By the early fifties Daimler was looking to production of a truly 'modern' car. The first result of the postwar design activity was a four-cylinder 14hp Lanchester, known on export markets as the 'Leda'. The rounded body style was typical fifties, and inevitably served as the basis for things to come.
The Leda's engine was enlarged to six-cylinders, and went on to power a series of mid-sized Daimlers. The body, however, was slightly enlarged, adapted to an all-new engine and chassis, and became the six-cylinder 75bhp Daimler Conquest range. This was the first Daimler to use all-steel construction.
The Conquest range can be a little bewildering to the uninitiated, as Daimler developed it in several directions at once. Its engine was uprated to give 100bhp, and logically renamed the Conquest Century, although the basic Conquest remained in production as well. Along the way a series of drophead coupes and roadsters was also developed, as well as a Mk II version of the saloons. Among other modifications, a portent of things to come arrived in 1956, when Daimler decided to offer the Conquest & Century with automatic transmission as an option alongside the traditional preselector system.
The Conquest Century may have looked staid, but its performance made it attractive to competition drivers everywhere, especially in Britain, Australia and the USA.
By the way, a test for history buffs: note the connection between the Conquest's name and the initial pre-tax price-tag: £1066. (1066 was the year of the Norman Conquest of Britain - who says the Brits don't have a sense of humour?)
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.