In praise of the SP250

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Sir,

As the owner of an SP250 who has just completed 12,000 miles in one year of ownership, I read with interest your Road Test of this car in the May issue. Several points arose which I would like to comment on.

(1) The gearbox. I think you were unfortunate getting a car fitted with such a poor unit for I have never had the slightest trouble with mine; in fact, I would go so far as to say it is one of the best of its type available, comparing very favourably with the excellent box on the TR3A which I owned before the SP. A friend of mine who took delivery of a new SP a fortnight ago can find no fault with his gearbox, which confirms my opinion expressed above,

(2) Doors. Just because the car that a well-known weekly motoring magazine tested had a door that flew open on certain bends, it doesn’t follow that all early models were the same; in fact my body has given no trouble at all and although not as well finished at the “Jaguarised” cars is still in good shape.

(3) Petrol consumption. On a recent journey of 870 miles my average consumption was 27.2 mpg. This was obtained cruising the car between 80-85 mph on the clock whenever possible. On my way home from this trip I had the good fortune to meet a fellow SP owner who had just replaced his 190SL with a Daimler and he was getting 32 mpg cruising between 55-60 mph.

(4) Chassis. I must agree that the chassis is not worthy of the engine. On the early models the ride was very “vintage” while the road-holding was good but not exceptional. However, both these could be greatly improved by fitting Miehelin “X” tyres. When I took delivery of my car I asked Daimlers about fitting “X”s but they were not very co-operative as they had not tested a car fitted with these tyres, Since I could see no good reason why they should not be fitted I re-shod the car with them and they have proved very satisfactory, the road-holding now being as good as any other conventionally-sprung British sports car.

(5) The engine. No praise can be too high for this magnificent piece of engineering and I doubt if there is another engine in the world which combines such silence, speed, economy and flexibility. One point I disagree with in your Road Test is your statement that no power is delivered below 4,000 rpm, for I find my car has plenty of punch down to 2,000 rpm.

After a year of driving my SP the only complaints I have are that the clutch has a horrible tendency to slip due to a poor hydraulic layout and a lack of rigidity in the scuttle. Both these faults have, I believe, been overcome on later models. The body is certainly not beautiful but it is practical, having an enormous boot and creating very little wind noise; if I’ve got to choose between a good-looking sports car which has room in the boot for a tooth-brush and a flannel and an odd-looking car which it practical, I’ll choose the latter every time,

When I change my car in future its replacement will have to be economical (25 mpg), fast (120 mph), and have eight cylinders, and there is only one car which I know will fill the bill, the SP250..

I am, Yours, etc.,

WJ Bertram. Edinburgh, 10