"Gentleman purchased Daimlers; Industrialists bought Rolls-Royces"

Brian E Smith in The Royal Daimlers (Transport Book Publications, 1976, ISBN 0 85184 019 1, cites this, saying that this was the considered opinion of WJ Oldham, Rolls-Royce enthusiast and author, (see eg "The Hyphen in Rolls-Royce").


2½ litre V-8 “Cresta” prototype DN250, 1959



Description: Description: http://www.daimler-dn250.net/Vauxhall_Cresta_rear.jpg                       


Description: Description: http://www.daimler-dn250.net/SP250%20engine.jpg


Description: Description: http://www.daimler-dn250.net/Artist's%20impression.jpg








In 1958 production of the Daimler Conquest Century had ceased, but a new 2½ litre v8 engine was being developed for a new range of cars – a sports car and a saloon “of strikingly modern conception and in the medium price range.”  They had a marvellous new engine but nothing apart from the SP250 to put it in:  a writer in the Autocar in 1959, presumably with reference to the SP250 and its controversial looks, is said to have remarked: “Whether I were to choose the new Daimler or not, I should always be glad to have its engine in any car.”

Daimler, then still owned by BSA, lacked the resources to develop its own body and considered the possibility of ‘Daimlerising’ a mass produced one.  One prototype was constructed based on the Vauxhall Cresta PA bodyshell.  The illustration below is an impression how it might have looked.  Click here to see the only two photographs, of which I know, of the actual prototype, which dates, I think, from 1959.  The most obvious difference is that the prototype retains the single headlights of the Cresta, while twin headlights are shown in the  illustration.

I have not been able to find any information about what happened to the prototype.  At a guess it was broken up after Daimler was bought by Jaguar in 1960.  My aim is to recreate the prototype, for which I have bought a Vauxhall Cresta PA (a slightly later model with the single piece rear window), but one without an engine, so I will not be spoiling an existing runner.  It will be fitted with the Daimler 2½ litre V8 with an automatic gearbox, a radiator shell from a Conquest or a Majestic and, of course, a thoroughly Daimler interior.  This is the first page of a website, which contains in the links below what history is known about this prototype and some contemporaneous road tests, and will describe (click here) my project to build a replica of it.

new news

This is not the first Cresta PA to have received a Daimler V8.  In August 2008 Mr Michael Rutherfoord sent to me a copy of the Hot Car article (see below) describing a transplant.

On 1 September 2008, Bill Munro sent to me an email with an interview transcript (see below) including a short passage by the late Peter Ludford who worked on the DN250 prototype.  Bill is the author of “Carbodies, the Complete Story” and learnt about this website when visiting Mal Smith of Vintage Taxi Spares from whom I am buying bumper bars and possibly other parts.

essential reading

If you have not yet got it, do buy the 2nd edition of Brian Long’s excellent “Daimler V8 S.P. 250” (ISBN 978-1–904788-77-5, publ Veloce Publishing Ltd, www.veloce.co.uk).  He devotes a whole chapter, eight pages with illustrations, to the DN250, with more information of its history than I know about elsewhere.

on the road – When?

Having missed the DLOC International at Ross-on-Wye on 13 & 14 June 2009, Shelsley Walsh on 19 July 2009 (but I went in Dotty), the AGM, the whole of 2010 and the 2011 International I am still (in August 2011) no longer guessing, but, apart from snagging, the end of the project came on 19 January 2012.


other pages on this site


why and how?


extract from “The Daimler Tradition” by Brian Smith


extract from “Daimler Century” by Lord Montague and David Burgess-Wise


extract From “Daimler & Lanchester” By Brian Long


article “The Vanishing V8s” by Michael Riley in Driving Member September 1987


article “The Daimler V8s” (and Edward Turner) in Driving Member July 1999


article “PA-V8!” Hot Car September 1978


article “Daimler’s Diamond” Classic cars for Sale October 2008


interview transcript: Bill Munro with Peter James, Carbodies Senior Body Engineer, Peter Ludford, Daimler Body Engineer (1996)


article “My Life at the Daimler Works” by Colin Bromfield in Driving Member, April 2009


road test Daimler Century 1957


road test Vauxhall Cresta 1958


road test (figures only) Daimler 2½ litre V8 saloon 1963


SP250 specification (from “The Daimler Tradition”)


my “shopping” and help list


The Naming of Cars


pictures of the prototype (same as link in text)


photographic history of the project (also as in the text)


A Dotty Tale (see also the Naming of Cars page)


some comparisons


a few Daimler cars in snippets of 101 words


links (Clubs, Museums etc)



Description: Description: http://www.daimler-dn250.net/DM_cover_picture.jpg



All information about the prototype and suggestions will be very welcome.


Roderick Ramage

Copehale, Coppenhall, Stafford, ST18 9BW





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made 25 March 2007

latest update, when this was my home page, 6 August 2011 with minor alterations on 21/01/12