Daimler Majestic Major

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Daimler Majestic Major, DQ450
Daimler 7181HP 020510 CPS.jpg
1960 car in May 2010
Manufacturer The Daimler Company Limited
Production 1960–1968
1180 produced
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style 4-door saloon
Related Daimler Majestic DF316 3.8-litre 6-cyl.
Daimler Limousine DR450
Engine 4½ litre V-8
Transmission BW DG12[1] 3-speed automatic with torque multiplier on 1st and 2nd
Wheelbase 114 in (2,900 mm)[1]
Length 202 in (5,100 mm)[1]
Width 73.75 in (1,873 mm)[1]
Height 62.75 in (1,594 mm)[1]
Kerb weight 4088 pounds 1854 kg
Predecessor Daimler One-O-Four DF310
Successor Daimler Sovereign
Daimler 4½-litre V8
Manufacturer The Daimler Company Limited
Production 1960-1968[1]
Combustion chamber
Configuration 70° V8
Displacement 4.561 L (278.3 cu in)[1]
Cylinder bore 92.5 mm (3.64 in)[1]
Piston stroke 80.01 mm (3.150 in)[1]
Cylinder block alloy cast chrome iron
aluminium alloy pistons
crankshaft in five bearings[1]
Cylinder head alloy high tensile aluminium alloy[1]
Valvetrain 2 valves per cylinder, OHV, Hemispherical Head[1]
Compression ratio 8 : 1[1]
Fuel system twin SU HD8 carburettors[1]
Fuel type petrol[1]
Cooling system water-cooled[1]
Power output 220 bhp (160 kW; 220 PS) @ 5,500 rpm[1]
Torque output 283 lb·ft (384 N·m) @ 3200 rpm[1]
Length 31.25 inches (794 mm)
Width 25.5 inches (650 mm)
Height 31 inches (790 mm)
Dry weight 226 kilograms (498 lb)

The Daimler Majestic Major DQ450 was a large luxury saloon made by Daimler in Coventry between November 1960 and 1968, using a 4,561 cc V8 engine and offered as a much more powerful supplement to their then current Daimler Majestic.

A substantially lengthened limousine version of the same chassis and bodyshell, the Daimler DR450, was available from 1961 until the V8 engine ended production.


Though the Major was announced and displayed on 20 October 1959[2] at the London Motor Show, the car on the show stand was a prototype and production did not get under way until November 1960. It was offered as a supplement alongside the slightly shorter 3.8 litre Majestic released in 1958. Both cars used the same chassis and bodyshell, the Major having an extended boot as well as the new engine which was lighter and much more powerful.[1]

The engine transformed the staid Majestic into a high performance car capable of 120 mph (190 km/h) and provided said both Motor Sport and The Autocar, sports saloon when not sportscar performance. At high speeds the car was very stable directionally and could be cornered safely very fast for such a large car.[1] It is faster than a Mark X Jaguar up to 80 mph (130 km/h) despite its 1880 kg bulk and it has been said that Jaguar tried a Daimler 4.5 motor in a Mark X and it did 135 mph (218 km/h).

External differences from the Majestic were a D motif on top of the bonnet, cast-in V symbols on the ventilation air intakes and six inches added to the length of the car resulting in a longer boot and longer bumper returns. Twin exhaust pipes were displayed too. Front seats could be supplied as individual chairs or one bench.[1]

4½ litre 220hp V8 Engine[edit]

Main article: Daimler V8 engines

Turner's engine produced a conservative 220 bhp (160 kW) at 5500 rpm and 283-foot-pounds (396 Nm) of torque at 3,200 rpm.[1] By comparison a Jaguar Mark X also claimed 220hp but used a different scale of measurement.

Chassis and Body[edit]

It was built on Daimler's standard (first produced by Daimler in 1937) massive cruciform-braced box-section chassis with their conventional coil-sprung independent front suspension and a well located 'live' rear axle using semi-elliptic leaf springs. As with the Majestic, there were four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a vacuum servo.[1]

The combination of an imported Borg-Warner DG (Detroit Gear) 12 automatic transmission, power steering and Dunlop's power disc brakes on all wheels made the Major in those respects a mechanically advanced car for its time. Its body, however, was originally designed for the Majestic by Daimler subsidiary, the old coachbuilding firm Carbodies and they provided the bodies in conjunction with Park Sheet Metal. They were finished in cellulose paints allowing a selection of colours not available in the new synthetic finishes used by Jaguar. They were built at Browns Lane on separate hand-moved lines.

The Majestic Major's turning circle was 42 feet (12.8 m).[1] The car was not one for manoeuvering in tight spaces; even with (initially only optional) power steering, 4.5 turns lock to lock were required.

Later versions were supplied with power steering as standard, a limited slip differential and an alternator.[1]

The bodies were of all steel construction. Although zinc phosphate coated they deteriorated more rapidly than expected of coachwork on a Daimler chassis.[1]


The British The Motor magazine tested a Majestic Major with power steering in 1961 and recorded a top speed of 122.3 mph (196.8 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.7 seconds. A "touring" fuel consumption of 16.9 miles per gallon(imperial) was recorded. On the home market, as tested, the car cost £3166 including taxes of £955.[3]

Jaguar, which had taken over Daimler in 1960, announced their similarly equipped if less powerful new Jaguar Mark X saloon the following month priced at exactly 75% of this Daimler, £2,393 including taxes of £753.[4]

In the spring of 1963 The Times' Motoring Correspondent tested the Daimler and found its top speed to be 123 mph. Acceleration times (with the Jaguar Mark 10 results in brackets) were 0-30 mph, 3.8sec., (4.3), 0-60, 10sec. (12.1), and 0-100, 30.8sec. (31.1).[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Brian E Smith The Daimler Tradition, Transport Bookman, Isleworth 1980. ISBN 0851840140
  2. ^ New Version of Majestic in Daimler Range, The Times, Tuesday, 20 October 1959; pg. 16; Issue 54596; col F
  3. ^ "The Daimler Majestic Major". The Motor. 27 September 1961. 
  4. ^ New Big Jaguar. The Times, Thursday, 12 October 1961; pg. 8; Issue 55210.
  5. ^ Motors And Motoring. The Times, Tuesday, Apr 23, 1963; pg. 8; Issue 55682

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