1985: The greatest year
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The Editor Unravels Some History Relating to the Oldest British Motor-Car Manufacturer
TWO years or so ago I wrote a history of the Armstrong Siddeley car for MOTOR SPORT and was gratified to find that, in spite of pessimistic predictions in many quarters that an historical review of such a staid make of car in the pages of this sporting journal would be badly received, the article was a considerable success and aroused much interest all over the world, which was sustained for some months after publication.
The Armstrong Siddeley has since gone out of production but its sad demise occurred after Lord Montagu of Beaulieu had written his masterful and delightful book on the “Lost Causes of Motoring,” so that his analytical appraisal of this famous marque was lost to us, the book covering only cars which had ceased to be produced.
For the same reason Lord Montagu omitted the Daimler and, if adhering to his original rules of selection, will have to continue to omit this famous and longest-established of all British cars when his book goes into future editions, for Jaguar stepped in and stemmed what would, one fears, have been another erasure from the diminishing list of individual makes of motor car. So I have felt prompted to set down a brief history of those Daimler models that slid silently along our roads, followed by a faint blue smoke-haze, between the signing of the Armistice and the end of the officially recognised vintage era in 1930, cars which, as like as not, conveyed Royalty and the aristocracy about their lawful business and pleasure. I readily admit, for I cannot disguise the fact, that Daimlers were even more staid than Armstrong Siddeleys, if that is possible, but for all that I venture to present this survey of cars which, if they laid no open claim to being the best in the world, were the personification of dignity and were the accepted servants, from H.M. the King downwards, of those who could afford the best but who did not wish to too obviously proclaim that this was so. W. B.
• • •
The Daimler Motor Company, Ltd, of Coventry, was founded early in 1896. The following year J. J. H. Sturmey of The Autocar, drove a Daimler car from John o’ Groats to Land’s End and later that year Daimlers were demonstrated to H.M. King Edward VII in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. In the year 1900 the King ordered his first car, a Daimler, thus launching the Royal orders for motor carriages which Daimler continued to receive down the years. The name of the company was changed to The Daimler Motor Co. (1904) Ltd. and in 1909, after two years of experiment, the Knight double sleeve-valve engine was adopted for all Daimler cars. This innovation, which was followed by some of the leading European luxury-car manufacturers, was surpassed only by Daimler’s introduction of the fluid flywheel in conjunction with a pre-selector gearbox in 1930, a return to poppet valves for all models not being made until 1936.
During the 1914/18 war the Daimler Motor Company was actively engaged in producing cars, ambulances, lorries, tank engines and transmissions and aero-engines for the war effort. Of the last-named, 1,245 Gnome rotary engines were made in seven months in 1918.
When peace-time production ceased the Company was making four well-established models, in the form of 3- and 4-speed 20-h.p. 3.3-litre, 30-h.p. 5-litre 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder, and 6-cylinder 45-h.p. 7.4-litre cars. The 3-speed Twenty was dropped but a limited number of the other models were built in 1915. All car production, except for Service orders, was then abandoned.
Two new Daimlers were announced in 1919 and were on the market for 1920. These were based on the well-tried 6-cylinder 30- and 45-h.p. cars, of which the Thirty had been in steady production before the war since 1912, but was now offered in two lengths of wheelbase. These models were designated, respectively, the ” Special 45,” ” Standard Thirty ” and ” Light Thirty,” and at the Paris Salon of 1919 the 45-h.p. chassis was shown with handsome landaulette body, as was a Standard Thirty, while the Light Thirty appeared with a V-windscreen limousine body, a distinctive touch being the absence of an external tiller cap on the fluted radiator. With upright steering column the Special 45 was known as the Type TG, and with inclined steering as the Type TH, the Standard Thirty was, respectively, Type TL and Type TM, the Light Thirty the Type TO or, to special order only with its steering column raked, the Type TP.
Daimlers of the vintage era have been dubbed staid, even sluggish, but down the years The Autocar set out to dispel this notion as will be seen as you read on. Late in 1919, for instance, a correspondent took one of the new Light Thirty tourers (DU 9475) to the Lake District, the Daimler making light of climbing, even re-starting, up 1-in-3 1/4 gradients, carrying six people and much luggage. The steep side of Kirkstone Pass, for instance, called for second gear over the worst part (although the luckless photographer had by now been dropped) and took Foolstep’s hairpin in first. The ease of changing gear was noted and we were told that the car had ” the usual standard gears and Lanchester worm drive.” The Daimler certainly wasn’t spared, for in Little Langdale it nearly became wedged between the stone walls of a bridge, the hub-caps having to be removed to get it through! •
At the Olympia Show the new cars created a very good impression, The Autocar parodying the song of ” The Vicar of Bray ” with :
“And whosoever king may reign,
He still will own a Daimler.”
The Daimlers of 1920 would have endeared themselves to those who like complicated-looking under-bonnet machinery. The 6-cylinder Knight sleeve-valve engines had their cylinders cast in pairs, with detachable heads in which the plugs were sunk in the centre. Lubrication was by means of a multiple plunger pump driven from the sleeves eccentric shaft, this pump supplying oil to troughs under each big-end, these troughs being hinged and inter-connected with the throttle lever, so that the faster the engine ran the deeper the con.-rods dipped into them. The oil pump also fed the crankshaft main bearings, the chain drive for the eccentric shaft and the gear drive for the front cross-shaft that drove the magneto and water pump. At the front of the crankshaft was a multiple-disc vibration damper filled with thick oil. A Daimler 7-jet carburetter fed through a 3-branch water-jacketed manifold on the off side, and there were two separate 3-branch exhaust manifolds with two central down-pipes on the near side. Each carburetter jet had its own choke tube, and opened in succession as engine suction moved a sliding sleeve. These big engines, 90 x 130 mm. (4,962 c.c.) in the Thirty, 110 x 130 mm. (7,413 c.c.) in the Forty-Five, were well clustered with pipes, rods and cables.
The drive went through a leather-faced cone clutch via two leather couplings to a 4-speed and reverse gearbox. The power units were inclined in the chassis to give straight-line transmission to the underslung worm-drive back axle, Suspension was a 1/2-elliptic-front and 3/4-elliptic back springs, and a r.h. push-rod lever applied a steel-lined transmission brake, the pedal fabric-lined large-diameter rear-wheel brakes. C.A.V. electrics were used, with dynamo belt-driven from the engine. The 45-h.p. chassis had a wheelbase of 12 ft. 2 in. and 895 x 150 mm. tyres on centrelock wire wheels, the Standard Thirty a wheelbase of 11 ft. 9 1/2 in. and 895 x 135 mm. tyres. The Light Thirty (surely one of the first cars to have an underbonnet radiator filler cap, the radiator being filled through a big box, its lid forming a splash guard, when the bonnet was raised!) had a wheelbase of 10 ft. 8 1/2 in. and 880 x 120 mm. tyres. It had a honeycomb radiator, taper bonnet, lighter springs. For the larger cars Daimler supplied a special steel frame on which bodies could be constructed without reference to the chassis, this being the age of craftsmen-built coachwork.
At Coventry the new post-war Daimlers were tested for power at the back wheels, on Froude brakes, the 45-h.p. car being required to give a minimum of 65 b.h.p. at 1,400 rp.m., the 30-h.p. at least 45 b.h.p. at this engine speed. The Light Thirty had a 2.7-to-1 axle ratio, and did 51 1/2 m.p.h. at 1,800 r.p.m. in top gear, from which we may deduce that it didn’t easily exceed 50 m.p.h. Although Daimler faced the ‘twenties with these revised new models, when the railway strike broke out in October 1919 it was in one of his 57-h.p. Daimler landaulettes that H.M. King George was driven from Balmoral to Buckingham Palace by his chauffeur, Mr. Oscar Humphrey, in a couple of days. The King reached Lord Lonsdale’s seat, Lowther Castle at Penrith, on the first day, a distance of 250 miles, and, leaving at 8 a.m. the next morning; was in London, 300 miles away, that night, lunch being taken at Welbeck Abbey, where the Duke of Portland also owned Daimler cars. It was stated that King George was “not in the least fatigued,” being able to attend to his correspondence immediately he arrived at Buckingham Palace. During the emergency Daimler Hire Ltd. maintained a road-service between London and Manchester with their Daimler cars.
It is significant that in 1919 the Light Thirty landaulette cost £1,810, the 45-hp. special limousine £2,100, whereas a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost chassis cost £1,575. So Daimler could face the future with confidence and, naturally, their chassis were used by many coachbuilders, such as Salmon, Hamshaw, Wm. Cole, and Windover’s, at the Olympia Show.
Towards the end of 1919 the Daimler Company chalked up another Royal customer, in the person of H.M. the King of Spain, who had a Southfield limousine-landaulette body built at the factory, on a 30-h.p. Daimler chassis.
Before the first full post-Armistice year was over Daimler received an order from Mr. Oscar Harmer, managing director of Alfred Herbert Ltd., for a rather special 45-h.p. car with a Charlesworth open touring body. This handsome grey and black tourer with silver-plated fittings had Auster screens, a non-standard 20-gallon petrol tank and much special equipment, and, as Daimler’s usual provision for mounting a left-hand tail-lamp suggested, was intended for Continental travel in the hands of its Midlands owner. Early in I920 another special-bodied Daimler was delivered, to Mr. E. Adamson of Darlington. This was a Thirty, with a touring body by Grimshaw, Leather and Co. of Sunderland, in which bonnet and dash had been streamlined, which The Autocar confessed was a difficult task to accomplish gracefully on a Daimler. The seats were all well within the wheelbase (anything new ?) and there was a spare wheel on each side, the hand-brake being external. It was during 1920 that the Daimler Company filed a patent in conjunction with A. E. Berriman (No. 139,116) for an easy starting system rather on the lines of a ” Ki-gas,” but with distribution of the spray to individual cylinders or pairs of cylinders.
The Autocar carried out a road-test of a Light Thirty tourer in May 1920, the report obviously written by S. C. H. Davis. He took it up Box Hill in 3rd and top speeds, up Pebblecombe Hill in 3rd and 2nd, and up the Brooklands Test Hill from a standing start at an average speed of 14 m.p.h. On the Track a speedometer speed of 56 m.p.h. was seen, although the instrument was described as not of scientific accuracy. The external-contracting back brakes held the car on the downhill 1 in 4 of the Test Hill but one reads into this a certain harshness of operation. The accessibility afforded by the typical 3-piece bonnet was emphasised. Incidentally, the instruments protruded front the dash on this particular car, in Edwardian style. The weight was 35 cwt. 2 qtr., the top-gear ratio 3.55 to 1, and petrol thirst approximately 18 m.p.g., good, surely, for a 4.9-litre engine ? The article was headed by a delightful picture of the Daimler entering the Portsmouth Road at the Roehampton fork, the only other vehicle in sight being a horse and cart. . . .! By the middle of 1920 Herbert Robinson, the Cambridge motor trader, had ordered a Charlesworth touring body on a 30-h.p. chassis and Major Griffiths. perhaps ” blueing ” a war gratuity, bought a Standard Thirty Daimler with Flewitt interior-drive saloon body. Although Europe was moving towards a slump, there was evidence in 1920 of money from war profits, etc., and this was reflected in the sales of Daimler cars. For example, Carlos A. Lovison, the Bilbao agent, ordered a Windover tourer on a Light Thirty chassis for G. E. Woof of the Orcanéra Ore Company in Spain, and another touring body, by J. C. Alexander and J. C. Gower of Manchester, was ordered for the popular Light Thirty chassis. Far more striking and very unconventional was an aluminium airship-shape 2-seater body with a vee-cowl over the radiator which Howarth and Co. of Harrogate made for a 38-h.p. Daimler chassis (EC 405). About the same time Barker chose the Special 45-h.p. chassis on which to construct a very dignified Pullman limousine, while Arthur Mulliner supplied a Mr. Melville of Birmingham with a Light Thirty saloon limousine. Herbert Robinson of Cambridge, from whom Raymond Mays bought his first car while he was still an undergraduate, was offering his 30-h.p. tourer for £1,550 and a new 30-h.p. Wingfield landaulette for £1,800. Arthur Mulliner had put a 3/4-cabriolet on a Light Thirty and Park Ward a smart decked 4-seater on a Daimler chassis of the same type for R. S. Arnell of Hampstead. Yet another Light Thirty took a coupe body with folding dickey-seat by Wm. Cole and Sons. Towards the end of 1920, as the Motor Industry got onto its feet after an exhausting World War, Barker supplied a Special 45-h.p. tourer with huge rear trunk and ” every conceivable refinement and luxury ” to an Indian Prince. Daimlers were thick on the ground and a film was made of working conditions at the factory.
The following year, commencing with a cumbersome Arthur Muliner 3/4-landaulette for Capt. Braasey of Chipping Norton, there was no slowing down in the demand for Daimler chassis amongst the specialist coachbuilders, and in January 1921 it became possible to reduce the chassis price of the Light Thirty from £1,125 to £900 and that of the Standard Thirty from £1,150 to £1,000, but the price of the 45-h.p. Special chassis remained at £1,450. Towards the end of 1921, however, the last-named chassis was sold for £1,275. Daimler body styles were as follows : Castleton and Clifton tourers, Mirfield, Chesterfield, Southfield and Wingfield landaulettes, and Saltley and Berkeley limousines, some being available in de luxe form. Most expensive was the 45-h.p. Special Berkeley limousine, at £2,000.
Late in July 1921 a new model was announced, Daimler thus breaking clear of the tradition of saving up new chassis until the Motor Show in October, ‘This new car was a 20-h.p. 4-cylinder of 90 x 130 mm. (3,308 c.c.), the Type TT4-20, having, naturally, a Knight sleeve-valve engine and following the specification of the large 6-cylinder Daimlers very closely, although a single-plate clutch was used. The wheelbase was 11 ft., the B.S.A. wire wheels were shod with 880 x 120-mm. Dunlop s.s. tyres (a prototype landaulette had been sent out on steel artillery wheels, looking decidedly odd on a Daimler!). The back-wheel brakes were of expanding type, adjustable from a turn-screw under the bonnet, and an amusing item was a plunger which the owner could press while the engine was running to ascertain if the engine contained sufficient lubricant—if it did, oil ran out visibly, into a tray ” neatly arranged to conduct it onto the road so that it wouldn’t make a mess under the bonnet “! The throttle-controlled constant-level troughs under the big-ends were retained, and this owner-driver 20-h.p. Daimler chassis cost £750.
In 1921 some Daimler owners discussed petrol consumption, one correspondent to The Autocar claiming a mere 8 1/2 m.p.g. on Pratt’s Aviation spirit but 18 m.p.g. from his 30-h.p. car on two-thirds benzole and one-third Shell petrol. while the owner of a Standard Thirty praised its springing, got 8,000 miles from a set of Michelin tyres and 17/18 m.p.g. on a 50/50 petrol/benzole mixture. In Tokyo the Japan Automobile Co. put open and closed bodies on Light Thirty chassis, and Lord Michelham, at whose seat, Rolleston Hall, there was a splendidly-equipped workshop, took delivery of a Standard Thirty tourer. Continuing their practice of putting Daimlers over tricky terrain, The Autocar took a 1921 Light Thirty Lichfield coupe (HP 2787). weighing 37 cwt. 2 qtr. 14 lb., to Devon, where it climbed Porlock easily but failed to reverse for another car up Countisbury because of clutch slip. However, other hills climbed successfully included Leckhampton in the Cotswolds and Brass Knocker on the outskirts of Bath. Petrol consumption over the hilly route was 15 1/2 m.p.g. but for oil there was ‘ a pronounced thirst.” On Brooklands, on the 3.55-to-1 axle ratio, 55 m.p.h. was held down the Railway straight.
In April 1922 a rumour was current to the effect that Daimler were considering entering the light-car field, with a new chassis of 12 h.p. However, the first new model, when it was announced in July 1922, was a 21-h.p. 6-cylinder car, generally the same as the existing 20-h.p. 4-Cylinder Daimler apart from the engine, which had a bore and stroke of 75 x 114 mm., giving a swept volume of 3,021 c.c. Improved casting methods were enabling manufacturers to cast monobloc cylinder blocks, which aided production and assembly and resulted in more compact and rigid engines—although Armstrong Siddeley did not go over from pairs of cylinders to monobloc construction for their ‘Thirty until 1925— and the new Daimler Six was of this type. In conjunction with the monobloc construction a simplified form of detachable cylinder head was adopted. The Daimler ball-valve carburetter was retained, feeding the inlet ports on the opposite, or near side, of the engine, and likewise the variable-height lubrication troughs were still used, as was the torsional vibration damper for the 7-bearing crankshaft. Each hemispherical cylinder head was separate, an aluminium cover plate forming a water jacket over these heads, the carburetter took an adjustable supply of warm air from a muff around the exhaust pipe, and the location of the auxiliaries was revised. Ignition was now by battery and coil, the contact breaker being situated at the front near-side of the crankcase, at an angle, and driven by skew gearing from the sleeve-eccentrics shaft. The dynamo was set in a cradle towards the back of the engine on the same side and driven by an enclosed silent chain at engine speed, at a time when many cars still relied on belt drive for this important component. An extension of the dynamo shaft drove the water pump through a chain coupling.
The drive passed through a single-plate clutch and the chassis Specification was identical to that of the 3.3-litre 4-cylinder Daimler. The new chassis coat £750. The new engine gave 40 b.h.p. and was intended to run up to 2,500 r.p.m., the b.m.e.p. being between 90 and 100 lb./sq in., using a modest compression-ratio. The 30-h.p. had become the TS6-30 and the 45-h.p. model the T16-45 (Special).
This new 21-h.p. Daimler was but a hors d’oeuvre for the 1923 season, when no fewer than 56 different types of chassis/body combinations were available from the amalgamated B.S.A. and Daimler factories. Whereas Rolls-Royce were reluctantly considering a 20-h.p. companion for their 40/50-h.p. model, Daimler clearly intended to embrace a far wider market. Thus, by November 1922, they announced a 12-h.p. 6-cylinder car of 1,542 c.c. and a 16-h.p. model of 2,167 c.c. capacity.
The 12-h.p. Daimler had a bore and stroke of 59 x 94 mm. It was used also in a B.S.A. chassis, in conjunction with a double-plate clutch and 3-speed gearbox. It followed the design of the larger Daimlers of up to 45 h.p., even to the 7-bearing crankshaft with vibration damper. Indeed, the entire complicated range of 1923 Daimler cars was technically identical, except that those up to 21 h.p. had Autovac petrol feed and coil ignition, the larger sleeve-valve Daimlers using pressure petrol feed and magneto ignition. The 12-h.p. model, however, had a central gear-lever (although the push-on hand-brake lever for applying the transmission brake, which gave clear access to the seat, was on the right), a gearbox-driven speedometer, fabric universal joints and B.S.A. centre-lock wire wheels with unusual hubs that gave the impression that they were brake drums. The new 16-h.p. engine was of 66.5 x 104 mm. (2,167 c.c.). The long 21-h.p. car had a contracting transmission brake and mechanical universal joints, a belt-drive speedometer and minor controls above the steering wheel, features of the 30 and 45-h.p. cars which had been brought up to date with 1/2-elliptic rear springs and expanding brakes. The 45-h.p. had a water thermometer and a dash lever controlling the carburetter air shutter.
The Daimler driver of those days, who could be a private owner as well as a professional chauffeur, found himself confronted by three steering-column control levers, one for the throttle, another for ignition advance, and a third, or ” economy,” lever which in the starting position prevented cooling water from entering the radiator.
The 12-h.p. Daimler chassis cost £550, the 16-h.p. £625. Very beautiful coachwork was built by Daimler, and a 12-h.p allweather with hard celluloid side windows cost £775, the de luxe landaulette (in which the head-lifting mechanism was carefully machined and fitted, spring-assisted and self-locking, and every care taken to obviate rattles) as much as £910.
The Daimler Company seems to have been as willing to lend cars to the Press in 1923 as I have found the Press Department of Daimler-Benz at Stuttgart to be today, for when B. H. Davies required transport at short notice in which to cover the Highland Six Days Trial for The Autocar, J. A. Mackie was sent out with a far from new Light Thirty tourer (HP 5697). Needless to say, it performed perfectly, giving 15 m.p.g., reaching a top speed of 57 m.p.h. and being so cool after a climb of Tornapress that the fan belt was subsequently removed. So good was the suspension (3/4-elliptics on the back, this being an old model) that a punctured tyre went undetected. Mr. Davies wrote of the Daimler after his 1,000-mile test : ” Its inspiring ideal is an engine which shall suppress its own existence even when it is all-out on bottom gear, and which shall run 25,000 miles with no attention. The engine is more suggestive of steam than of petrol. In its presence one would never mention such words as revolution ‘ or ‘ exhaust,’ for it does not seem to possess either. Treading on the accelerator pedal does not produce the familiar variations of sound or tremor. The sole effect is that a smooth, invisible flow of power, which might well be compressed air, eases off or intensifies its secret pressure.”
Thus the sleeve-valve ” Silent Knight ” Daimler in the early vintage era, when designers still found the suppression of noise from poppet valves a formidable problem and such valves needed grinding-in all too frequently.
Possibly it was this quiet running which prompted Marconi to collaborate in fitting wireless sets to two Daimlers which in October 1922 travelled between London and Chelmsford receiving broadcast programmes. In 1923 Daimler Hire Ltd., then as now operating a vast fleet of Daimler cars, installed a neat installation which received 2LO when the car was in Southampton and Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle stations in the vicinity of London. Alas, their clients were less avid to listen-in on their journeys and the installations were abandoned, but not before the Daimler Company had proposed to build plate aerials into the roofs of their closed cars as standard practice.
The new 21-h.p. Daimler was put through its paces by The Autocar in 1923 and gave every satisfaction on a run down from Coventry to London and an all-night journey to Liverpool. Petrol consumption was 23 m.p.g., top speed 50 m.p.h., cruising speed 36-40 m.p.h., the car being a saloon priced at £1,085, on 820 x 120 tyres, with gear ratios of 17.5, 10.7, 7.4 and 4.37 to 1, the wheelbase being 11 ft. 1 in. Incidentally, One of the new short-chassis 21-h.p. Daimlers, with coupe body and double-dickey, was allocated the first of a new series of London registration numbers— XP 1.
For 1924 the B.S.A./Daimler range comprised 13 different chassis and some nine coachwork styles. The separate subsidiary steel frame for carrying the body, mounted on rubber buffers, was continued and all models had 6-cylinder sleeve-valve engines, single-plate clutches, 4-speed gearboxes and Daimler/Lanchester underslung worm final drive. A new Daimler model was announced in November 1923, this being a faster car than Daimler had built previously, even if it could not pretend to compete in terms of speed with the current Bentley, Sunbeam and Vauxhall sporting cars.
The new car was a 35-h.p. of 97 x 130 mm. retaining all the previously-described features, including the curious multiple-plunger lubrication system, but having light steel sleeves and a light chassis with, for the first time, four-wheel-brakes. These brakes had small ribbed drums and those on the front wheels were actuated on the Perrot system with the cam-operating arm supported on a pillar extending upwards from the slightly-fluted tubular-ended H-section front axle. It is typical of the cautious approach which manufacturers were making to four-wheel-brakes in 1923 that, although a single adjustment looked after all four brakes, a balance gear was incorporated in the rod-operated system to ensure that the back brakes always went on before the front ones.
This 35-h.p. Daimler chassis cost £900, a tourer £1,075, a saloon £1,125 and a saloon de luxe £1,300. It had a central gearlever, an open propeller shaft, a back axle with alloy centre casing to which forged steel tubes were attached, and long underslung 1/2-elliptic back springs. It is significant that although monobloc cylinders had been adopted for the 21-h.p. model, the new 35-h.p. had its ” pots ” cast in three pairs.
A 4-cylinder Daimler engine was still made for one of the B.S.A. range, which included an air-cooled V-twin small car and a Six, and the 45-h.p. Daimler was still available, costing £1,950, as an aristocratic 7-seater enclosed limousine de luxe. The new front brakes could be supplied for it, as an extra. An interesting development was taking place at this period, for the Daintier engineers were experimenting with light steel sleeves, which made the engine much more lively. In conjunction with the new sleeves, of which the outer ones were white metal lined on the inside to provide a suitable bearing surface for the inner sleeves, aluminium alloy pistons were used. As the steel sleeves were thinner than the cast-iron sleeves bigger pistons could be used, but the cylinder bore remained unchanged, and this gave rise to the curious anomaly, while both the 30-h.p. model with cast-iron sleeves and the 35-h.p. with steel sleeves were listed, of both models having the same bore and stroke, yet respective capacities of 4,962 c.c. and 5,764 c.c. In a sleeve-valve engine it is the sleeve bore, not the cylinder bore, that counts!
During 1923 a 21-h.p. coupe was ordered from Stratton-Instone, Ltd., by the R.A.C. of Sweden, who presented it to the Crown Prince of Sweden on the occasion of his marriage, another Daimler link with Royalty.
A Court order was received the following year for a Rapson-tyred 45-h.p. Daimler landaulette with four-wheel-brakes, for H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught. The Autocar also liked to have a Daimler amongst its stud of staff cars and in 1924 ordered a Weymann fabric saloon on a C-type 25-h.p. chassis, the body costing £250 and catalogued as ” Construction Z.” The car weighed only 32 cwt. Later this body was transferred to a new steel-sleeve 35-h.p. chassis equipped with 34 in. x 7.30 in. Dunlop low-pressure tyres in place of the former 895 x 135 mm. covers, inflated to 27 lb./30 lb. front/rear. The car weighed 2 tons 4 cwt. 1 lb. fully laden, gave 550/600 m.p.g. of oil, 161 m.p.g. of petrol, and ran at 2,120 r.p.m. at 60 m.p.h., ” but the engine will run faster.” In spite of an axle ratio of 1/8 to 1, this heavy saloon would ascend Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside, fully laden, with only momentary use of 2nd gear, and disposed of Porlock Hill with ease.
Later in the year The Autocar reported favourably on a 16-h.p. Daimler tourer (HP 7148) in the Pennines.
A stir was caused in the motoring world when, during 1924, a Royal Command was received by Stratton-Instone Ltd. of Pall Mall to supply two new 57-h.p. Daimlers to replace one of these cars which had served HM. the King regularly since 1910.
The big 124 x 130 MM. 9,420-C.C. model was no longer in production, but the Daimler Company laid down a number of these chassis, of which two were fitted with limousine bodies, two with shooting-brake bodies, made by Hooper and Company, and passed into the King’s service, while the residue were bought by Stratton-Instone for disposal through trade channels. Cast-iron sleeves were used, but in conjunction with aluminium pistons, and the opportunity was taken to modernise the design slightly. Thus the single-plate clutch, four-wheel-brakes, Hartford shock-absorbers and the improved oil filler and oil-level indicator were incorporated. The chassis had a wheelbase of 13 ft. 6 in., ran on Palmer 935 x 150 mm. tyres, with spare wheels on the runningboards instead of on the roof as in 1910, and pulled a 3-to-1 axle ratio, on which the car could travel at an inaudible 2 1/2 /3 m.p.h. in top gear. Petrol feed from a 22-gallon rear tank was by air pressure generated by an engine-driven pump, supplemented by a hand-pump.
The bodies, built at Hooper’s Chelsea works, were finished in Royal claret picked out with vermilion, what bright parts there were being of polished brass. Upholstery was in buttoned Royal blue leather and the Royal Arms were painted by hand.—W. B. (To be continued)
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