1939 Daimler Vanden Plas Saloon

Part of Daimler’s move from sleeve-valve to overhead valve engines and in an attempt to compete directly with the Derby Bentley, the Light Straight Eight debuted for the 1936 model year with a 3,421-cc overhead valve eight-cylinder engine and 123-inch wheelbase chassis. The 3 ½ and 4-Litre Light Straight Eights offered similar performance to the Bentley, but according to Daimler were still intended “to give the greatest luxury in travel as expressed by quietness, smoothness, flexibility, and general ease and safety of control”. A fine and generously appointed automobile, the affluent clientele for the Light Straight Eight attracted some of Britain’s finest coachbuilders. This 1939 Daimler Light Straight Eight Saloon is one of only 180 4-liter cars that are thought to have been built before the outbreak of World War II put an end to civilian car production throughout the country. More importantly, the elegant Vanden Plas pillarless bodywork makes it one of only twelve cars like it, and it is in remarkable original condition. Part of a unique Daimler and Lanchester collection that was moved from Great Britain to North America about 25 years ago, this 1939 model has the bored out 3,960 cc engine with Fluid Flywheel and four-speed Wilson pre-selector gearbox. A high quality repaint in two-tone green is complemented by painted wheel discs, Dunlop blackwall tires, an enclosed sidemount spare on the driver’s side and mostly redone chrome. Lucas P100 headlamps, driving lights and dual chrome horns are flanked by running lights and mirrors on each fender. Along with the large, majestic Daimler grille, the front of this car has a commanding presence balanced by a bustleback trunk. The odometer shows only 32,000 original miles, affirmed by the lovely, lightly patinated original light green leather interior and handsome wood dash and door trim. A rear window shade and sliding sunroof add to the luxury of this classic Daimler, while entry and exit is made easier by the pillarless coachwork and suicide rear doors. With new valves, radiator and water pump, this remarkable and extremely rare coachbuilt classic Daimler is ready to be savored both inside and out.

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