The Daimler 2.5 V8/V8-250 is a four-door saloon which was produced by The Daimler Company Limited in the United Kingdom from 1962 to 1969. It was the first Daimler car to be based on a Jaguar platform, the first with a unit body, and the last to feature a Daimler engine after the company was bought from the Birmingham Small Arms Company by Jaguar Cars in 1960. The engine is the hemispherical head V8 designed by Edward Turner and first used in the Daimler SP250 sports car.
Background and development
Daimler had entered the medium-sized saloon market in 1932 with the Daimler Fifteen but left the market with the end of production of the Conquest in 1957. Attempts to re-enter the market with Turner's 2.5-litre V8 included development of the DN250 based on the Vauxhall Cresta PA's unibody, which was discontinued before Jaguar's purchase of Daimler, and the DP250 two-door saloon based on the SP250, which was discontinued by Jaguar after it bought Daimler.
Despite claiming interest in expanding Daimler's markets, Jaguar had bought Daimler primarily to expand their production facilities and, apart from replacing the DK400B limousine with the Majestic Major-based DR450, Jaguar had done little to develop new Daimler models.[note 1] Stratstone Ltd., Daimler dealers since their founding in 1921 as Stratton-Instone by former Daimler executives, pressed Jaguar to develop a medium-sized saloon to replace the Conquest, which Jaguar agreed to do in exchange for Stratstone dropping their Volkswagen franchise.
Daimler's development of the 2.5-litre saloon was initially given few resources; the first prototype was based on an old Jaguar Mark 1 unibody that had been abandoned outside one of the factory buildings after having been modified for suspension experiments. Once the concept had been proven, a new prototype based on a Mark 2 body shell was built The Daimler V8 engine was more compact and lighter than the Jaguar XK6 engine used in the Mark 2, and weighed approximately 1 long cwt (51 kg) less. Spring and damper settings were revised accordingly to suit the altered weight distribution. The engine sump had to be redesigned to fit between the Mark 2's front suspension units and around one of its crossmembers, new exhaust manifolds were designed to fit in the engine bay, the water pump and cooling fan were relocated, and different air filters were used. The cylinder head fasteners were changed from studs to set bolts to allow the heads to be removed while the engine was still in the car. The radiator fan was driven through a viscous coupling unit that slipped progressively with increased engine speed, which reduced noise from the fan. The Daimler's Borg-Warner Type 35 automatic transmission was smaller and lighter than the units used on the Mark 2 and had strong engine braking in each gear range.
Daimler 2.5 V8
The Daimler 2.5 V8 (or 2½-litre V8) was a four-door saloon produced in Coventry, England by Daimler. Launched late in 1962. It was essentially a rebadged Jaguar Mark 2 fitted with Daimler's 2.5-litre V8 engine and drive-train, a Daimler fluted grille and rear number plate surround, distinctive wheel trims, badges, and interior details including a split-bench front seat from the Jaguar Mark 1 and a black enamel steering wheel. Special interior and exterior colours were specified. Most cars were fitted with power-assisted steering but it was optional. Automatic transmission was standard; manual, with or without overdrive, became an option in 1967.
The 2.5 V8 was the first Jaguar designed car to have the Daimler badge. A casual observer, though not its driver, might mistake it for a Jaguar Mark 2. The Daimler's stance on the road was noticeably different from a Mark 2.
Three years after its launch, a Daimler 2½-litre saloon with automatic transmission tested by Britain's Autocar magazine in May 1966 had a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.6 seconds. An overall fuel consumption of 19.0 miles per imperial gallon (14.9 L/100 km; 15.8 mpg‑US) was achieved. The test car was priced in the UK at £1,647 including taxes: Rover's 3-litre with automatic transmission was retailing for £1,770. At the end of 1965, the final drive ratio had been changed from 4.55:1 to 4.27:1, addressing complaints that the car as launched in 1963 had needed to exceed its recommended rev limit in order to reach its top speed, with a corresponding penalty in fuel consumption and engine noise and wear. The testers found the car refined and well equipped with efficient, if rather heavy, brakes. The engine and transmission were felt to be well matched. The car was quiet and smooth but with poor low speed torque.
A manual transmission, with or without an overdrive unit usable with the top gear, became available on British 2.5 V8 saloon in February 1967 and on export versions the following month. Cars optioned with the overdrive had the original 4.55:1 final drive ratio
Produced from October 1967 to 1969, the V8-250 was a minor facelift and renaming of the 2.5 V8 saloon and differed in relatively small details: "slimline" bumpers and over-riders (shared with the Jaguar 240/340 relabelled at the same time), negative-earth electrical system, an alternator instead of a dynamo and twin air cleaners, one for each carburettor. Other new features included padding over the instrument panel, padded door cappings and ventilated leather upholstery, reclinable split-bench front seats and a heated rear window. Power steering and overdrive were optional extras.
Aside from the smoother and more powerful engine and a number of external markers the Daimler V8-250 was simply a more luxuriously finished Jaguar 240. The 250's place in the Jaguar range was always ill-defined. Whilst historically Daimler had been a genuine luxury and super-luxury brand the 250, though far better equipped than the base-model Jaguar 240, lacked some interior appointments found on the 340. The Daimler 250's engine, being a V8 (in its home market a prestige feature), producing 142 bhp (106 kW)—in between the outputs of the 2.4- and 3.4-litre six-cylinder engines. The V8-250 was a car with a high prestige badge sitting in the middle of its parent-company's range.
End of production
Jaguar replaced its range of saloons—the 240, the 340, the 420, and the 420G—with the XJ6 at the end of 1968. The company launched the XJ6-based Daimler Sovereign the following year to replace the Daimler saloons—the 240-based V8-250 and the 420-based Sovereign. Henceforth all new Daimlers would be re-badged Jaguars with no engineering links to the pre-1960 Daimlers.
More than 17,600 units were sold; by 1995 the 250 was still the best-selling car in Daimler's history.
- Dinky Toys modelled the Daimler 2½-litre V8 in the 1960s. (No. 146 (production 1963–6), approximately O scale (1:44)).
- Vitesse modelled it in the 2000s.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, p. 279.
- Smith 1972, p. 286.
- Long 2008, p. 133.
- Smith 1972, p. 291.
- Smith 1972, p. 293.
- Long 2008, p. 137.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, p. 273.
- Smith 1972, p. 285.
- Long 2008, p. 26.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, pp. 275–277.
- Smith 1972, pp. 282–283.
- Long 2008, p. 82.
- Long 2008, p. 85.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, pp. 277–278.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, p. 280.
- Smith 1972, p. 300.
- Long 2008, p. 46.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, pp. 276–277.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, p. 277.
- "Used Car Test – 1964 Daimler 2½-litre V8". Autocar. Vol. 127 (nbr 3746). 30 November 1967. pp. 36–37.
- Culshaw & Horrobin 2013, p. 117.
- Jaguar's Clothing For A Daimler Top Speed Of 112 M.P.H. From our motoring correspondent. The Times, Monday, Oct 08, 1962; pg. 7; Issue 55516; col C
- "Road Test Daimler 2½-litre V8". Autocar. May 1966. pp. 1022–1026.
- Restyled Daimler on show. The Times, Thursday, Oct 05, 1967; pg. 4; Issue 57064
- Ramsey, John. The Swapmeet and Toyfair Catalogue of British Diecast Model Toys. Swapmeet Toys and Models. p. 30. ISBN 095093190X.
- Culshaw, David; Horrobin, Peter (2013) . "Daimler". The Complete Catalogue of British Cars 1895 - 1975 (e-book ed.). Poundbury, Dorchester, UK: Veloce Publishing. pp. 109–118. ISBN 978-1-845845-83-4.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu, Edward John Barrington & Burgess-Wise, David (1995). "Chapter 9—Under New Management". Daimler Century: The full history of Britain's oldest car maker. Foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset, UK: Patrick Stephens. pp. 271–294. ISBN 1-85260-494-8.
- Long, Brian (2008). Daimler V8 S.P. 250 (2nd ed.). Veloce Publishing. ISBN 978-1-9047-8877-5.
- Smith, Brian E. (1972). "Chapter 11—The SP250". The Daimler Tradition. Isleworth, UK: Transport Bookman. pp. 269–284. ISBN 085184-004-3.