Daimler Majestic Major Shortcomings

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Sir,
Ever since Mr. Boddy road-tested this model in 1963 he has frequently expressed the opinion that it is one of the best British luxury vehicles currently available. I feel that it is high time this was put into perspective, as I believe Mr. Boddy’s enthusiasm for performance has biased his judgement on this car to an unfortunate degree. Mr. Rolfe draws attention to the absence of a headlamp flasher, but does not mention such other interior shortcomings as the primitive and difficult-to-operate heater controls, the single-speed heater fan, the lack of a rheostat-control for the panel lights, and the outdated steering-wheel-boss indicator switch. There is no cigar-lighter in the rear compartment and no separate heater outlet either—two refinements which one can surely expect in a car costing £2,700.

No one would deny that the performance of the Major is exhilarating, and its cornering abilities are remarkable for a car of this size. But comfort, surely, is the prime function of a vehicle of this nature, and the ride of the Major is more akin to a sports car than a luxury saloon.

Not only is the ride far too hard but the seats are nowhere near as comfortable as those in many cars costing considerably less— the Humber Super Snipe springs readily to mind. The brakes, whilst outstanding at high speeds, are poor at low speeds and require excessive pressure despite the servo assistance And when in the passenger seat I shudder to think what “the very large and useful wood map holder below the facia on the near side” would do to my knees in the event of even a relatively slight accident.

It may be that some, including Mr. Boddy, would dismiss such comments as these as unimportant when weighed against the Major’s outstanding performance and handling. But it would seem to me that an intending purchaser would do well to consider whether performance alone outweights the lack of interior refinement and a needlessly hard ride, two unforgiveable shortcomings to my mind in a true luxury limousine.

London, N. 2. Christopher M. Cansick.
[After the test in 1963 the car was left for me to drive. I took one look and turned away, remarking “You can keep that hearse.” Persuaded to try it, I reluctantly drove it on to the Southend Road, and within twenty miles I was driving at 100 m.p.h. among the Saturday-morning traffic in perfect safety. The generosity of the Jaguar-owned Daimler Co. enabled me to buy one at the full market price. Thousands of miles have now been completed more quickly and tirelessly than in any other car I have ever driven. One hundred miles in one of Mr. Cansick’s soggy cars would soon produce the desire to stop and stretch your weary body. I’m sure this heavy saloon with the magnificent sports-car performance just happened—surely no-one would admit to having designed it—so aren’t we being a bit pedantic to expect more than is offered at the low price of £2,235? Headlight flick-switch quite well placed, adequate as a flasher. Heater controls efficient if not fancy; panel lights recessed and unnecessary to dim, indicator switch finger-tip control, no stem to break off. So when I’m 70 I’ll sink into one of Messrs. Rolfe’s or Cansick’s soggy cars, travel at 50 to 60 miles per hour, use my back-seat cigar-lighter and quietly pass away with lung cancer. However. those Motor Sport readers who want to get safely, quickly and tirelessly from place to place will find the Majestic unbelievably exciting, and when on the M1 in a very heavy cross-wind will enjoy passing E-type and Mercedes sports-cars when they have been blown off their fast lane by gusts that have no effect on the Majestic.—W.J.T.]