Hemi Powered: 1962 Daimler DQ450 Limo

David FrankBy David Frank

Here we have almost 18 feet of British luxury, almost 2 feet longer than the Majestic Major upon which it’s based. In 1962 it was less than half the price of any Rolls Royce limo. They are said to handle very well for their time and considering they weigh over 4,600 pounds. This majestic Daimler is listed on eBay in Lakeland, Florida. This limo is said to be in “impeccable” condition. Everything works, including the AC and the glass partition.

The woodwork and upholstery look beautiful from here. The middle seats were removed and this furniture added. This cabinet looks like it came out of someone’s living room with a homemade base that doesn’t quite match. What do you think might be in the drawers, perhaps mustard? The original middle seats have been preserved and can be reinstalled. They are very comfortable and drop flat into the floor when not in use.

Here’s the heart of the beast. This is the 4.5 liter 220 HP Hemi V8. This engine and the 2.5 liter V8 were designed by Ed Turner who also designed a number of memorable engines including many of the Triumph motorcycle engines and the Ariel Square Four engine.

This limo looks really massive yet elegant from this end. If it is even close to being as nice as advertised it is a very nice car. Could the sides really be straight or could they be hiding buckets of bondo? Is there rust lurking in those huge quarters and under the floors? The odometer shows only about 15,000 miles and the seller doesn’t claim it to be the actual miles. This isn’t the vehicle for casual limo events. You wouldn’t want to clean this up after a party. It would be interesting to know what use the new owner finds for this elegant Daimler, perhaps serving an upscale boutique hotel.

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  1. Larry

    That’s a Jaguar six, probably a 4.2L. The Turner V8 was only 2.5L which probably would have struggled hauling along 4600lbs.

    • Guido36

      That is indeed the Jaguar XK 4.2 however the Turner designef hemi came in both 2.5 and 4.5 litre versions – I recently sold a factory experimental 5.0 Turner hemi.

  2. Derek

    …and it’s a DS 420. Last one I saw was at a banger race at Cowdenbeath… D.

  3. Bob_S

    This is a DS420 based off of the Jaguar MK10/420G. It is powered by a 4.2L 6 cylinder and it should be a 68 or newer. The e-bay lister has the year incorrect.

  4. Peter Reed

    4.5 litre Hemi V8??! These always had the Jaguar 4.2 straight six. With all due respect to David, a little Googling would have corrected the many errors in this article.

    PS: Easy to see where Cadillac found the idea for the bustle-back Seville.

  5. Robert A

    Daimler did in fact make a 4,5 litre V8 as well. Also designed by Ed Turner and used in the Majestic Major saloon and its limo derivatives. External dimensions basically the same so upgrading you SP250 to “SP 450” would be relatively easy providing you can find one as only a little over 2000 were ever made. Google Daimler V* engines for fuller details.

  6. John

    Those who have posted corrections are correct. This is a DS420, based on the Jaguar MK10 floor pan. As is clearly obvious it has the 4.2 litre 6 cylinder in-line OHC engine.
    The Majestic Major saloon DQ450 and the limousine DR450 had a 4561cc V8 hemi engine designed by Edward Turner who designed the 500 cc Triumph m/cycle engine

  7. Coventrycat

    Boy, that cabinet looks hokey.

  8. Al

    I have a feeling that I saw this at the Auctions America event in Ft. Lauderdale a few months ago. That dresser in the back seat sure is a ones of a kind. Can anyone else confirm or deny?

  9. Bill McCoskey

    I’ve had 4 of these over the last 35 years, including the Left Hand drive version that was the British Ambassador’s “Light Armored” limo, used by the queen during the US Bicentennial in 1976. They called it the Light Armored because it had 1/2″ hard panels of pressed Kevlar in the side body panels and floor, but no armored glass.

    These were made by Vanden Plas in Knightsbridge, outside of London. Vanden Plas made the large Princess limousines, the last semi-production vehicle with ash body framing and alloy body panels. The company ceased building the Princess in 1968 [only one was made that year, with quad headlights and a curved windscreen], and began building the Daimler DS420, with Jaguar mechanicals. Very popular with mortuaries and “For Hire” services, similar to what Cadillac was doing in the US. They also made a few dozen landaulettes, with a fold down roof area over the back section.

    These were true hand built custom coachwork vehicles, no 2 were alike unless a buyer specified them that way. I had one that had been ordered new by a middle east buyer, for his wives to use in London shopping excursions. It had dark Purdah glass in the rear area, and the back seats electrically slid forward & reclined. Even had embroidered sliding curtains on the side & rear windows, and the rear headrests raised & lowered electrically. And of course no bar/alcohol, but it did have a 12v refrigerator in the trunk.

    I bought the car cheap because it had been involved in a minor accident, and the very wealthy owner wouldn’t even consider having the car repaired and used again. It was “damaged goods.”

    As for the armored version, I removed a 3″ x 6″ Kevlar panel from behind the right side ashtray, and took it to a shooting range. A 22 cal long penetrated about 1/8″, and a 45 cal slug went in about 1/4″, actually mushrooming and splitting the panel into 2 flat panels, each about 1/4″ thick.

  10. Martin Horrocks

    Yes. Big mistake by the copywriter.

    The Majestic Major with a 4.5V8 was a relative rocket, predates the acquisition of Daimler by Jaguar. Main (almost sole) market for these handbuilt cars was private hire, wedding and funeral trade, mayoral cars,etc.

  11. CanAm

    Driven several of these – very popular in the wedding car industry.
    A mate picked up a hearse version, capable of carrying the ‘on display’ coffin plus another underneath the roller system.

  12. J. Miller

    Just viewed this vehicle in person! I know the man in California who bought it and he came by my office to show it off. It looks very nice! He has a chauffeur business. It will be put to good use, I am sure!

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      That’s awesome! If you get a chance, let him know that we would love it if he’d send us an updated photo of it!


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