Daimlers & Jags

Butch tunes a hemi

Ayuh, it's a Hemi

Sometime around 1959 the English carriage trade manufacturer Daimler, maker of the bespoke limousines favored by the House of Windsor, took a 90 degree turn and produced a small fiberglass bodied sports car built on a modified TR3 chassis and featuring a rorty V8 hemi power plant of their own design.  While somewhat less than brilliant in its execution, and with looks that might be charitably described as ‘peculiar’, it was none the less a storny good performer, and we’re always thrilled when one shows up here.  Behind Butch, Hobie Terhune is thrilled to be looking over an Austin Healey 3000 Mk III much like the one he owned until recently.  BTW: Hobie’s dad was a paving contractor at Lime Rock Park when it was being built in the 1950’s.

We’ve already detailed the travails of the steering gear & transmission.  In the picture at the top, Butch is hard at work sorting out the carburetors, because having got to the point where it could safely be driven on public roads, our next task was to make it run well.  We expect to be returning it to the owner  on Friday.

Chris preps an XJ6 cylinder head for removal

Chris preps an XJ6 cylinder head for removal

Around the same time that Daimler released the SP 250 for production, William Lyons who owned Jaguar was deep in talks with Birmingham Small Arms (aka “BSA”) for the purchase of their automobile company.  It certainly wasn’t the SP 250 that Lyons was after, he desperately needed more production space for his own rapidly growing car company, and Daimler had it.  And that is how a very classy small V8 engine found its way into the Jaguar Mk2 sedan, badged as a Daimler V8 Saloon.

Later on in the sixties Jaguar consolidated its saloon car range into just one model, the XJ6, which many automotive enthusiasts will argue was an even better car than its

Holed piston in an XJ6

A hole in two

contemporary the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.  It certainly was faster and much better handling.  That is was probably even quieter too might be debatable, but this much we know for sure:  When we rolled it up on the trailer to put it back in the barn after Chris lifted the head and found a holed #2 piston from a dropped valve, we had to have John lower the window so he could hear our directions  as we pushed the car onto the trailer for the short trip back to the barn for storage.

This is a beautiful car and as a series 1 XJ6, arguably the best iteration of the line, graceful from any angle.  the black on grey color scheme with red leather upholstery is a stunner, I think.  Look for it at Stowe.

Clockwise from top: Chris, John & Butch

Tying down; Clockwise from top: Chris, John & Butch

This entry was posted in This week at the shop. Bookmark the permalink.