If you are searching for svelte V8 power in a luxurious bodyshell, the Daimler 250 V8 is the car for you.
The Daimler 250 V8 and later V8-250 were the result of a lengthy plan to give Daimler a presence in the executive car sector as well as the luxury sector. The first attempt to bridge this gap was a joint venture with Vauxhall, which would have led to a restyled PA Cresta with a Daimler V8 and trim. The Jaguar buyout of 1960 put paid to this, and in 1962 the 2.5 V8 saloon was created. In 1967 the car was revised in line with changes made to the Jaguar range, gaining slimline bumpers and a new name; V8-250. The Turner engine gives the whole car a very different, more louche feel than the sporting Jaguars, and as such appealed to different customers when new and on the classic market.
Engine – 2548cc/V8/OHV
Power - 140bhp@5800rpm
Torque - 155lb/ft@3600rpm
Top Speed – 112mph
0-60mph – 10.8 seconds
Economy - 19mpg
Gearbox - 3 speed auto, optional 4 speed manual
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
In the respect the Daimler V8 is no different to a MK2 – which means our old friend iron oxide comes out to play. Check the Panhard rod mountings, rear leaf spring hangers, sills, under the rear seat and boot floor, wheel spats, wing-top sidelights at the front, and the lower edges of all panels. MK2s were known for rust, and whilst most left will be good it’s always wise to make certain you haven’t found a bad one. A lot of panels are available – but they’re costly. A complete front wing will cost a smidge over £2000. Key differences within the range were the bumpers – twin blade on the 2.5 V8, and single blade on the V8-250. This necessitates different valances – beware that they’re of different depths and not directly interchangeable. Rear valances are also different to the Jaguars; modified for the Daimler iant to accommodate twin exhausts. These are still available from SNG Barratt for both 2.5V8 and V8 250 models. Contrary to popular belief, chromed wire wheels were a factory option for the Daimler – don’t dismiss a car for wearing them. And don’t be worried by V8-250s with foglamps. Whilst they were deleted on the Jaguar 240 and Jaguar 340, the Daimler kept foglamps as standard equipment until the end of production.
Unlike the Jaguar iant, Daimlers had rimbellishers as standard fitment – any car with steel wheels should still have these. Many had opalescent paint as standard, so make sure it hasn’t been subject to any poor partial re-sprays; the colour difference will be clear if it has.
Whilst Jaguar gave thought to the concept of using the larger 4.5 V8 in the MKII shell, the sole engine option for production was Daimler’s small 2.5 V8, designed by Edward Turner of Triumph motorbike fame. Inspired in part by the contemporary Cadillac V8, he incorporated many of the design features seen in his motorbike engines; including hemispherical combustion chambers and pushrods, with an overhead valve layout. Developing 140bhp, this engine was also used in the Daimler SP250 sports car – and is the reason the Daimler is seen as a separate entity to the Jaguars. The Daimler engine is generally reliable, and should pose no major issues in service.
The Daimler V8’s running gear – with the obvious exception of the engine – is straight MK2. As such, companies such as SNG Barratt are able to supply most parts for the cars. A lot of it is cheaper than you’d think too - £4.86 for a fuel filter, and just under fourteen quid for an engine mounting. All pre-1967 cars and most post-1967 cars used the Borg-Warner Type 35 automatic gearbox, which can still be obtained new. A manual option was offered from 1967; an identical gearbox to that used on the 2.4 Jaguar MK2. As the engine was lighter than the XK, the front suspension needed slight modification to suit – beware anybody trying to pass off Jaguar items as the same.
The interior on these Daimlers is more or less straight MK2 – with a few differences. Firstly, the front seats – a split bench in the manner of the later 3.4S and 3.8S was the order of the day for Daimler, unlike the more rakish separate seats seen in the MK2 and 240/340. As a result of this, the picnic tables were lost – the centre console also disappeared, as did the heating ducts to the rear of the cabin. The final change was the badge on the steering wheel – Daimlers had a golden D in place of the Jaguar’s growling cat. As with all cars in this class, interior condition is key – a retrim will not come cheap. Buy the best you can – flaky lacquer and cracked leather do not a good Daimler make.
It’s the forgotten MKII. Whilst prices for good Jags spiral ever higher, one can burble along in a Daimler V8 feeling just as pleased about life, but at a fraction of the cost. The ‘S’ Type, 420 and Sovereign may all be cheaper still, but most small Jag admirers find their beauty compromised by the extra inches to the rear and the restyled noses. The trim level is higher than the MK2, too – when the 240 and 340 received Ambla trim, the Daimler V8-250 was never subjected to such indignities. They might not be as sporting – but let’s be honest, few MK2s are ever really driven in anger any more. The only downside is the amount of time you’ll spend at shows correcting those who "like your MK2" – for you will find yourself doing so every time!