When Jaguar took over the Daimler Company in 1960, it was primarily because the former desperately needed additional production facilities for its own products. It would have been foolish, however, to overlook the bonuses it had been handed with the deal.
For a start, there was the Daimler name itself. Jaguar held a stranglehold on its own corner of the market, but its products had a hard time selling into more traditional markets, where Jaguar was seen as something of a 'Flash Harry' car. The addition of the Daimler marque to its stable could give the company a valuable entree to an upper-class clientele.
Then there were the existing Daimler products. Few of the Daimler cars (the SP-250 sports car, and the Majestic and Majestic Major range of saloons and limousines) held any appeal to Jaguar per se, but the Edward Turner-designed V8s were well worth a second look. As it turned out, the larger 4.5 litre engine was dismissed as a likely Jaguar powerplant (see Majestic Major history), but the jewel-like 2.5 litre V8 was ideal for the Mk II Jaguar body.
The resultant Daimler 2½ litre V8 was not quite as quick as the 3.4 and 3.8 litre Jaguars, but it more than made up for this in its turbine-like smoothness and torque. It enabled Jaguar to offer buyers a quieter, smoother car, coupled with additional improvements in the cabin which made the Daimler an altogether more refined machine, and placed it firmly at the top of the Jaguar-Daimler range. The model was upgraded along with the Jaguar range in 1967, and renamed the V8-250, continuing in production until 1969.
Enthusiasts argue about what car may be considered the last of the 'true' Daimlers, but the V8 saloons are generally accorded this tribute; the body styling may have been all-Jaguar, but the engine was still uniquely Daimler. After this model, nothing but the trim and nameplates could differentiate the Daimler and Jaguar versions.
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.