Classifieds Hero: 1960 Daimler SP250 'Dart'

Besides offering more British history than you could wave a police truncheon at, this is the very car from the cover of Brian Long's Daimler book – and it's for sale!

A bit like discovering her majesty Queen Elizabeth II released a racy pop anthem before grasping the reigns of British monarchy, the Daimler Dart proved to be an unusual yet sporty departure for a firm associated with fat, stately limousines. Yet, in a final fling before Jaguar acquired the marque, it’s kept the Daimler name revered by enthusiasts of sleek, ground breaking British Heritage.

Aimed largely at the North American market and launched in 1959, the Dart – or SP250 as it is officially known – sported a separate ladder-style chassis and controversially styled coachwork manufactured by Daimler themselves.

It may appear dated now, but in a black-and-white world where people ate gruel and the most exciting thing on TV was Dixon of Dock Green, such a car gave most teenage boys a rush of blood.

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Besides the vehicle’s outlandish styling, the engineering was also cutting edge. Long before the gracious curves of William Lyon’s E-type and Mk2 saloon ushered such technological marvels into the public’s everyday life, the Dart already employed disc brakes and a remarkably flexible 2.5-litre V8 engine. Although officially the smaller of Daimler`s two Edward Turner designed V8s, the sturdy unit still churned out 140bhp and could propel two people beyond 125mph.

With the unveiling of Britain’s modern motorways and criminals utilising them to their advantage – especially when behind the wheel of a Jag or Mercedes – it made complete sense for the police force to employ the Dart as a motorway patrol car. Nothing at the time could outrun a healthy SP250. Not even the Kray twins – not that you would be brave enough to pull them over...

From the classifieds

The SP250 listed here was first registered on 8 July 1960, boasting chassis number 101373. Finished in gleaming and unmarked signal red and supplied with contrasting black/red wet weather gear (hard and soft tops), this example presents the full package.

The interior is largely original with patina that is only apparent after extreme scrutiny, wearing 58 years of wear with minimal effect. The previous ownership seems to have been a carefully planned and meticulous affair. There are no rips or tears – just soft, black leather.

The history and paperwork supplied with this car remains exemplary and contains more information than most would ever have time to go through in all detail. There are almost 30 old MOT certificates with matching tax discs dating back to 1977.

Folders of old invoices, photos, service packs, brochures and manuals come with the Daimler – even a copy of Mayfair where the model is featured. There is a ledger detailing old expenses and, interestingly, it is on the front cover of the Daimler Book written by Brian Long, which is also included in the sale.

This has to be one of the best available and given the very limited run of just 2654 examples, this has to be worthy of serious consideration either for the investor or simply for the driver who wants something historically significant.

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert.

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