1951 Daimler Barker Special Sports Drop Head Coupe.
This very rare Daimler has been owned by me since 1973 when I bought it in England and brought it to Canada in 1974. The car is registered in Saskatchewan, but is currently located near Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada.
There were only 503 of this very desirable Daimler Barker Special Sports Drop Head Coupe models built from 1949 to 1952. The doors are of the “suicide” type, opening from the front. The car was hand built using the best panel beating techniques for luxury cars in 1951. The front fenders and hood are made of heavy gage steel. The entire rest of the body, from the firewall back, is entirely made using hand beaten aluminum panels. The unique rear fender “spats” were new to Daimler with this model, (and new to most other British cars at the time), and caused quite a stir among the gentile English motorist of the day. The trunk is lined and finished inside. A separate lower trunk opens to allow access to the necessities of a spare wheel and tools. The tires are Michelin 600 X 16 radial tires in new condition.
The frame is a solid box steel structure, with ladder cross members. To ensure a low center of gravity, Daimler placed solid heavy oak inserts into these longitudinal frame members. Integrated into the frame at both rear wheels, and across the front between the axles, there are three lifting jacks that are used by inserting a handle taken from the trunk. The jack lowers from the frame, lifting the car, making wheel changing possible in the event of a flat.
The drive train consists of an original Daimler 2.5 liter in-line six cylinder engine with twin carburetors. These carburetors were rebuilt in the fall of 2007. The engine was rebuilt to Daimler’s specifications about fifteen years ago and the car has turned only about 5,000 miles since, all of it in bright sunny summer days. The car is located in indoor storage all the time. The engine has a water cooled intake manifold and oil bath air cleaner. The transmission is Daimler’s own Pre-Selector four speed semi-automatic.
Daimler’s were noted at this time for their “flat floor” even though they had a front engine and rear drive. This was achieved by the use of a worm gear differential, rather than the more common crown and pinion. Through the use of the worm gear arrangement, the drive shaft was located much lower in the frame, resulting in an almost completely flat floor.
The interior is traditional wood on the dash and door sills. The typical instruments of oil, water, battery, speedometer and tachometer are arranged in the middle of the dash. It has an ignition key, with a separate push button starter. The steering wheel is located on the right hand side of this car, having originated in England. The seats are original leather, which show a fine patina of age, with the only problem being a mended tear in the driver’s seat. (I could not bring myself to replace this lovely old leather with something new.) The front seat is a split bench which could accommodate three very slim people, or three really cozy people. The rear seat was also unique to this Daimler model at the time in that it was a single seat that could be located sideways on either side of the back area. All of the seats are leather, as are the door panels. Seating is most comfortably for three maximum.
The convertible top is in excellent condition, and is made from Daimler heavy weight waterproof black fabric. The rear window is an integrated heavy plastic design, and is also in excellent condition. The hood is lined with mohair, which hides all of the top hardware. The top is manual in its operation, with manual latches at the front. The convertible top lining is in excellent condition, except for two places of wear where the hardware has worn at the lower edges in the back.
All of the glass on this car is in good condition. The windshield, side windows, and vent windows are complete and original with no cracks. The Lucas headlights are of the bulb type, and the car has the original front driving lights, one a spot light, and the other a flood light, in typical British car fashion of the time. The tail lights are original and have good lenses. The signal arms are the little orange lights that flip up from the side of the car when activated using an electro-magnetic system with the switch in the center of the steering wheel. These signal lights are temper mental, but mostly functional.
A professional appraisal in August 2007 placed a value upon it, as presented, of $49,645.00 Canadian dollars. It is being offered for sale at $37,000.00, US dollars, or best offer. A small part trade may be considered. The car is located in British Columbia, Canada. Phone 250-346-3322, or email [email protected] for photos and appraisal.