Daimler’s Final Fling: 1962 Daimler SP250 Roadster

070116 Barn Finds - 1962 Daimler SP 250 Roadster - 2

This 1962 Daimler SP250 Roadster is in Brook Park, Ohio; a southwest suburb of Cleveland. It’s listed on eBay with a bid price of just over $1,000! But, there are over six days left and this car is worth more than $1,000, as we all know. With only 1,420 left-hand-drive models made, this is a rare car.

070116 Barn Finds - 1962 Daimler SP 250 Roadster - 1

The Daimler SP250 was made from 1959 to 1964 and it was the last car brought to market by Daimler before BSA – Birmingham Small Arms Co. – its parent company, was sold to Jaguar in 1960. The SP250 has a fiberglass body and the early version, the A-spec, had a chassis that flexed so much that the doors could, and sometimes would, pop open! With a top speed of 120 mph, yeah, that’s not good. At least with a Subaru 360 when that happened you were only going 30 mph. The seller says that the “fiberglass is in very good condition, no cracks.” Most of you probably know that Jay Leno has one that his shop, Big Dog Garage, has restored. Here’s his account of the restoration on his car; pretty interesting. You can see that some of the paint is flaking off of this car, especially on the boot/trunk lid. But, inside the boot/trunk looks good.

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This particular example is a “true survivor, an extremely original and unrestored car”, as you can probably tell from the photos. It has 81,000 miles on it and the owner recently spent $3,000 getting a few of the mechanical systems up to par after being in storage. Those things include: “all front bushings and suspension A frames, shocks, brakes and calipers, fuel pump, tires, exhaust, transmission rebuild, SU carbs rebuilt.” This is a B-spec car with special outriggers on the chassis to try to put an end to the flex problems of the former cars. Bumpers were optional on the SP250, believe it or not. The seller says that although the front bumper isn’t shown in the photos, it comes with the car. Of course, it looks much better without it, as is often the case.

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Now this is an original-looking interior! You may want to do some work in here, but then again, maybe some of you would leave it original? I’m on the fence on that debate. Part of me loves a perfect car, just like it left the factory or, as is the case with some restorations, much better than when it left the factory. But, there is something to be said about keeping things as original as possible. Maybe the leather seats could be “fed” and conditioned and the carpet could be dyed, etc. The top actually looks pretty decent for being so many decades old, it must not have been used much.

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Ahhh, there it is, Daimler’s 2.5L V8 with 140 hp! Although this car wasn’t particularly light, at 2,100 pounds, those 140 ponies moved it along nicely. Of course, it’s about half or less the horsepower of arguably its bulls-eye target, the Chevrolet Corvette. Here’s a gorgeously-restored SP250 on YouTube, that’s a nice rumble from that hemi-head V8. These cars will sell in the $40,000-$50,000 range when restored, so there isn’t a lot of wiggle room if you’re just going to bring it in to a shop and tell them to nut-and-bolt this car. But, if you’re willing to do some, or most, of the work yourself than this could be not just a fun car, but possibly a profitable one, if you don’t count your labor/labour.  Pretend your Edd China and just don’t figure in the cost of your time and you’re set! I love these cars, but I know that the “U-word” (ugly) will crop up, and I’m not looking forward to it. But, to each his/her own. Do you think these cars were supposed to compete with the Corvette? Or, were they just a last-ditch attempt to keep the Daimler brand going?

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    A face no doubt inspired by this other fishface…

    • Mike Sorenson

      Froggie headlights and front grill looks like the mouth of a catfish.

  2. Coventry Cat

    The only option missing is the hook in the grille.

    • Randy Cooper

      I had the good fortune to buy a left hand drive 1964 Daimler V8 saloon years ago.
      She shared the body with the Jaguar Mark ll 3.8 saloon.
      She was sold new in France.
      Of course, she had the 2.5 liter hemi with the two SU carbs.
      She had a Borg Warner type 35 automatic transmission on the column.
      Split bench seat in front.
      She was my daily driver for years.
      Daimler used the flouted grill because their motto was “Silent as flight”.
      This was reminiscent of a bird’s wings.

  3. Ben T Spanner

    I attended an auto show with my father in late 1961. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t interested in a burgandy SP 250 with tan interior. I don’t think these were aimed at Corvettes, more likely XK 150 convertibles; not roadsters. The money was spent on the interior.

    My Father ordered an new Dodge 880 convertible; the one with a Dodge nose on a Chrysler body. Luckily the car came in in the wrong colors, and the promised color combination wasn’t available. I steered Dad down the street where he ordered a Catalina convertible.

    In the mid sixties a worked on a few of these SP 250’s. In only a few years they were already ratty. This engine was also available in the Jaguar Mark II body, and it did not wear well, and parts were hard get and pricey.

  4. Andy Frobig

    Jaguar didn’t buy BSA; they only bought Daimler FROM BSA. The cycle brands stayed together a few more years, with Ariel dying in the ’60s, BSA making their last bike in ’72, and Triumph selling out to a workers’ co-op after an 18 month sit-in strike, only to have the co-op fold in 1983.

  5. Howard A Member

    It’s got a HEMI!! I always thought the Daimler was a German product. I had a friend that had one disassembled, never did get it together. The Israeli sports car, the Sabra, looks a lot like this car, only no hemi. This, like the Sabra’s styling, was bit too far out there, and not many people liked them. Had brisk performance though, 0-60 in under 9 seconds, and the 125 mph top speed may be a little optimistic, and was a bit front heavy, but a true V-8 roadster all they way. If Jay Leno has one, you know they’re special. Already over 10g’s, and reserve still isn’t met. This one is gonna cost you plenty, for sure.

  6. Eric Dashman

    When I was in college (in the late 60s in the Chicago area), one of the students a year ahead of me had one of these in dark blue. It seemed to be always needing attention, so out of frustration maybe, he bought a 1966 Lotus Elan. Speaking of needing attention…his new love developed some sort of transmission problem and required parts from England. He did a lot of walking for a rich kid. Fortunately Lake Forest was a very walkable campus and village. There I was, working 2 jobs in the summer (from 7am to almost 10pm) every day, saving all of $500 for the summer to help pay for school (did I tell you about the MB SL190 the sales manager offered to me for $600 after a professor died and his wife wanted an automatic?)….and this kid could buy a Daimler 250 and Lotus Elan…and barely drive either of them. It’s definitely my fault. I was born to the wrong parents :-) but who knew? At the time it seemed like a good idea.

  7. Zaphod

    Horrid little ugly death trap. When you finally got it going it wouldn’t stop.
    Absolute rubbish.

  8. jimbosidecar

    A sports car should at the very least look pretty or brutal but never ugly

  9. Jim

    120-122 mph per most road tests of the day

  10. Dolphin Member

    Not pretty, to be sure, but it is British and therefore has a right to be quirky. Daimlers were fairly high end vehicles, and IIRC these were pretty expensive when new, with only 2,650 made in all.

    The median recent U.S. auction price paid has been $45K, and with the bid at about $15K this might be an OK car for someone who doesn’t mind attending to the interior and to whatever those pinholes are underneath. The description seems to say the pinholes are in the chassis, but they look like they might be at the bottom of the rockers.

    The underside is one of the best looking in a while here on BF, so if the body & chassis structural condition is as good as it looks and the seller claims and if it runs as well as claimed, this might be an OK purchase for someone who likes quirky and is willing to pay up for it.

  11. Rotag999

    My Buddy’s Dad had one brand new in the 60’s never saw many other’s it was red like this one they drove it to California from Washington state the whole family 6 all together they managed to get everyone one in. I guess they got into a race with a Tr-4 not much of a race i guess and claims of over 110mph near the Redwood’s. I always liked the SP-250 and they look better in person. My Uncle’s brother lived down the street they had a Jaguar mark II and another fellow had a Austin Healy 3000 pretty rare for my Neighborhood south of Seattle in the 60’s most every one else had Ford’s or Chevys and worked for the lazy B Boeing…..ah.h the good ole days.

  12. Mercury Man

    This car must be the reason for the invention of the word UGLY!
    What kind of drug were those guys on?

  13. Wayne

    Not ugly. I think they look very nice. I guess beauty is in the eye of the bee holder.

  14. TVC15

    They actually used them as Police cars in parts of England

    • Mike Williams

      The early police pursuit, ie Mustang 5.0

  15. Mercury Man

    If the police used them it would be a good incentive not to be arrested. Even a criminal would not want to be seen riding in one!

  16. Pj

    So, I think someone outta change the livery to a two-toned scheme, Gold/Black and call it Hemi Under ‘Glas, right? Pj/NJ

  17. Rotag999

    The sound of that little Hemi will get you to look !

  18. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    Some cars get better looking with age, and others…well, they just…you know…age…

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