: Shoes? Go to Bata. Everything else: go to Tata!

  • AlexG55

    On the “world’s only production V12”- I think they mean that it’s the same engine as the Jaguar.

    As for others:
    The Mercedes S-Class didn’t get a V12 until the W140 in 1991.
    The BMW 7-series didn’t get one until the 1987 E32.

    However, Lamborghini’s Bizzarrini V12 was in production in 1985 and available in the Countach, as was Ferrari’s Colombo V12 in the 400i and 412.

    And of course there were diesel V-12s in production, both Detroit Diesel’s 12V71 and (on the other side of the Iron Curtain) Tatra’s air-cooled T930.

  • Rover 1

    “t seems a waste of the legendary “race-bred” 4.2 litre straight six
    engine, downtuned in this application to provide 164 totally fuss-free
    What about this then? The Alvis FV101 Scorpion, ‘The World’s Fastest Tank’
    Although, to be fair, I’m not sure there are any still running that haven’t had the Jaguar motor replaced with a Cummins or Perkins diesel

    • That’s not a waste, that’s an investment.

  • Van_Sarockin

    One reaches a certain position, where none but Daimler will suffice. Otherwise, all this conveyancing is oversome tedious.

    Now, remind me, but isn’t Daimler wound up in some way with Mercedes? Or don’t we talk about that?

    • nanoop

      Long story short: Gottlieb Daimler (the partner of Karl Benz) had a company Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) before he joined venture with Benz. DMG licensed its engines and name to a British entrepreneur, who called it Daimler Motor Syndicate, and later Daimler Motor Company (DMC).
      The latter is unrelated to the DeLorean Motor Company (DMC).

      [Edit: facts added, as far as internet allows facts]

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