The Daimler Motor Company Limited was set up by H J Lawson in 1896 at Coventry. Lawson bought the name Daimler and the Daimler Motoren Gessellschaft Company from Gottlieb Daimler and F R Simms.
The company was purchased by Jaguar Cars in 1960 for 3.4 million pounds, which in turn was taken over in 2008 by the Tata Group of India.
The British business of Daimler was started by F R Simms. He introduced Daimler’s engines in power launches in 1890. In 1891, he bought all Daimler patents and founded Simms and Co. All work concerned with Daimler products was then shifted to his company, the Daimler Motor Syndicate Limited founded on 26 May 1893.
In 1896, Lawson approached Simms with his proposal to buy the Daimler Motor Syndicate and it was accepted. Lawson bought the Coventry mills and renamed them as Motor Mills and thus the Daimler Motor Company Limited was formed. In March 1897, the first Coventry Daimler engine car was built and by July 20 such cars were made, making Daimler Britain’s first motor car to be serially produced. The cars boasted a twin-cylinder, 1526 cc front-mounted engine, a four-speed gearbox and a chain drive to the rear wheels.
Long association with royalty:
By 1914, Daimler cars were being used by aristocracy in England, Russia, Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Greece and India. In fact, it was often stated that “the aristocracy buy Daimlers, the nouveau riche buy Rolls-Royce". But due to an unfortunate incident in 1950, the British royal family started using Rolls Royce as their car of choice. However, Daimler’s most important clientele among the royalty remained the British monarchs. The British Royal Family and the Heads of States worldwide all used Daimler limousine models. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, usually drove in a Daimler DS420 and the car still remains a member of the royal fleet. The Queen of the Netherlands, the King of Thailand, The Aga Khan (and Prince Aly Khan), the Emperor of Ethiopia, The Prince of Monaco, the King of Afghanistan were among the famous owners of Daimler cars.
Some of the popular Daimler models before the acquisition by Jaguar include:
- Daimler Fifteen, which marked the first return to poppet-valve engines
- Daimler Scout, known to the Army as Dingo
- Ferret Scout Car
- Daimler Consort, Barker drophead coupe, Hooper Empress - owner-driver and limousine
- Daimler Regency 3 litre, Barker Special Sports Coupe, Hooper Empress
- Daimler Conquest and Daimler Conquest Century, Barker Conquest Century coupe
- Daimler Conquest Century Roadster
- Daimler Regina, last Daimler car with pre-selector transmission
- Daimler One-O-Four, standard equipment included a vanity case with cosmetics by Max Factor
- Daimler Majestic, a variation of the One-O-Four, BW automatic transmission, 4 wheel disc brakes
The Majestic Major DR450 and the Dart were among the last cars to be designed by Daimler and bearing the Daimler badge after the acquisition by Jaguar. The V8-250 was the last car to have a Daimler engine. Before the takeover by Tata Group in 2008, Jaguar used the Daimler brand on only one car, the Daimler Super Eight. Tata has announced plans to develop Daimler into "a super-luxury marque to compete directly with Bentley and Rolls-Royce". If Tata holds true to its promise, the future of Daimler cars indeed looks promising.
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