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Daimler SP250

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Welcome to our ‘Vehicle of the Month’ 2021 blog post series which we are continuing since August last year to share some of the most fascinating and remarkable car and motorbike stories, restoration projects and travel adventures of our customers.
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Last month we shared a story by James and his 1958 Austin Healey. This August we're continuing with out thirteenth 'Vehicle of the Month' story by Jim and his Daimler SP250 called "Dart". 
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If you were at the Coventry MotoFest Concours a few weekends ago, held in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, then you may have been lucky enough to spot and admire "Dart" in real life. Here is his story: 
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"DAIMLER SP250 "DART" at Millbrook Proving Ground July 2017

The original A spec cars produced from 1959 had a chassis based on the Triumph TR2/3, which could flex and cause the doors to fly open. Jaguar, who bought Daimler in July 1960, introduced B spec cars with extra outriggers on the chassis, strengthened B posts and a steel strengthening hoop between the A-posts to stiffen the chassis. Many cars were held back and some were returned to the factory to have the chassis upgrades installed. This car, 2620 UM was one of these, being produced on 12 July 1960 but not registered until 1 March 1961 in Leeds.

The final run of C spec cars produced from April 1963 included a charging socket and cigar lighter as standard".

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"Advert in Car and Classics 2015. 

In July 1960 when this car left the Radford factory in Coventry, the JDHT Heritage Certificate shows it as being coloured red with tan trim. 

Although the car was running when purchased in 2015, it needed a lot of work so was transported to Robert Grinter Restorations and underwent a total nut & bolt, body off restoration taking over 18 months".

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"The chassis was badly corroded and almost 60% had to be replaced.  When assembled, it was sandblasted, treated with Plascote and oven cured at 200˚C. 
Inner sections were then pressure treated with Waxoyl"

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"Engine before restoration"

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"And after".

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"Engine assembly".

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"Refurbished cylinder heads"

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"Heads in place".

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"Ready to install".

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"The V8 engine, gearbox and back axle were totally rebuilt and an overdrive fitted.  New R&P steering (Triumph Spitfire), adjustable telescopic shock absorbers and a stainless steel exhaust were also installed. New brake discs with Greenstuff pads all round and a servo to further improve braking.  

5" x 15" chrome/stainless wire wheels and Dunlop 185VR15 SP Sport tyres completed the rolling chassis".

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"4 speed manual gearbox with overdrive and stainless steel exhaust".

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"The fibreglass body was stripped, blisters and cracks were repaired and a new gel coat applied. The body was then resprayed and finished in Jaguar Opalescent Gunmetal Grey".

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"The painted body and rolling chassis were re-united so final assembly could begin".

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"The doors, bonnet, boot lid and a new windscreen were fitted and all chromework was re-plated.  Inertia seat belts were fitted to the front seats".

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"The St James' red leather trim was reconditioned, matching Wilton carpets and seat backs were installed along with a new black mohair hood, hood bag and tonneau cover".

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"The SP250 test driver John Box, in June 2018, recreating the original 1958 day time test run of 250 miles from Coventry to Lake Bala in North Wales and back to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the SP250. 

2620 UM completed the 250 miles of mixed A & B roads, motorways and mountain passes on a very hot day and returned almost 30 mpg. 

When the Daimler test cars returned to Coventry in the afternoon, they were re-fuelled before the night shift drivers completed a 350 mile round trip to Devon and Cornwall".

 

"Advert in October 1959 Motor Magazine".

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"Advert in Exchange & Mart 4th December 1985.

The car was bought for £3450 from Ivor Bleaney, a car dealer in the New Forest by the fourth owner who used it as his daily driver in Kingston upon Thames".

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"A WOSP High-torque pre-engaged starter later replaced the old Lucas inertia type.

The manifolds and downpipes were lagged to reduce heat loss and protect the starter".

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POLICE USE: 

"A fleet of 26 or so SP250s were used by the British Metropolitan Police during the 1960's, equipped with Borg-Warner Model 8 3-speed automatic transmission. 

Traffic police in Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Southend and Surrey also used the SP250 for speed enforcement, as did police forces in Australia and New Zealand.  After the opening of the first section of the M1 in 1959, Bedfordshire police used the SP250 for motorway patrol"

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