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Today very much part of the classic car scene around the world, the Daimler SP250 sports car has a fascinating and eventful history. The idea of staid and traditional Daimler building an open sports car is surprising enough in itself; that the car should be fibreglass-bodied, V8-engined and have a daring futuristic appearance stretches credibility to the limit...but that's exactly what the company did produce between 1959 and 1964. A bold new design, 'the Dart' - as it was originally to be called - should have been struggling Daimler's saviour and a springboard to a range of new models, including saloons and coupes. Things didn't quite work out that way and Daimler was acquired by Jaguar, which led to the SP250's Edward Turner-designed V8 engine being used in a Daimler-badged version of the Jaguar Mkll saloon. Here is the full story of the SP250 including concept, development and production history. Also covered are related models, specials, buying and restoration, chassis numbers, production numbers, colour schemes, clubs and specialists. Altogether a source book of essential information for SP250 and Daimler enthusiasts.
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Jaguar magazine, Edition 137, 2008
The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust has had one for a long time, but still the quirky fiberglass-bodied Daimler SP250, or Dart, sports car is a bit of a lost identity. It is powered by that magical Edward Turner-designed V8 engine, boasts an enviable power-to-weight ratio and even has quite a competition history, but probably for the first time ever is documented by a genuine Daimler devotee. Brian Long is undoubtedly the finest author of all things Daimler and has done a mighty fine job of his latest tome. Published by Veloce, seemingly the most prolific source today of books concentrating on British marques, this large format edition is fascinating if not merely for the fact Jaguar purchased Daimler when this model was already in production. Not being one to waste an opportunity, Sir William Lyons then utilized the SP250s engine to power his Daimler versions of the Mk2. Author Brian Long was born inCoventry, and is a professional scribe with a dedication to Daimlers. Now with Daimler seemingly likely to be revived into a super-luxury stand-alone marque, this might just be the right moment to think again about how fortunate it was Sir William acquired it in 1960 without informing his fellow Directors who read about it in the morning paper! There are 192 pages of compelling reading here don't miss it."
Big End, Winter 2008
It is good to have a second, updated and greatly improved edition of Brian Long's seminal work for Veloce of the development of Daimler's quirky and engaging sports car the SP250. I know that some of our members own or have owned one of these pocket rockets, myself included, so they should be delighted to read this handsome 192-page hardbound history. I also commend this book to a wider audience interested in both the development of this model and the Daimler version of Jaguar's successful Mk II saloon (which I've also owned), and of the fascinating tale of a struggling automotive pioneer in a rapidly changing post-war climate. There's a misnomer that the shockingly radical SP250 was a last throw of the dice but nothing could be further from the truth. Daimler was only too aware that it was losing ground at both the luxury end of the market and in its wider appeal to the emerging middle-class mass market. Stuck with an ultra-conservative image, despite the very best, if wacky, attempts of Norah, Lady Docker with her outrageous Motor Show spectaculars, Daimler decided that it badly needed to boost sales. They engaged Edward Turner, the designer of the famous vertical-twin Triumph motorcycle engine and by then MD of the BSA Automotive Division which included Daimler, to devise a whole new family of modern, more profitable middle-range saloons. In the event the engine proved the easiest part of the equation to solve because Turner had, in essence, scaled-up, his beautifully-balanced motor-cycle engine as early as 1956 and I'm pleased he gave due acknowledgement about its 'classic valve layout to Riley - but they had no saloon nearly ready enough to put it in. A merciful release, perhaps, in retrospect because the Daimler team dabbled with all sorts of strange pseudo-American looking devices including one based on Vauxhall's PA Cresta a poorly engineered and rust-prone car that would have done nothing but tarnish Daimler's quality image. A parallel project to produce a sports car therefore received a shot in the arm and a sense of urgency from the board after aII they had to do something with the engine they'd so expensively developed. And no doubt they hoped that the sports car might also attract a new and possibly younger audience to Daimler. The SP250's body styling was always controversial but the early prototypes were, if anything, even more extreme and well dart-like. After the Jaguar takeover, those distinctive rear fins were reduced to the point of sheer anonymity in the prototype SP252. A fascinating motoring what-if though. You can read what happened to that and why in the book and also how an interesting Ogle prototype ended up as the Reliant Scimitar. And there's all you could possibly want to know about the SP250 sports car itself. The final irony is that the most successful product of aII this frantic Daimler ingenuity was the arrival of the later V8 250 saloon. The fabulous Turner 78 engine, finally. was given a saloon body to reside in that was both sleek and character. In an odd sort of way it was exactly the kind of car that Daimler should have built. It was also highly profitable for Jaguar. Sadly, though, Daimler had by that stage lost its struggle for survival as an independent car maker."
Australian Classic Car, January 2009
Born in Coventry, the heart of Britain's motor industry, Brian Long is a professional writer with a passion for vintage and racing machinery. A trained mechanical engineer, he worked at his father's garage before becoming heavily involved in the classic car scene at the age of 19. Brian is nowadays a full-time writer, with over 40 books to his credit. Married to Miho, and with two children (Louis and Sophie-Mercedes), Brian now lives just outside Tokyo.
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Book Description Veloce, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Seller Inventory # mon0000961619
Book Description Veloce 2008-01-15, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: good. Enlarged & Revised Second Eition. 1904788777. Seller Inventory # 697483
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Book Description Veloce, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Seller Inventory # P021904788777
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