Origins of name

Confusingly, the name Daimler is used by two completely separate groups of car manufacturers. Both trace back to the German engineer Gottlieb Daimler, who patented an engine design in the late 1800s, built (together with Wilhelm Maybach) the first motorcycle in 1885, and the first 4-wheeled car in 1889. This was the origin of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, (meaning “Daimler Motor Company”), which built cars from the 1890s onwards, and also sold licenses of its designs and patents to others. Gottlieb Daimler died in 1900. To avoid confusion and licensing troubles, the name Mercedes was adopted for the cars built by Daimler itself in the early 1900s, while the name Daimler was last used for a German built car in 1908. In 1924, the “Daimler Motor Company” merged with Karl Benz’s Benz & Company to form the Daimler-Benz car company which built Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks and agreed to remain together until 2000. In 1998 Daimler-Benz took over the Chrysler Corporation to form DaimlerChrysler.

History of the British company

The UK patent rights to the Gottlieb Daimler’s engine were purchased in 1893 by Frederick Simms, who formed a new company, the “Daimler Motor Syndicate”. In 1896 Simms and Harry Lawson moved into car production in the city of Coventry as the “Daimler Motor Company”. From 1910 it was part of the Birmingham BSA company, producing military vehicles as well as cars.
Known as Britain’s oldest marque, Daimler became the official transportation of Royalty in 1898 after the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was given a ride on a Daimler by John Scott-Montagu, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. Scott-Montagu as a Member of Parliament also drove a Daimler into the yard of the British Parliament, the first motorized vehicle to do so. Every British monarch from Edward VII to the current Queen have been driven in Daimler limousines, though in 1950 after a transmission failure on the King’s car, Rolls Royce was commissioned as the Royal Primary Carriage, Daimler being reduced to second fiddle.
Since 1907 the fluted radiator grille has been the Daimler marque’s distinguishing feature. The company acquired a Knight Engine license in 1908 to build sleeve valve engines for its automobiles.
In addition to cars, Daimler produced engines for the very first tanks ever built in 1914 (called Little Willie and Big Willie), a scout army vehicle, engines used in planes, ambulances, trucks, and double-decker buses.
In 1930 Daimler took over Lanchester, Britain’s first production car.
During World War II, Daimler production was geared to military vehicles. Post war, Daimler produced the Ferret armoured car, a military reconnaissance vehicle which has been used by over 36 countries, including the United States.
Some of the most significant vehicles produced by Daimler prior to their acquisition by Jaguar in 1960 were:
• 1896 First Daimler Vehicle
• 1926 The Double Six
• 1936-1953 Straight Eight
• 1949-1971 Ferret Army Scout Vehicle
• 1954-1958 Daimler Conquest
• 1959-1968 Daimler Majestic
• 1959-1964 Daimler SP250 (Dart)
• 1961-1967 Daimler DR450

Jaguar and British Leyland

In 1960 the Daimler name was acquired by Jaguar. The Daimler Majestic Major and the sporty Dart, already in production, were continued for a number of years using the Daimler V8 engine. These were the last cars not designed by Jaguar to bear the Daimler badge.
The last car to have a Daimler engine was the Model 250, which apart from a fluted grille, badges and drivetrain was otherwise indistinguishable from a Jaguar Mark II.
Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation, the masters of badge-engineering marques in 1966 to form British Motor Holdings (BMH). Not surprisingly, except for the Daimler DS420 Limousine introduced in 1968 and withdrawn from production in 1992, subsequent vehicles were badge-engineered Jaguars, given a more luxurious finish. For example the Daimler Double Six Vanden Plas was a Jaguar XJ-12 with the Daimler badge, and fluted grille and boot handle the only outward differences from the Jaguar.
During that period, Daimler became the predominant double-decker bus manufacturer in England. At the same time, Daimler made trucks and motorhomes.
BMH, merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation to give the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968 and the Daimler marque stayed within that organization and its subsequent forms until 1982 at which point Jaguar (and Daimler) went their own way and the Austin Rover Group went the other.
Significant Daimler Models for that period include:
• 1959-1968 Daimler Majestic
• 1959-1964 Daimler SP250 (Dart)
• 1963-1969 Daimler 250
• 1968-1992 Daimler DS420 Limousine

Jaguar (Ford)

In 1989 the Ford Motor Company took over Jaguar and with it the right to use the Daimler name. In 1992, Daimler stopped production of the DS420 Limousine, the only model car it still produced that was not based upon a Jaguar model. In 1996 Jaguar Cars produced a “Daimler Century” model to celebrate 100 years of motoring.
In spite of the confusions with the name DaimlerChrysler, especially in America (to where very few Daimlers were exported), the name Daimler was still used until 2002. There were rumours of a distinctive Daimler car being planned by Ford at some undetermined date in the future.
Significant Daimler Models for that period include:
• 1996 Daimler Century
• 1996 Daimler Corsica
• 2002 Daimler Super V8 for HM The Queen


2005 Daimler Super Eight
In July 2005, after a three year hiatus, a new Daimler, the Super Eight, was presented, with a 4.2 L V8 supercharged engine which produces 291 kW (390 hp) and a torque rating of 533 N·m (393 ft·lbf) at 3500 rpm. It is derived from the Jaguar X350.
• 2005- Daimler Super Eight