|Daimler DB-18 and Consort|
DB-18 (1937-1939) - 2½ LITRE (1946-1951) - CONSORT (1949-1953)
The Daimler Fifteen was a huge success in the 1930s, and it inevitably developed into a mid-sized family saloon, with a 2½ litre 6-cylinder engine (with a 'badge-engineered' Lanchester counterpart, the 14hp Roadrider Deluxe).
The Daimler, first known as the 'New Fifteen' and later by its chassis designation DB-18, was offered in four and six-light body styles ex-factory, as well as in chassis form for specialist coachwork. A number of limited-production models came to prominence for their performance, including the elegant 'Dolphin' four-seater tourer.
During World War Two the Daimler works at Coventry had swung over to wartime production, and had become a prime target for Luftwaffe bombers. After the war there was little hope of starting afresh with all-new models, so the Daimler Company took the course followed by most British manufacturers, of announcing a range of cars based upon prewar models. In Daimler's case, it was the successful DB-18.
Renamed the 2½ litre, but still a DB-18 under the skin, even retaining the 'DB-18' chassis identification code, the car featured many of the engine developments which had first appeared on the prewar sporting 'Dolphin', and had been further refined on the wartime 'Scout' patrol car. Bodywork was generally confined to a standard six-light saloon by Mulliners (which had been owned by Daimler since before the war), although independent coachbuilders still offered variations - particularly dropheads (convertibles).
As it had been before the war, the mid-sized Daimler was a great success for car-starved Britons, and set the trend for the next few years: solid, well-engineered cars which didn't need to proclaim their worth - those who mattered already knew. The DB-18 range and its successors became the staple transport of solicitors, bankers and company executives, and reflected their conservative tastes for understated quality.
Daimler also joined the rush for export sales, and by 1949 had an export-only version on the production line. This was the Consort: again a DB-18 under the skin, but with a much-modified body which featured faired-in headlamps, a curved radiator grille, and front door quarter-lights (the trade-off here was the omission of the sunroof and opening windscreen). The all-mechanical brakes were replaced by a hydro-mechanical system, and the long-lived worm-drive differential was replaced by a more modern hypoid bevel type.
For a while the 2½ litre and the Consort were produced side-by-side, but eventually the Consort became available on the home market, and the older model was phased out.