Daimler Conquest

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Daimler Conquest
DJ250 to DJ261
DaimlerConquest I think ca 1955.jpg
1955 DJ256 Conquest Century (Mark I)
Manufacturer The Daimler Company Limited
Production 1953–1958
Body and chassis
Class Executive car (E)
Body style
Engine 2,433 cc (2.433 L; 148.5 cu in) straight-6
Transmission (1953–'58) preselector gearbox with fluid flywheel
(1956–'58) optional B-W automatic
cars DJ260 or DJ261
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)[1]
Length 177 in (4,496 mm)[1]
Width 65.5 in (1,664 mm)[1]
Height 65 in (1,651 mm)[1]
Kerb weight 1,397 kg (3,080 lb)
Predecessor Daimler Consort
Successor Daimler 2.5 V8 1962

The Daimler Conquest is an automobile which was produced by The Daimler Company Limited in the United Kingdom from 1953 to 1958. Based on the Lanchester Fourteen, the Conquest replaced the Daimler Consort. Sales were affected by increasing prices and by the fuel shortage caused by the Suez Crisis, and production ended by 1958.


The standard 1953 Conquest used a straight-six engine developed from the inline-four engine used in Lanchester's Fourteen and Leda models. The engine was made from cast iron and had a single Zenith carburettor and a compression ratio of 6.6:1. With a bore of 76.2 mm (3.00 in) and a stroke of 88.9 mm (3.50 in), the engine displaced 2,433 cc (2.433 L; 148.5 cu in) and delivered 75 bhp (56 kW).

The 1954 Conquest Century model had an alloy head with larger valves, higher compression, high lift cams, and twin SU carburettors.[2] These modifications raised the power to 100 bhp (75 kW) at 4400 rpm.[3][4]

Body, chassis, and running gear[edit]


The body was a slightly modified version of that used on the earlier Lanchester Fourteen.[5] Apart from the grille, The Conquest was identical in appearance to the Lanchester Leda. While the Fourteen had been coachbuilt of steel on a timber frame, the Leda had an all-steel body, on which the Conquest's was based. Lanchester was a subsidiary of Daimler.[2][6] The whole car appeared to have been developed within four months of Bernard Docker, then managing director of BSA, taking on the additional responsibility of managing director of Daimler in January 1953.

Presented as a new car, the 75 hp (1953–1956) Daimler Conquest saloon chassis and running gear had originated in the 1950 Lanchester Fourteen or Leda.[6][7]

The usual Daimler large cruciform chassis had a double wishbone front suspension, with laminated torsion bars, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar, while the rear suspension used leaf springs with telescopic dampers.

The Conquest featured automatic chassis lubrication to 21 points, using a pump controlled by exhaust heat.

Cam and peg steering was used, and Girling hydro-mechanical brakes. (Hydro - mechanical = hydraulic front, mechanical rear brakes.) The cars had an 2,642 mm (104 in) wheelbase.[2]

In January 1955 it was announced that all new Conquests had four inches more leg-space for rear-seat passengers. In addition doors now opened wider and there were "further interior embellishments".[8]

Body styles[edit]

Conquest was offered in the following models:[note 1]

Standard production models[edit]

Conquest saloon[7] (1953–1956)
Conquest Century saloon[3] (1954–1958)
DJ256 Century
Note chrome screen surround 
DJ256 Century Mark II
Note flashes by boot handle 
DJ256 Century Mark II
Independent fog / driving lamps 

Models produced in restricted numbers[edit]

Conquest and Conquest Century drophead coupé 4-seater[9] (1954–1955)
DJ253 is the left hand drive version of the DJ252[note 1]
Conquest open 2-seater Roadster[10] (1953–1955)
Conquest drophead coupé 3-seater (1955–1957)


1954–1955 Daimler Conquest Century drophead coupé. Hood power-assisted from the de ville position shown.
1955–1957 Daimler drophead coupé

The Conquest's engine produced 75 hp (56 kW) at 4000 rpm, and 124 lb·ft (168 N·m) of torque at 2000 rpm. In Century form the dry liner, pushrod engine with its balanced crank and large water jacket, delivered 100 hp (75 kW) at 4000 rpm, and 130 lb·ft (176 N·m) of torque at 2400 rpm. A Daimler four-speed preselector gearbox with "fluid flywheel" was used.

The Saloon had steel bodies weighing 1,397 kg (3,080 lb) (Conquest: 81 mph (130 km/h), 0-60 mph: 20.4 seconds. Conquest Century: 90 mph (140 km/h)).

The open two-seater Roadster (3) had an aluminium body, except for the bonnet, and aluminium castings were used instead of a traditional timber frame. The Roadster used (pioneered) the Century form of the Conquest engine though when it was first announced in the Roadster it was said to produce just 90 bhp. (100 mph, 0-60 mph: 14.5 seconds, 25.5 cwt (1300 kg))

The 4-seater drophead coupé (2) had a powered roof folding mechanism and shared few body parts with the Roadster. (87 mph (140 km/h)), 0-60 mph: 16.3 seconds)

The New Drophead (3) had steel to the B-pillars, and alloy from there back, apart from steel inner rear guards. (89 mph (143 km/h)), 0-60 mph: 19.7 seconds)

The lighter Roadster (3) was slightly taller geared; while the heavier New Drophead also (3) was slightly lower geared. Other differences to the Conquest saloon (1) include 12-inch-wider (13 mm) brakes, and steering that was 2½ turns lock-to-lock instead of 3¼.[2]

A saloon tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 81.6 mph (131.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 24.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.3 miles per imperial gallon (13.9 L/100 km; 16.9 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £1511 including taxes.[1]

Production history[edit]

The Conquest saloon was released to the public in 1953 as a replacement for the Daimler Consort, but was shorter and lighter, with better performance. The Daimler Conquest was meant to be an affordable Daimler, priced at 1066 pounds. (That price may well be linked to the name "Conquest".) It was pedigree with pace, at a reasonable price. They still had luxurious, well-appointed traditional wood-grain and leather interiors. Actual construction was by another BSA subsidiary, 'Carbodies'.

The open 2-seater Conquest Roadster was first shown to the public[10] at the Motor Show in 1953 with the tuned engine later known as the Century engine. The Roadster was not available to the public till 1954.

The Daimler Conquest Century, released in 1954[3] was the best seller of the range with 4818 of them produced. A hundred-horsepower and, presumably downhill, a hundred miles an hour, hence the Century.

The Conquest Roadster was dropped from production in 1955. The dropheads had outsold them by over 3:1. Then a new drophead 4-seater and a drophead coupé version of the 2-seater Roadster were introduced at the 1955 Motor Show. This Mark II Conquest Roadster drophead coupé had a sideways-facing single rear seat, making the car a 2- or 3-seater and with wind-up side windows in place of the clip-on side-curtains of the continuing Mark II open 2-seater Conquest Roadster.

Two of the roadsters, at least, were coach-built as fixed head coupés.[11] [ However at this time many very small businesses indeed offered low-cost glass-fibre-reinforced removable tops for all brands of open sports-cars. ] There is one fibreglass new drophead, and one fibreglass fixed head coupé (with a Hillman Minx Californian three piece rear window!!) One-offs seem to have been mostly done on Roadster allocated chassis, so there may have been even fewer roadsters built than officially indicated.

In October 1956[12] Daimler Conquest Century buyers were offered the choice of an automatic transmission or the traditional preselector system. Time was changing gear. Preselector gearboxes faded away as modern automatic transmissions took their place. Currency restrictions had meant that until Borg-Warner built a British plant automatic transmissions were only available on export cars.


The price of the Conquest was reduced in April 1956 by 12%[13] and again in September 1956 by between 7% and 16%.[14]

The Suez Crisis in the summer of 1956 had brought Europe petrol rationing which began France on 29 November and two weeks later in Britain. In Britain the restriction lasted until mid May 1957 bringing, amongst other economic dislocation, short time working to the British motor industry.[note 2]

The Roadster had started out priced close to the Jaguar XK120 at £1673, but by the time the New Drophead was released the price was £280 more than an XK140. While Jaguars became less expensive, the hand built Daimlers escalated in price. Jaguars sold in large numbers, and Daimlers sold in small numbers with frequent model changes.[citation needed]

Daimler's problems became increasingly obvious.[2] In 1960 Daimler was bought by Jaguar, who wanted the additional factory space . Four years after the Conquest ceased production, Daimler introduced the Daimler 250 to the same market sector. The 250, using Daimler's 2548 cc V8 in the Jaguar Mark 2 body shell, proved to be the best selling Daimler motor car ever, with more than 17,000 sold between 1962 and 1969.[15]

Production figures[edit]

  • 4568 Daimler Conquest Saloons (1)
  • 4818 Conquest Century Saloons (1)
  • 65 Conquest Roadsters, (3)
  • 234 Conquest Century Drophead Coupés, (2)
  • 54 Conquest Century New Drophead Coupés (3) (A.K.A. the Mark II)[2]

In August 1956 a press release[16] endeavoured to relieve the workforce's belief that all production was to stop. In the chairman's speech to the November 1958 shareholders' AGM he advised the only cars made in the year ended 31 July 1958 were the 3½ and 4½ litre models


  1. ^ a b The Daimler Conquest was made in the three following body shapes:
    • 1. DJ250, DJ256, 4-door, 4/5-seater saloon
    • 2. DJ252 drophead coupé, 2-door, 4-seater convertible version of the saloon
    • 3. DJ254 2-door, open 2-seater and 3-seater drophead coupé
    Numbers like DJ251, DJ257 etc denote LHD cars, DJ260 was used for cars fitted with Borg-Warner automatic gearbox
  2. ^ Oil Crisis in Europe. The story in headlines:
    • Petrol Rationing For France. The Times, Wednesday, Nov 28, 1956; pg. 7; Issue 53700. (took effect the following day)
    • Less Traffic On The Roads. The Times, Tuesday, Dec 18, 1956; pg. 4; Issue 53717 (British rationing took effect December 17, 1956)
    • More Short Time In Car Industry. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 01, 1957; pg. 8; Issue 53727
    • Road Deaths Down By One-Third. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 29, 1957; pg. 8; Issue 53751
    • Petrol Ration Up 50 P.C. Next Month. The Times, Tuesday, Mar 19, 1957; pg. 8; Issue 53793
    • Petrol Rationing To Stay "For Time Being". From Our Political Correspondent. The Times Tuesday, Apr 16, 1957; pg. 10; Issue 53817
    • Six Months' Coupons In New Petrol Books. The Times Wednesday, Apr 17, 1957; pg. 10; Issue 53818
    • Traffic Grows As Petrol Is Freed. The Times Thursday, May 16, 1957; pg. 9; Issue 53842


  1. ^ a b c d e "The 2.5 litre Daimler Conquest Road Test". The Motor. May 6, 1953. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Title:"Classic and Sportscar" magazine, Published: April 1996, Article: "Futile Conquests?", Page 116 - 119, ISSN 0263-3183
  3. ^ a b c The Times, Friday, Mar 05, 1954; pg. 4; Issue 52872; col F. New Daimler Model
    A variation of the Conquest model providing more power and speed with increased passenger room and equipment, is being produced by the Daimler Company. Its name, the Conquest Century, is derived from the increase in power of the 2½ litre six-cylinder engine from the 75 bhp at 4,000rpm of the standard Conquest saloon to 100bhp at 4,400 rpm, the increase in power being obtained by fitting dual carburettors, a special aluminium cylinder head, a different camshaft, large valves and a twin exhaust manifold. The basic price of the Conquest Century saloon is £1,172 compared with £1,066 for the standard Conquest saloon. The price of a new model with purchase tax is £1,661 9s. 2d.
  4. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Aug 16, 1955; pg. 2; Issue 53300; col F. Quality Tells In The Daimler Conquest Century Travelling FAST In Comfort from our motoring correspondent.
  5. ^ "75 Years of Daimler: A look back at one of the first car manufacturers in this country". Autocar. 134. Vol. (nbr 3914). 1 April 1971. pp. 16–19. 
  6. ^ a b The Times, Wednesday, Oct 11, 1950; pg. 3; Issue 51819; col C
    Lanchester Fourteen. Features Of New Model From our motoring correspondent.
    Coventry October 10. One of the new cars to be shown at the Motor Exhibition was displayed privately to the Press here today by the Lanchester Motor Company Limited a member of the Daimler Group.
    The car is the Lanchester Fourteen, a completely new model, the only familiar feature being the famous Daimler fluid transmission with pre-selective gearbox. The car has a two-litre, four-cylinder engine and a handsome four-five-seater saloon body which will be made at first by coachbuilding methods. Next year when the rebuilding of 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of factory space destroyed in the Coventry raids is completed, it will have a pressed steel body which will reduce the weight, enable the price of £895, plus purchase tax, to be considerably reduced and permit shipment in a form suitable for assembly overseas.
    The new Lanchester Fourteen has features of technical interest. The torsion "bars" of the independent front suspension consist of laminated leaves, instead of the usual bars while the chassis (except the propeller shaft and water pump) is automatically lubricated every time the engine is started and warmed up.
    (It may have been as much as another twelve months before deliveries began. In December 1952 only "a limited number" had been released on the home market.)
  7. ^ a b The Times, Wednesday, May 06, 1953; pg. 3; Issue 52614; col G
    New Daimler Car. "Conquest" Saloon Model
    A new Daimler car–the Conquest– is announced today. The company states that it has greater pace and far better acceleration than any of its predecessors. It is a full five-seater saloon model, powered by a new six-cylinder 2½ litre short stroke engine which develops 75 bhp at 4,000 revolutions a minute.
    The car has shown itself capable of accelerating from stop to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 5 seconds and of reaching 70 mph (110 km/h) through all gears in 30 seconds. It has a top speed of just under 82 mph (132 km/h). Petrol consumption ranges from 26.6 mpg at a constant 30 mph (48 km/h) to 18.5 mpg at a steady 70 mph (110 km/h); the average consumption is 20.3 mpg. Hill-climbing tests have shown the Conquest capable of a maximum top-gear speed of 67 mph (108 km/h) up a gradient of 1 in 20. It can climb a 1 in 10 hill at 43 mph (69 km/h).
    Interior heating and air-conditioning are included as standard equipment. [turning the heater temperature to cold allows its fan to draw in unheated air from outside the cabin] The basic cost of the Conquest is £1,066; with purchase tax the price is increased to £1,511 5s 10d.
  8. ^ "Daimler Conquest." display advertisement, The Times Tuesday, Jan 18, 1955; pg. 5; Issue 53142.
  9. ^ The Times, Friday, Oct 02, 1953; pg. 4; Issue 52742; col G. Paris Motor Show
    Paris, Oct. 1. A newcomer at the Salon is the Daimler Conquest convertible coupé. which has two carburettors giving a power output of 90 bhp and the car a road speed of 90 mph (140 km/h). As this model is not going to be available on the home market for some time, it will not be exhibited at Earls Court.
  10. ^ a b The Times, Tuesday, Oct 20, 1953; pg. 5; Issue 52757; col E. More New Car Models
    The growing number of 100 mph (160 km/h) British cars have been added to by the introduction of the Daimler Conquest roadster and the Alvis Grey Lady saloon. The Daimler roadster has a streamlined two-seater body mounted on a special series chassis with the radiator 5 inches (130 mm) lower than that of the Conquest saloon. The Daimler company state that this model will be reserved for export until next spring. The basic price is £1,180 and the total with purchase tax £1,672 15s 10d.
  11. ^ The Times, Thursday, Sep 30, 1954; pg. 3; Issue 53050; col B. New Daimler Models. Additions To Large-Car Market
    The Daimler Conquest range is being continued with the addition of a new model, a hard top version of the roadster which will be shown at Earls Court on the stand of Carbodies Limited a recent acquisition of the Daimler group.
  12. ^ The Times, Friday, Oct 12, 1956; pg. 7; Issue 53660; col B. Daimler Conquest Century and One—O—Four models are now available with fully automatic transmission.
  13. ^ The Times, Tuesday, May 01, 1956; pg. 10; Issue 53519; col D. Prices Reduced Of Two Daimler Cars
    The Daimler Company Limited announced last night reductions in the price of their 2½ litre saloons—the Conquest Mark II and the Century Mark II. The new prices which are in operation today are: Conquest Saloon Mark II £1.032 . . . Century Saloon Mark II, £1,132 [reductions of approximately 12 %]
  14. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Sep 04, 1956; pg. 8; Issue 53627; col C. Daimler Car Prices Cut Plans To Reach Wider Market.
    • Conquest Saloon Mk II £862 cut by 16%
    • Century Saloon Mk II £996 cut by 12%
    • 2½ litre Drophead Coupé £1,262 cut by 7%
    • One—O—Four Saloon £1,596 cut by 15%
    • One—O—Four Lady's model £1,729 cut by 16%
  15. ^ Douglas-Scott-Montagu, Edward John Barrington & Burgess-Wise, David (1995). 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. p. 279. ISBN 1 85260 494 8. 
  16. ^ The Times, Saturday, Aug 25, 1956; pg. 10; Issue 53619; col G. Daimler's Plan To Raise Production [statement to counter belief that Daimler is to cease car production]

External links[edit]

Useful for disambiguation