Triumph Dolomite an Upmarket British Classic

triumph dolomite

The Daimler Majestic Major DQ450 is a large luxury saloon produced by Daimler in Coventry, England between November 1960 and 1968. It was fitted with a 4,561 cc V8 engine and was offered as a much more powerful supplement to their then current Daimler Majestic.

A substantially lengthened limousine version of the same chassis and bodyshell, the Daimler DR450, was available from 1961 until the V8 engine ended production.


Rear view, showing a Majestic Major's boot, which was larger/longer than its Majestic counterpart

Though the Major was announced and displayed on 20 October 1959[4] at the London Motor Show, the car on the show stand was a prototype and production did not get under way until November 1960. It was offered as a supplement alongside the slightly shorter 3.8-litre Majestic released in 1958. Both cars used the same chassis and bodyshell, the Major having an extended boot as well as the new engine which was lighter and much more powerful.[1]

The engine transformed the staid Majestic into a high performance car capable of 120 mph (190 km/h).[5] Motor Sport magazine described the Major as having "sports car performance",[5] while The Autocar stated that it appeared "almost as a sports saloon"[5] and that it was stable directionally at high speeds and could be cornered safely very fast for such a large car.[6]

It was faster than a Mark X Jaguar up to 80 mph (130 km/h) despite its 1,880 kg (4,145 lb) bulk, it has been said.[by whom?] Jaguar tested the engine in a Mark X which attained 135 mph (217 km/h).

External differences from the Majestic included a D motif on top of the bonnet, cast-in V symbols on the ventilation air intakes, six inches added to the length of the car which gave it a longer boot and longer bumper returns, and twin exhaust pipes.[6] Front seats could be supplied as individual adjustable seats or as a bench.[5]


Turner's engine produced a conservatively rated 220 bhp (160 kW) at 5500 rpm and 283 pound force-feet (384 N⋅m) of torque at 3,200 rpm.[3] By comparison a Jaguar Mark X also claimed 220hp but used a different scale of measurement.[citation needed]

Chassis and body

The chassis of Majestic Major was an evolution of the design introduced in 1937 with the Daimler New Fifteen.[9] As with the New Fifteen and several derivatives in between,[note 1] the Majestic Major had a cruciform-braced box-section frame with conventional coil-sprung independent front suspension and a live rear axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs.[1] As with the Majestic, there were four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a vacuum servo.[3]

The combination of an imported Borg-Warner DG (Detroit Gear) 250M automatic transmission, power steering and Dunlop's power disc brakes on all wheels made the Major in those respects a mechanically advanced car for its time. Its body, however, was originally designed for the Majestic by Daimler subsidiary, the old coachbuilding firm Carbodies and they provided the bodies in conjunction with Park Sheet Metal. They were finished in cellulose paints allowing a selection of colours not available in the new synthetic finishes used by Jaguar. They were built at Browns Lane on separate hand-moved lines.

The Majestic Major's turning circle was 42 feet (12.8 m).[3] The car was not one for manoeuvering in tight spaces; 4.5 turns lock to lock were required.[citation needed] Power steering, initially optional, became standard after October 1964.[6]

Late versions were supplied with a limited slip differential and an alternator.[10]

The bodies were of all steel construction. Despite being coated with zinc phosphate, they rusted more rapidly than expected of coachwork on a Daimler chassis.[10]


The British The Motor magazine tested a Majestic Major with power steering in 1961 and recorded a top speed of 122.3 mph (196.8 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.7 seconds. A "touring" fuel consumption of 16.9 miles per gallon (imperial) was recorded. On the home market, as tested, the car cost £3166 including taxes of £955.[11]

Jaguar, which had taken over Daimler in 1960, announced their similarly equipped if less powerful new Jaguar Mark X saloon the following month priced at exactly 75% of this Daimler, £2,393 including taxes of £753.[12]

In the spring of 1963 The Times' Motoring Correspondent tested the Daimler and found its top speed to be 123 mph. Acceleration times (with the Jaguar Mark 10 results in brackets) were 0–30 mph, 3.8sec., (4.3), 0–60, 10sec. (12.1), and 0–100, 30.8sec. (31.1).[13]


  1. ^ Other models with these features include the Eighteen, the Consort, the Regency, the One-O-Four, and the Sportsman.(Smith 1972, p. 295)


  1. ^ a b c d Brian E. Smith The Daimler Tradition, Transport Bookman, Isleworth 1980. ISBN 0851840140
  2. ^ Smith 1972, pp. 295, 297.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Smith 1972, p. 297.
  4. ^ New Version of Majestic in Daimler Range, The Times, Tuesday, 20 October 1959; pg. 16; Issue 54596; col F
  5. ^ a b c d Smith 1972, p. 299.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Smith 1972, p. 296.
  7. ^ Smith 1972, p. 302.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Smith 1972, pp. 296, 297.
  9. ^ Smith 1972, p. 295.
  10. ^ a b Smith 1972, p. 300.
  11. ^ "The Daimler Majestic Major". The Motor. 27 September 1961.
  12. ^ New Big Jaguar. The Times, Thursday, 12 October 1961; pg. 8; Issue 55210.
  13. ^ Motors And Motoring. The Times, Tuesday, 23 Apr 1963; pg. 8; Issue 55682
  • Smith, Brian E. (1972). The Daimler Tradition. Isleworth: Transport Bookman. ISBN 0851840043.

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