In 1896, H.J. Lawson purchased the rights to use the Daimler name from Gottlieb Daimler and began to produce automobiles by 1897, making the Daimler Motor Company the oldest automaker in the UK. This had created some confusion as Daimler-Benz continued to use the same name independently in Germany. Daimler Motors had a bit of a tumultuous history. It passed through the hands of Birmingham Small Arms (of the BSA motorcycle fame) where it was a subsidiary of Lanchester, was then sold to Jaguar, before becoming a subsidiary of BMC, British Leyland and Ford Motor Company before being sold off to Tata with Jaguar in 2008. Daimler vehicles were always known for their elegance and were the preferred transport for the British Royal Family until being surpassed by Rolls Royce in the 1950’s.
The Daimler Conquest was first sold in 1953 as a mid-range, more affordable Daimler. It was based upon the mechanicals of the Lanchester Fourteen and even shared the Lanchester’s basic body design, but wore the Daimler radiator grille. It featured a cast iron 2.4L inline six, Girling hydro-mechanical brakes and a Wilson Pre-selector gearbox. Conquest Century models featured a revised alloy cylinder head which bumped power to 100hp. Several body styles were offered: A traditional saloon, a drophead four-seater, open two-seat roadster, and the 3-seat Conquest New Drophead Coupe which borrowed heavily from the two seat roadster but added roll-up windows, additional trim and a removable, side-saddle 3rd seat in the rear.
Of the 9,829 Daimler Conquests built, only 50 left the works in Century New Drophead Coupe specification, although and additional 3 or 4 were built after initial production ended, these were rebodied using existing cars. This is chassis number 1 of the 50 original New Drophead Coupes produced. This very car was featured on the Daimler stand at the Paris auto show before being shipped to America for the New York auto show in 1955. Extensive documentation shows the car first coming to the USA in 1979 after it was sold by Brian Classic Cars in Cheshire, UK to a buyer in Saginaw, Michigan. Documents show it passing through several more hands before winding up back in England as recently as early 2014, when it then returned to American shores as part of a large collection that included the very last production Conquest New Drophead Coupe. It is currently in solid, complete condition though it would benefit from a complete restoration. It still carries the original Wilson Preselect gearbox and the 2.4L engine was recently inspected and found to have very good compression, and runs well. Body, paint and interior are all in fair condition, and all of the original bright work is present. It is solid, complete and in very good original condition, and in spite of its rarity, would likely make for a very straight forward restoration project. It is an right hand drive example, currently in off-white over blue and is showing 55,000 miles. Please note that this car is titled as a 1954.
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