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SP250 Dart
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  Daimler SP250 Dart

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1959 - 1964
Numbers built:2648
Author:Pieter Melissen
Last updated:August 08, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe Daimler Dart was introduced at the 1959 New York Motor Show, and it that time it was the fastest car Daimler had ever produced. Eventually the name Dart had to be dropped because of Dodge copy rights, and the car became officially known as the SP250.

The glass fibre body covered a beautifully designed 2.5 litre OHV V8, which produced 140 BHP. The engine was designed by Edward Turner, and was apparently based on a Cadillac bottom part and also used the combustion chambers of the Turner designed Triumph vertical twin motorcycle engine. It was primarily destined for the lucrative American market.

In 1960 the Daimler company was taken over by Jaguar, and one of the first things Jaguar did was work on the chassis, which they found: "extremely unrefined". Contemporary road tests mentioned the opening of doors during hefty cornering. Jaguar even went as far as shipping back unsold cars from the USA to be updated to B-spec. The car reappeared in a so-called B-spec with not only a stiffer chassis but also a number of cosmetic changes and a "generally better finish". Jaguar even went as far as shipping back unsold cars from the USA to be refitted to B-spec. The final version (C-spec) had such luxuries as a heater/demister and a cigar lighter as standard.

The quality of the SP250 was reflected in the fact that the UK Metropolitan police had a fleet of 9 black painted Darts fitted with automatic gearboxes, a welcome change to the ubiquitous MkIIs that they were running as their fast cars.

Production lasted until 1964, when 2645 examples were built. Shown here is freshly restored example proudly presented by its owner at the 2005 Silverstone Classic.

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  Article Image gallery (9) Specifications User Comments (1)