Daimler Century Mk II

 

Classic Rides Video “The Old Dame”

Features

 Leather and wood interior, with a lovely 60 year old patina

 Seats 5, but 4 is best for ultimate comfort

 Climate control ?    Heater plus quarter light windows…..

 

Technical Stuff

Engine:  Daimler 6 cylinder OHV, twin SU carburettors, 100 hp (75 kW)

Transmission: Wilson pre-select 4 speed (see below), rear wheel drive

Brakes: Front – hydraulic drums.   Rear – mechanical drums

Dimensions: Length – 4.5m  Width – 1.68m  Height – 1.65m

Weight: Unladen 1430 Kg

Driving “The Old Dame”

Using the pre-select gearbox is the most distinctive part of driving an old Daimler. Once mastered, which is not particularly difficult, it provides an excellent driving experience, with extremely smooth changes that can fool passengers into thinking the car is “gearless”. For motoring enthusiasts, it is an experience not to be missed. Anybody hiring will be given plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the pre-select method.

As with most cars of the era, there is no power assisted steering or brakes, so for a driver used to modern cars, things will seem somewhat heavy. However it does not take long to get used to the way it drives and you can enjoy the feeling of quality and solidity, the flexible engine and the excellent ride and road holding, and reflect that 65 years ago, this was a luxury car ahead of it’s time.

A bit of History

The Daimler Century was first released in 1954, a development of the Daimler Conquest saloon, with an upgraded motor featuring larger valves, higher compression and twin SU carburettors, producing 100 hp – hence the name Century. The car also had an upgraded interior with 4 inches more for rear passengers and improved instruments and fittings. Production continued until 1958, with a facelift in 1955 producing the Century Mk II.

Our Daimler Century was sold new in 1957 by Gee Motors in Napier. The dealers sticker still remains in the centre the dash.

It remained in Hawkes Bay for the next 61 years, until purchased by Classic Rides in 2019.

 

What the motoring press said back then:

The Autocar (March 1954):  “This car has a fine performance yet is very versatile and is equally suitable for high speed touring or as a smart town carriage.”

The Motor (March 1954): “a car that will appeal greatly to the experienced motorist”

The Wilson gearboxInvented by Major H.G. Wilson, initially from a design used in tanks in the First World War. In 1928 Wilson patented his design and formed a partnership with the car maker Armstrong Siddeley. A number of car makers, including Daimler, produced preselector transmissions under license. The Daimler ‘self changing gearbox’ (Wilson ‘Pre-selector’) and fluid flywheel provides the stepping stone between manual and fully automatic motor cars and has the best attributes of both systems. The Daimler fluid flywheel (an early type of torque converter), will allow the car to idle in any gear and as long as the carburettors and ignition are correctly set up, the car cannot stall.