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British Hemi: 1962 Daimler SP250


This 1962 Daimler SP250 has been parked in the seller’s garage since 1985. The seller has owned it since 1967, but parked it after ethanol ate up some of the seals. There were only 2,645 of these built, with about half of them being left hand drive. Take a look at it here on eBay.


The SP250 has a 2.5 liter engine under the bonnet, but this isn’t a six cylinder, it’s a Hemi V8. It isn’t the most powerful V8, with only 140 hp and 155 pounds of torque. However, it was capable of hurtling the SP to 125 mph and could still achieve over 25 mpg. The seller claims the ethanol only affected the fuel lines and seals in the side draft SU carburetors. Hopefully this is the case and it won’t involve a complete rebuild of the engine.


This Dart, as it’s often called, needs some work, but looks to be in good shape. I would be sure to inspect the ladder frame for rust and check that the engine turns freely. Assuming the engine doesn’t need a complete rebuild and that bidding doesn’t climb much higher, this one could end up being a great deal for a Hemi powered sports car.


  1. Rick

    Neat car…but I’m not quite with it, I don’t understand what/who Daimler is. I equate it with Daimler-Benz, but I know that’s not the case. Could someone point me to some reading please?

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  2. ChrisV

    I don’t know much about these cars or the company, but according to http://wikicars.org/en/Daimler_Motor_Company, Gottlieb Daimler started both this company and the better known German company.

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  3. ChrisV

    Or more accurately, Daimler licensed his name to both companies.

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  4. paul

    Nice you don’t get to see a Dart very often. I did see one at Sebring last year at a vintage weekend it belonged to I think a drummer from some rock group who had quite a few cars there that weekend. His was maroon & very mint.

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  5. 6point3

    I know that the Daimler company was a stand alone Car company in England.
    The name has the same origin as Daimler Benz (Gottfried Daimler).
    And most laymen confuse/mix up the brands.
    Since 1960 a Jaguar Company according to wikipedia

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    • paul

      Yes I remember the Daimler sedans sort of a cross between a Jag & a Bently.

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  6. carguy

    It was a British family named Daimler. When they introduced the car at the New York Auto Show it was called the Dart. Chrysler Corp. lawyers quickly changed the mind of the Brits and they called it the less than exciting SP-250.
    We have a restored 1965 at the Classic Car Collection in Kearney, NE. It is a fiberglass body. The British Police used them as pursuit vehicles. We found an advertising flyer in the trunk with the motto: “Built to go places … FAST.”
    The previous owner of our Daimler used to race Fiat Abarths in Connecticut. He said he lost a race to a Daimler and vowed to have one of his own some day.

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  7. paul

    Parked for nearly 30 years, if not a complete rebuild, certainly every seal & gasket on everything will need replacement.

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  8. twwok

    Ugly but interesting
    Most SP-250’s you see for sale are usually shot. This one doesn’t look in to bad of shape actually.

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  9. Mike

    My dad had one and raced it. He probably is the guy who beat the Fiat Abarth guy mentioned above if it was at Limerock or Thompson. Ridiculously quick when properly sorted. I’d love to own one.

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  10. Dolphin Member

    For some reason I like these ugly ducklings, or as many people call them….Daimler Catfish.

    Could be because their ‘Hemi’ aluminium engine was one of the most advanced designs to come out of the UK at a time when some other sports cars used cast iron engines adapted from truck/tractor use. The 125 MPH top speed was better than just about all other sportscars available back then except the E-Type, ‘Vette, or the exotics from the UK (Aston Martin) or Italy.

    These have a ‘Glass body, and so suffer from the tim worm less than most. And they are so rare that you will be lucky to see one at a large British Car Day show. The hard top on this one is also a plus.

    I would be a tad sceptical of the claim that the engine in this car ran perfectly until ethanol damaged the rubber lines and seals. The last time it is said to have been used was in 1985, but ethhanol didn’t come into general use in gasoline until years after that, and not to any great extent until the 2000s. But in an unused car like this you should expect that there will be problems in the fuel system and that it will need to be taken apart and cleaned, anyway.

    Seller understates the number made (2,650), but with multiple bidders and twenty bids already, you can see the interest. A #2 SP250 should have a value between $30K – $42K, and so far this one is well under that, and if it stays reasonable someone could have a rare California blue-plate sportscar that *might* not need too much more than cleaning up and recommissioning of the systems.

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  11. Tom Cotter Staff

    I’ve always been intrigued with the SP250. It has the face only a mother could love, but it puts out the most beautiful exhaust note!

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  12. Peter R

    I used to see several of them in the 70’s in Montreal but had not seen one for years. There were two in beautiful but still ugly condition at a recent show in Florida. This one seems to be all there but will need a lot of work to make it really anything better than a driver and even as a driver all the systems will need doing. good luck to the buyer

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  13. Blindmarc

    Worth the current bid for sure. If you want to see a current running model, see Jay Lenos videos on you tube. He posted one in restoration recently.

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  14. Catfish Phil

    Just saw three restored SP-250’s at the British car show in Jupiter, FL last Saturday… so cool to see three side-by-side (none with hard tops). This Daimler looks to be in really good shape, and having the hard top would be a great accessory. There was one in bad shape here in Hammond, LA many years ago in a private “junk yard” collection, and the gentleman would not part with it. The same Daimler company build the limousine that transports the Queen of England.

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    • paul

      Crap I was gonna go to that & forgot about that.

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    • MikeW

      Did you see any Jupiter’s in Jupiter?

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      • paul

        Jumpin Jupiters, no but a few Saturns.

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  15. Chris J.

    Look up Duncan Black SP 250 race car for a really good look at how a hot driver could compete with a Daimler. Great racing success story. I was surprised that despite the size of an SP 250 it was light. Putting the 2.5 V8 torque of that light car through a limited slip differential and with disc brakes kept it competitve for years. These cars, although less than beautiful, were really good for their day. As a VSCCA entrant it would be nice to see one again at Pittsburgh and Watkins. A good car that deserves restoration and respect. Wish I had the time, money and space.

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  16. Chris J.

    Compare this car and it’s engine bay to what Jay Leno is into with his dark blue SP 250 restoration project and that will give you a really good idea of how much work is ahead for anyone thinking about actually restoring an SP 250 . Jay can afford to go upside down on acquistion+restoration cost v. market value, but I and many others can’t and won’t. If sellers think every car is so valuable that Jay wants it, or that they can sell it as if he did they need to get a grip on reality. There are lots of cars I’d love to buy and restore, but I can’t see buying a project that from day one you know you are going deep into the hole (and may have to explain to the significant other) because of the initial acqusition cost.

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  17. Dolphin Member

    45 bids and sold for $22,850.

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  18. Dan

    …There was long standing family owned Cider press in Gaithersburg Md called “The Cider Barrel”. A friend of mine worked for the owner Bill (who in the 1990’s was already I think around 75 yrs old) He owned the first and only HEMI Daimler I have ever seen. Tom (my friend) and Bill had restored the little beast over the years. Unless your standing there looking under the hood, you have no idea how impressive a HEMI looks shoved into a two seat sports car.

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