Strictly, the Empress is not a Daimler model, but a saloon body style built by the famous London coachbuilders, Hooper and Co. on a succession of Daimler chassis from 1949 to 1957. This long-established coachbuilding firm became part of the BSA-Daimler group in 1940.
Four series of Empress saloon were produced, although fewer than 170 cars were made over an eight-year period. Virtually all were four-door saloons, not particularly large by the standards of most coach-built cars, but rather intended to cary four people (only) in considerable style and luxury. All had 'razor-edge' styling and sweeping body lines, in which there were no rear mudguards, enclosed rear wheels and a convergence of the lines of front mudguard, waist moulding, roof and boot at the car's rear. All bodies were constructed of aluminium alloy on a traditional English Ash frame, and the interior appointments were quite lavish.
The first series was a four-light saloon, introduced in 1949 and built on the DB18 Special Sports chassis with a twin-carburettor, alloy head 2.5 litre motor and the underslung worm-drive differential. Later Empresses were six-light saloons. The second series was built from 1952 to 1954 on the DF302 chassis with 3 litre motor (Empress ll). The Empress lll was produced from 1955 on the DF 308 chassis in 3.5 litre form, culminating in the last of the line, using the 130 bhp engine from the 'Sportsman' model. The last Empress was delivered in 1957
To the best of our knowledge, three Empresses exist in Australia, a 2.5 litre car in Tasmania, a 3.5 litre car in Western Australia and one of the rarest of all Empresses, a two-door Empress ll in Victoria, built on the DF 302 chassis in 1953 and factory fitted in 1955 with a 3.5 litre engine.
All material reproduced herein is copyright, held by the writer (Peter Towns © 2005), but limited verbatim extracts may be used with due acknowledgment to the author and the Daimler Lanchester Club of Victoria Inc.