Over the last few months many readers have written letters in praise of such cars as Alfas, Rovers and Land Rovers, MG-Bs and Healeys; while TRs were written of far into the night.
One gap which I would like to fill concerns the Daimler SP250. Here is a car which had a production run of only five years, during which time it is estimated only about 4-1/2 to 5 thousand were made. The number left in this country is not known to me, but by the quantity which are always for sale in your classifieds there must be quite a few hundred.
As is generally known, the police used them for some time with mixed success (all police models are black automatics), though I am told there is at least one being used by them currently.
The SP250 earned itself two bad reputations, though. Firstly, many people considered them ugly. Well, “shape” is always a personal sentiment, not only to be found when referring to cars. . . . The other reputation was that they were treacherous, especially in the wet, due to having 140 b.h.p./ton with little weight at the rear. Nowadays that power/weight ratio is considered quite low; but I submit that anyone who has fitted a modern radial—such as XAS – to an SP250 will be amazed at the improvement in stability over the original RS5. I have driven my car on both types of tyre and can well understand the basis for the old stories, though I am not biased against the makers of the RS5. We would be lost without them (Dunlop).
With a performance of 0-60 m.p.h. in 9 sec. and 0-100 m.p.h. in 26 sec. it can still show many other cars a clean pair of exhausts, thanks to the superb engine. In this year’s VSCC Pomeroy Trophy, admittedly minus windscreen (though also minus a tonneau) with a badly slipping clutch, it managed to make the ss 1/4-mile in 18.07 sec. (2 sec. slow) and continued to take the flying 1/4 in 9.90 sec. I was using 6,500 revs in each gear, and terminal speed was in excess of 105 m.p.h. up the Club straight at Silverstone. The respective times for a TR4 were 19.29 and 11.21 (with a windscreen I admit), but let’s not bicker!
The point is, the SP250 is an excellent car, with a really torquey 2-1/2-litre V8 engine, fibreglass body, a good solid chassis supporting a rarely found “hand-built” quality—no wonder they are becoming quite sought-after; and go and look at that boot. You could do “meals on wheels” with that car! In how many Sports/true GT cars can you close the boot lid with a five-gallon oil drum standing upright in it?
NEILL S. BRUCE, DLOC “SP Section”. – Woking.
May I first congratulate you on the long maintained high standard of your magazine, for which I do not resent paying the new price of I5np.
Now to the real purpose of this letter. I would like to join the ranks of those enthusiastic car owners who have, over the last year or so, thought it necessary to extol the virtues of their particular automobile, to wit, TR2s, 3s and 4s, MG-Bs, etc. Surely if these machines bring forth such dedication and enthusiasm what has happened to the owners of those cars built ten years ago so far ahead of their time that they can still show a very clean pair of exhaust pipes to any of the above makes, many more later sports cars and all the GT badges? I am talking about the glassfibre, flared wheel arches (then), sturdy chassissed, 2+2, large booted (luggage, that is), V8 economical Daimler SP250.
I record 31 m.p.g. with luggage, wife and two children aboard on long runs, easily maintaining 50 m.p.h. average speeds and never less than 24 m.p.g. round town. The flexibility and silence of this car has yet to be attained by many of the larger sound-proofed saloon GT standards.
Being a poor bloke I do all my own servicing and repairs and am therefore specially pleased by the ease with which this car can be worked on; the crankshaft can be removed with the engine in situ in a morning, the front suspension dismantled without the use of special tools, rebushed and fully greased via the many nipples to keep it in good condition. This must count for something in this throw-away unit age.
I would like to add a note of dissent about the spares situation on this car. Jaguar Cars, Browns Lane, Coventry, though helpful, seem unable to provide at least 50% of any spares order taken to them and also give no indication as to when, if ever, they will provide them. Surely for a car last made six years ago one could expect a comprehensive spares service, or is this merely the price of having something different?
Anybody who reads this who has a secret stock of window regulators, trunnion bushes or boot locks for a Daimler SP250 is a very lucky man.
G. J. STURKEY – Solihull.