Churchill’s Daimler to appear at The London Classic Car Show

Wartime prime minister’s DB18 Drophead Coupé set to feature at capital’s historic car expo, 15-18 February

Seldom does a vehicle help shape the course of history, but the sole surviving Daimler DB18 Drophead Coupé is just such a model – and it’s set to star at the forthcoming 2018 London Classic Car Show.

Winston Churchill’s chosen steed for his electoral campaign trail between 1944 and 1949 will be appearing on the event’s Grand Avenue, and its historic role isn’t to be underestimated. As the wartime leader toured the country, he’d perch on the car’s rear deck to address crowds via a loudspeaker system fitted atop the bonnet. Churchill personally selected the DB18 for the role, deeming its relatively large size – for its time, at least – appropriate for ensuring that the crowds packing the streets could properly see their national hero.

Churchill’s legacy continues to fascinate today, with the recent Oscar-nominated movie Darkest Hour proving a huge critical and box-office success. As one of the most charismatic and inspirational leaders in British history, his automotive legacy has long been scrutinised. His Land Rover Series I sold at auction for a record £130,000, while Corgi produced a scale model of his Austin Cambridge. This extraordinary DB18 joins that prestigious role of honour.

Announced in 1939 as Britain declared war with Germany, the DB18 was the ultimate version of Daimler’s desirable Fifteen model. It was the marque’s first model to employ independent suspension, and used an enlarged 2522cc incarnation of the overhead-valve engine first seen in 1933. While 23 Drophead Coupés were initially planned, the outbreak of war put a stop to that.

Production resumed in 1945, but disruption was rife as the Daimler factory had been destroyed during the 1940 Blitz. Eight examples had been built by this point, with five destroyed in German attacks. Now only one example is thought to remain, with chassis number 49531; Winston Churchill’s personal model. The unique Drophead Coupé body was designed by Carlton Carriage Company.

Having recently undergone a major £120k restoration, Churchill’s Daimler will be joining a host of other classics parading along The London Classic Car Show’s Grand Avenue runway.

‘This very special Daimler not only has enormous provenance in classic car circles as the only surviving DB18 Drophead Coupé, but it also played a major role in shaping the history of this county and, indeed, the world. It ticks all the boxes,’ said event director Bas Bungish.

‘Its presence at The London Classic Car Show is all the more pertinent, too, with Darkest Hour putting the spotlight on Churchill’s incredible leadership at the box office, and actor Gary Oldman tipped for an Oscar for his depiction of the great man.’

Full details can be found on The London Classic Car Show 2018’s official website.

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