1957 Daimler Conquest Drophead

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 with Century New Drophead Coupe bodywork. This particular example is chassis number 50 of 50, the very last regular production New Drophead built. Three cars were built after this, but were rebodied on existing cars. The unusual styling is an odd blend of traditional British elegance and American fifties flair. Looking over the car you find tail fins, hood scoops, swooping body lines and a prominent Daimler radiator shell. Thanks to a recent high quality restoration by a passionate Daimler enthusiast, the yellow paint is beautifully presented and is set off perfectly by excellent chrome trim. The over-the-top styling cues continue with color-keyed wheels, wide-whitewall tires and an exquisite, diamond-stitched black leather interior. A black convertible top is fully functional and in excellent condition. Being a Century model, it sports the alloy cylinder head giving 100 horsepower and is theoretically capable of 100mph. Daimler was one of the last holdouts to use a Wilson Preselector gearbox which this car equipped with. This car has an interesting and extensive history going back to new. The original owner was King Faisal II of Iraq who used the car while he was in school in England. He planned to ship the car back to Iraq but was killed in the revolution before that could happen. The car remained in England for some time before coming to the USA, and has had very few owners to date. This is a delightfully eccentric automobile with a fascinating history that was restored to be enjoyed on the road or the show field.

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