|Daimler XJ and onwards|
The takeover of Daimler and its eventual 'badge engineering' by Jaguar was an ironic twist of fate, echoing as it did the fate of the respected Lanchester name when taken over by Daimler in 1931. There were important differences, however. Jaguar did not place the Daimler into the market as a downmarket Jaguar, and did not allow the name to die when it was no longer expedient; to the contrary, it elevated the marque to the top of the range, and there it has stayed ever since.
In addition, Jaguar developed a unique Daimler DS-420 Limousine (based on the Jaguar 420G floorpan and engine), and kept this elegant and imposing machine in production from 1968 until the early 90s. The Limousine carried stylish coachwork by Vanden Plas, which echoed the sweeping lines of the Hooper Daimler Empress of nearly two decades earlier.
However it must be said that, notwithstanding the DS-420 Limousine, Daimler products were, from 1969, simply badge-engineered Jaguars. The first Sovereign (produced alongside the V8 Daimlers from 1966) was followed in 1969 by the first of the elegant XJ-series cars, whose basic styling has carried both marques through to the present day.
For a brief period in the 1980s the company decided to rename its top-line export models Jaguar Sovereigns, primarily because of the low recognition factor of Daimlers in the important US market. Fortunately, wiser heads eventually prevailed, and it again became possible to buy a Daimler Sovereign in Australia.
Along the way, another famous Daimler name was resurrected: the Daimler version of the Jaguar V12, introduced in 1971, was immediately dubbed the 'Double Six', echoing the name of Daimler's famous sleeve-valve V12 of the 1930s.
Most recently, Daimler and Jaguar have been absorbed into the Ford empire. The Daimler name survives, but so far there has been nothing apart from badging to distinguish the marque from its feline stablemate. Enthusiasts are also still waiting, perhaps in vain, to hear of plans for a small Daimler V8 version of the new S-Series Jaguar - or at least a rebadged version of the current 6-0cylinder model - to revive the spirit of the delightful compact Jag-Daimler of the 1960s.
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.