|Manufacturer||The Daimler Company Limited|
|Also called||Daimler Dart|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-seat open car|
|Engine||2.5 litre iron-block V-8 140 hp (100 kW)|
|Wheelbase||92 in (2,337 mm)|
|Length||165 in (4,191 mm)|
|Width||60 in (1,524 mm)|
|Height||50.25 in (1,276 mm)|
|Kerb weight||2,070 lb (940 kg)|
It was launched at the 1959 New York Motor Show, and its greatest success was in the North American market. It had a fibreglass body, four-wheel Girling disc brakes, and a 2.5-litre Hemi-head V8 engine designed by Edward Turner. The car was described as a 2+2, but the bench-like rear seat offered very limited leg-room unless the front seats were pushed fully forward. Thirty black Daimler Darts with the Borg-Warner Model 8 3-speed automatic were used by the British Metropolitan Police in London.
The original A-spec version could do 120 mph (193 km/h), but the chassis, a “14-gauge ladder frame with cruciform bracing” based on the Triumph TR3, flexed so much that doors occasionally came open, marring its reputation. Bumpers were originally an optional extra. The A-spec. cars have two short, chromium-plated 'whiskers' on the body, one on each side of the front grille, for additional protection, as the basic spec. doesn't have a full bumper [so some cars have the whiskers and the optional bumper], and they also have two short, vertical bumpers at the rear, unless they have the optional horizontal rear bumper. A-spec. cars have a recess behind the door handles.
Jaguar bought Daimler in 1960, and were immediately concerned about the chassis flex. They brought out the B-spec. version with extra outriggers on the chassis and a strengthening hoop between the A-posts. There were also other detail improvements, including an adjustable steering column. B-spec. and C-spec. cars do not have the 'whiskers' that A-spec. have and some do not have the optional front bumper, so there is very little front protection for these cars.
The C-spec. version, introduced in April 1963, included a trickle charger socket, a heater/demister unit, and a cigarette lighter as standard equipment.
2,650 were produced in total (all specs).
Jaguar built a prototype replacement (known as the SP252) with a neater body style but decided not to proceed with production.
The DP250 was a sports saloon based on the SP250's chassis. A DP250, built on chassis no. 100571, was exhibited in 1959 at Hooper's stand during the coachbuilder's last appearance at the Earls Court Motor Show.
Daimler had prepared a sales brochure for the DP250, but it did not enter production. Between two and seven prototypes were made. The show car had a steel body, but some of the prototypes may have been made from fibreglass.
After Jaguar Cars bought the Daimler Company from BSA, William Lyons ordered a fibreglass-bodied DP250 prototype to be completed. Upon seeing the finished car he had it scrapped immediately and ended the project. None of the prototypes survive; the show car is believed to have been destroyed while being tested at MIRA.
- Engine: V 8 iron block, water cooled, OHV, bore 76 mm x stroke 70 mm, capacity 2547 cc. Single central camshaft operated valves through short pushrods with double heavy-duty valve springs. Aluminium alloy hemispherical cylinder heads. Stiff 5 main bearing crankshaft, dynamically balanced. Compression ratio 8.2:1. Twin SU carburettors. bhp 140 @ 5800 rpm. Max Torque 155 lb·ft (210 N·m) at 3600 rpm. SU electric fuel pump.
- Ignition: Coil and distributor with conventional automatic advance & retard.
- Lubrication: Submerged gear oil pump with full flow filter. Sump capacity 1.75 US gallons.
- Cooling: Pressurised radiator with fan, pump and thermostat control.
- Transmission: 4 speeds with synchromesh on top three ratios. Provision for overdrive. Automatic optional.
- Rear Axle: Hypoid bevel 3.58:1
- Steering: Cam & follower.
- Suspension: Front independent with coil springs. Rear live axle with half-elliptic leaf springs. Oversize dampers.
- Brakes: Girling Discs on all four wheels, hydraulic operation.
The following items could be ordered for the standard car:
- Wire wheels
- Adjustable steering column
- Hard top
- Front and rear bumpers
- Windscreen washers
- Fog lights
- Seat belts
- Overdrive or automatic gearbox
A car with hard top tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 123.7 mph (199.1 km/h) and accelerated from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.9 seconds. A fuel consumption of 25 miles per imperial gallon (11 L/100 km; 21 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,489 including taxes. After the opening of the first section of the M1 in 1959, the Bedfordshire police used the SP250 for motorway patrol.
Common and uncommon modifications
- Stainless steel exhausts
- Rack and pinion steering
- Electric fan in lieu of mechanical fan
- Positive earth changed to negative earth
- Alternator in lieu of dynamo
- Larger tyres (165 x 15, 175 x 15 or 185 x 15, original spec. 5.90" [150mm] - 15")
- Electronic ignition
- Brake servo
- Very uncommon modifications for racing by Larry Ligas  who seems to have modified everything except the chassis, engine block, body and part of the steering.
- Steve Sanett's modified SP250.
- Spot-on produced a model of the SP250 in the 1960s, available in a number of colours including red and light blue.
- Crossway models introduced a model in 2007, available in various colours and with or without the hood up.
- Modesty Blaise had an ivory-coloured Dart in the early book versions of her adventures, and it also appeared occasionally in the comic strip.
- A Dart features briefly in the film The Fast Lady.
- A green Dart was used in the ITV Series Heartbeat in 2005.
- Other film appearances can be found at : http://www.imcdb.org/vehicles.php?make=Daimler&model=SP+250&modelMatch=1&modelInclModel=on
- A red Daimler SP250 appears in the opening sequence of the BBC Antiques Roadshow  Series 33 "Meanwhile, Fiona takes a spin in the car that stars in the programme's opening sequence - the classic Daimler Dart."
- Willson 1995, p. 72.
- "The Daimler SP250 sports". The Motor. June 15, 1960.
- "SP250 Dart". UltimateCarPage. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
- Lawrence 1996, p. 89.
- Willson 1995, p. 74.
- "Daimler SP250". Is-it-a-lemon. Retrieved 29 November 2006.
- Smith 1972, p. 276.
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu & Burgess-Wise 1995, p. 280.
- Smith 1972, pp. 283–284.
- Long 2008, p. 82.
- Long 2008, p. 81.
- Smith 1972, p. 282.
- Long 2008, pp. 86–87.
- Long 2008, p. 85.
- Long 2008, p. 86.
- Larry Ligas racing SP250
- Steve Sanett's modified SP250
- Antiques Roadshow
- Douglas-Scott-Montagu, Edward John Barrington & Burgess-Wise, David (1995). "Chapter 9—Under New Management". Daimler Century: The full history of Britain's oldest car maker. Foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset, UK: Patrick Stephens. pp. 271–294. ISBN 1 85260 494 8.
- Lawrence, Mike (1996) . "Daimler (GB)". A to Z of Sports Cars 1945-1990 (Paperback ed.). Bay View Books. pp. 89–90. ISBN 1-870979-81-8. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
- Long, Brian (2008). "five—Hooper's close-coupled saloon". Daimler V8 S.P. 250 (2nd ed.). Veloce Publishing. pp. 80–87. ISBN 1-9047-8877-7.
- Smith, Brian E. (1972). "Chapter 11—The SP250". The Daimler Tradition. Isleworth, UK: Transport Bookman. pp. 269–284. ISBN 085184 004 3.
- Willson, Quentin (1995). The Ultimate Classic Car Book. DK Publishing, Inc. p. 72. ISBN 0-7894-0159-2.
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