1989 Daimler DS420 Limousine

The Daimler DS420 was the preferred automobile for many of the world’s government officials and diplomats. Built by the Daimler Company Limited between 1968 and 1992, it is more commonly referred to as the Daimler Limousine, and it had few competitors aside from the Mercedes-Benz 600. A popular choice amongst chauffeur services and hotel operators, the DS420 was also the official state car for many countries. These elegant cars are held in such high esteem, that many Limousines are still employed by the Royal Houses of Sweden, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

In 1898, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, was given a ride in a Coventry-built Daimler. Every British monarch since has used Daimlers, which have been used to carry the Royal Warrant for many years. The last of these royal Daimlers were DS420 limousines, based on the architecture of the Jaguar 420 and with hand-built bodywork by Vanden Plas, of London. This was the Queen Mother’s favored car of state, and one example went down in history by leading the funeral procession of Princess Diana.

The DS420’s origin dates back to 1960 when Jaguar bought Daimler. Six years later the British Motor Corporation bought Jaguar. By 1968, they became part of a larger conglomerate known as the British Leyland. By this point, the firm was manufacturing two different limousines. Austin was building the Vanden Plas Princess, and Daimler the DR450. British Leyland decided that instead of building two internally competing models, limousine production would be designated to a single company and the marque selected was Daimler.

Jaguar engineered and produced the mechanical aspects of the DS420 using the engine, transmission and suspension from the Jaguar 420G and production was carried out at Austin’s Vanden Plas factory in Kingsbury. The D stands for Daimler, S was part of an alphabetical naming scheme sequence, (previous car being the DR) and 420 referred to the 4.2L Jaguar XK engine that provided the silky-smooth power desired in a fine limousine. The 420G also donated its floor pan, though for the Daimler the wheelbase was elongated by an extra 21 inches. The front features the traditional Daimler fluted grille with headlights shared with the Jaguar. The Daimler also utilized twin ten-gallon fuel tanks lifted from the 420G as well. More compact than a Rolls-Royce Phantom of the era in every aspect, the Daimler DS420 came in at less than half the price of the Rolls, thanks in large part to the use of off-the-shelf componentry, keeping costs in check without sacrificing quality.

Finished in a handsome and very regal Jet Black, this DS420’s elegant handmade body shell wraps around an interior that can only be described as sumptuous. According to the certificate acquired from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, this car was delivered new to Wilcox & Company Limousines, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, and was originally fitted with a grey interior. In 2001, it was acquired by the New Zealand Government, and thoroughly updated by the respected NZ-based tuning and restoration shop Beacham Jaguar, where it was extensively converted and updated to the tune of $205,000. The cabin was retrimmed beautifully with buttery soft New Zealand biscuit hides, front and rear. The rear compartment is fitted with two folding jump seats to hold additional passengers as well as privacy curtains and privacy glass. The compartments are divided by an electric-powered glass partition and a two-way intercom is provided to direct the driver. Passengers can enjoy watching one’s favorite entertainment on the rear seat monitor with television. A period style Nokia integrated phone and Blaupunkt audio system add to the charm of this elegant car. A jack, tool roll and JDHT certificate are included with car.

At Beacham, it was re-powered with Jaguar/Daimler’s superb 4.0-litre inline six, paired with a four-speed automatic gearbox with Jaguar’s signature “J-gate” shifter, added ABS brakes (a feature no other DS420 had) and in recent ownership was fitted with lovely chrome wheels fitted with wide whitewall tires. Beacham also updated the car with dual A/C systems

It is undersoot that, following its conversion by Beacham, this DS 420 long wheelbase limousine was used by the New Zealand Government to shuttle Queen Elizabeth II on her 50th Anniversary NZ tour in 2002. It was sold by the Department of Internal Affairs in 2009, and landed ‘Stateside in the care of a devoted DS420 collector, restorer, and enthusiast who has maintained the car in superb condition, with beautiful paint and detailing.

This splendid limousine is in exceptionally fine condition and is ready to pamper its next distinguished passengers in proper British style and elegance.


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