1961 Daimler SP250 DartSOLD

1961 Daimler SP250 Dart

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Registration No: OO 3890 Engine No: 97073 CC: 2500 Colour: Silver Trim Colour: Cherry MOT: March 2011

Reference Number 73889

as of 3/20/2010

Car 1961 Daimler SP250 Dart
VIN 103829 
Mileage 115,700 miles 
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Known History

Daimler's attempts to crack the lucrative US sports car market culminated in the introduction of the SP250 (codenamed `Dart') at the 1959 New York Motor Show. Transatlantic styling was a feature of the tough GRP bodywork, but the understated interior gave a truly British flavour. Built on a traditional cruciform-braced ladder-frame chassis equipped with independent coil-and-wishbone front suspension and a leaf-sprung rear axle, it was the SP250's advanced powerplant and strong performance that intrigued the contemporary motoring press. The engine was designed by Edward Turner, and used a combustion chamber design first seen on the Triumph vertical-twin motorcycle engine. With hemispherical combustion chambers, the engine proved powerful for its 2.5 litre size, and makes a glorious noise when driven. The Metropolitan Police used a fleet of Black SP250s as high-speed pursuit cars, and the model is noted for being the last car US racing driver Mark Donohue owned, raced and modified as an unsponsored amateur driver. `A' series variants were only built until 1960, when Jaguar-modified `B' spec cars were released, addressing some complaints to ride quality and door security. Later `C' series cars had a heater as standard. Production lasted until 1964, by which time 2645 examples had been built.

This is a B-spec car that was chosen in 2008 to re-run the 1958 factory test route from Coventry into Devon and back via Porlock Hill and Wales. Driven by two of the original works test drivers, the figures - average speed of 42mph and 26.5mpg - were similar to those returned by the prototype 50 years earlier, and 00 3890 'behaved faultlessly'. The engine had been restored in 2004 with a new cylinder block and the car has been improved by the fitting of rack-and-pinion steering, which the owner considers essential for an SP 250, TR6 wheels and uprated rear dampers, an alternator in place of the original dynamo, and a stainless steel exhaust. The interior has been retrimmed and there is a recent new hood.

The owner describes the glassfibre coachwork as 'very good, though not concours' and paintwork as 'very good'. The four-speed manual transmission has a 'slick change and good synchro'; the electrical equipment is 'sound.' He adds: '00 3890 has been used continuously for 20 years and benefits from ongoing care and maintenance. It is a very useable and comfortable long-distance touring car which, while offering the opportunity for minor cosmetic improvements, offers the kind of performance expected of a Daimler SP 250.' The car comes with the unusual registration number valued at £2000, workshop manual and a history file including old MoT certificates.