|DAIMLER LANCHESTER CLUB OF VICTORIA|
The Daimler Lanchester Club of Victoria Inc is one of a number of similar clubs throughout Australasia, catering for a range of vehicles that dates back as far as 1896, when the first British Daimlers were produced, and 1900 when the earliest Lanchesters were offered for sale. To give an exhaustive history of the companies here would require several hundred pages; suffice to say that the business empire which led to the production of the cars displayed today took in BSA cars from 1910 until the Second World War, and Lanchester cars from 1931 until their demise in 1956. The three companies produced between them a bewildering range of models, although even the largest-volume models were still, by today's standards, extremely few in number.
Today, sadly, few people remember BSA cars (although the famous BSA motorcycles, produced elsewhere, are well-remembered), and the Lanchester name is frequently confused with the Lancaster bomber of World War Two! Even Daimler has to struggle for recognition, often being dismissed as an upmarket Jaguar (something it has been since only 1960), or confused with the products of Daimler-Benz in Germany, a company with which the British Daimler has never had any connection. Just for the record, the Daimler Company was, from the very beginning, a British concern; the Daimler name derives solely from the use of German Daimler patents in its very first vehicles.
Those of us who are old enough, however, will know Daimler as the preferred cars of British Royalty from 1900 to the mid-1950s, and both Daimler and Lanchester cars as the very epitome of restrained, understated elegance and style. From the diminutive postwar 10hp Lanchester LD-10 to the gargantuan 7.1 litre Daimler Double-Six (V-12) limousines of the 1930s, the marques were synonymous with quality, refinement, and uncompromising engineering standards.
Certain peculiarities are associated with Daimler. In particular, note such details as:
The traditional 'fluted' radiator-top on all Daimlers; this dates from veteran Daimlers, whose finned radiator top-tanks helped to dissipate heat more quickly.
The complete absence of the maker's name-plate. It has been suggested that Daimler took the view that "if you don't know what it is, then you can't afford it". Perhaps this attitude contributed to the company's eventual collapse and sale to Jaguar!
The peculiar gear-shift quadrant on the car's steering column. This denotes the installation (standard from 1931 to the mid-50s) of Daimler's patented Fluid Flywheel (no clutch!), combined with the Wilson preselecter gearbox. In the days of non-synchromesh 'crash' gearboxes, the Daimler-Lanchester system was a marvel which permitted easy, noiseless gearchanges. Even today they provide endless fascination for enthusiasts, as what looks like a clutch pedal is, in fact, the 'gearchange pedal'.
All material reproduced herein is copyright, held by the writer (Tony Porter © 2002), but limited verbatim extracts may be used with due acknowledgment to the author and the Daimler Lanchester Club of Victoria Inc.