1962 Daimler Roadster Convertible SP-250
Owners: Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Original cost: $3,905.00 (In 1962: Average car cost, $3,125.00; average household income, $5,556.00; average home cost $12,500.00; gallon of gas, 28 cents)
Previous owner: Ron Ames, Omaha, NE
Number made: Only 2,648 during entire 6-year production run
Engine, etc.: V-8, 2.5 liter Hemi; 155.5 cu. in.; 140 hp; 2,095 lbs.
Previous owner(s): A retired Sports Car Club of America race car driver who raced Fiat Abarth 850TC sedans and the legendary Fiat Zagato known as the Double Bubble in New England where he learned about the Daimler, its speed, and its handling ability.
This car was found in a snow bank in Maine and Mr. Ames bought it for $400 and spent 18 months having it restored. He moved to Omaha and sold it to an accountant who then sold it to Bernie Taulborg.
Before selling the car to the accountant, the Mr. Ames installed a security device on the ignition. It is activated by two of the four switches on a custom-made leather box under the dashboard. Only two switches work and they have to be in certain position. He said he is still trying to remember which two switches and which position they must be in to start the car.
The SP-250 was introduced in New York in 1959 with the name of “Dart”. After being threatened with legal action by Chrysler’s Dodge division, the car was renamed the Daimler SP-250.
It was considered a surprisingly satisfying vehicle despite a bad reputation early on and the stigma of being “homely” and “poorly executed”.
In 1960 Jaguar purchased Daimler. The main concern with the car was chassis flex and, though the original version could do 120 mph, on rough roads the doors would come open as the chassis flexed too much. Frame and post improvements helped fix this problem.
Weighing barely 2,000 pounds, despite good handling and a powerful engine on this highly sophisticated sports car, only 2,648 vehicles were produced during its six-year production run.
The car had the finest braking system ever made, with discs on all four wheels and completely fade free hydraulic operation. The engine had a single high camshaft that operated valves through short alloy pushrods and had heavy duty valve springs.
The main attraction of the SP-250 was its motor. If it hadn’t received such negative attention, it may have gone down in history for its small hemi-head V-8 as one of the truly great sports cars. It reached its peak at 140 hp at 5,800 rpm and hit a top speed of 125 mph. It was faster (0 – 60 mph: 9.7 seconds; ¼ mile: 17.8 seconds; top speed: 125 mph) than any contemporary Healy, MG, or Triumph and considered an equal to the Jaguar XK 150 DHC.
The interior had polished aluminum, polished stainless steel door finishes, and chrome trim that followed the roll-up side windows and toggle switches. The interior was entirely leather and the top was both weatherproof and attractive.
http://storm.oldcarmanualproject.com/daimlersp250.htm (Original dealer brochure)