Daimler Dingo

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Daimler Scout Car
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Daimler Dingo Scout Car
TypeScout car
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1940–1974
Used byBritish Commonwealth and associated foreign units in Second World War, other nations post war including the United States, And Kuwait.
Production history
ManufacturerDaimler (Dingo), Ford Canada (Lynx)
Produced1939-1945 (Dingo), 1942-1945 (Lynx).
No. built6,626 (Dingo); 3,255 (Lynx) [1]
Mass2.8 long tons (3 tonnes)
Length10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
Width5 ft 7.5 in (1.715 m)
Height4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)

  • 30 mm front
  • 12 mm sides
.303 in (7.7 mm) Bren light machine gun or a .55 in (13.9 mm) Boys Anti-tank Rifle[2]
Engine2.5 litre 6-cyl Daimler petrol
55 hp (41 kW)
Power/weight18.3 hp/tonne (13.7 kW/tonne)
TransmissionPre-selector gearbox, five gears forward and five gears reverse
SuspensionIndependent, coil spring, wheeled 4×4
200 mi (320 km)
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)

The Daimler Scout Car, known in service as the Daimler Dingo (after the Australian wild dog), is a British light, fast four-wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle also used for liaison during the Second World War.

Design and development[edit]

German soldiers inspect a Dingo of the Canadian Army abandoned during the August 1942 Dieppe Raid.

In 1938, the British War Office issued a specification for a scouting vehicle. Three British motor manufacturers, Alvis, BSA Cycles and Morris, were invited to supply prototypes. Alvis had been in partnership with Nicholas Straussler and provided armoured cars to the Royal Air Force, Morris had participated in trials and production of armoured cars and BSA Cycles – whose parent Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) was involved in armaments – had a small front wheel drive vehicle in production.

Testing began in August 1938. All were of similar size and layout – rear engine and all four-wheel-drive. The Morris design was eliminated first – suffering from poor speed even after modification by its builders. The Alvis prototype – known as "Dingo" – could manage 50 mph (80 km/h) over a cross-country course but had a high centre of gravity.

The BSA prototype was completed in September and handed over for testing. By December, it had covered 10,000 mi (16,000 km) on- and off-road with few mechanical problems. Policy from the War Office changed to a requirement for an armoured roof. The BSA vehicle needed a more powerful engine and strengthened suspension. It was chosen over the Alvis and the first order (172 vehicles) for the "Car, Scout, Mark I" was placed in May 1939. The actual production was passed to Daimler, which was a vehicle manufacturer in the BSA group of companies.

The potential of the design was recognised, and it served as the basis for the development of a larger armoured car – a "light tank (Wheeled)", which would later become the Daimler Armoured Car. The first pilot vehicle was built by the end of 1939, later to be named 'Daimler Scout Car' but already known by the name of the Alvis design - the Dingo.

Known as one of the finest armoured fighting vehicles built in Britain during the war, the Dingo was a compact two-man armoured car, well protected for its size with 1.2 in (30 mm) of armour at the front and powered by a 2.5 litre 55 hp (41 kW) straight six petrol engine in the rear of the vehicle. An ingenious feature of the Dingo's design was the transmission, which included a preselector gearbox and fluid flywheel that gave five speeds in both directions, another was a four-wheel steering system made possible by the H-drive drive train, giving a tight turning circle of 23 ft (7.0 m). Inexperienced drivers found it difficult to control so rear steering was deleted in later production at the cost of increasing the turning circle by 65 per cent to 38 ft (12 m).

The layout of the H-drive drive train contributed greatly to its low silhouette, agility and - an important consideration in any vehicle used for reconnaissance, an exceptionally quiet engine and running gear. Power was led forward to a centrally placed transfer box and single differential driving separate left- and right-hand shafts, each in turn running forwards and back to a bevel box powering each wheel. This compact layout resulted in a low-slung vehicle with a flat plate that allowed the Dingo to slide across uneven ground but made the Dingo extremely vulnerable to mines.

A Dingo with a Bren gun, followed by a Daimler Armoured Car and a Humber Armoured Car in 1942

No spare wheel was carried, considered unnecessary because of the use of run-flat (nearly solid) rubber tyres rather than pneumatic types vulnerable to punctures. Despite hard tyres, independent coil suspension gave each wheel approximately 8 in (20 cm) vertical deflection and coil springs all round gave a comfortable ride.

A swivelling seat beside the driver allowed the second crewmember to attend to the No. 19 wireless set or Bren gun. The driver's seat was canted slightly off to the left of the vehicle which, in conjunction with a hinged vision flap in the rear armour, allowed the driver to drive in reverse and look behind by looking over his left shoulder, a useful feature in a reconnaissance vehicle where quick retreats were sometimes necessary.

The Dingo remained in production throughout the war but to bring other production resources into use, the design was passed to Ford Canada, where an equivalent vehicle ("Scout Car, Ford, Mk.I", also called "Lynx") was built with a more powerful, Ford V8 95 hp (71 kW), engine, transmission and running gear. The vehicle superficially resembled the Dingo in general arrangement and body shape, was approximately a foot longer, wider and taller, a ton and a half heavier, less nimble (the turning circle was 47 ft (14 m)) and was louder. While rugged and dependable, it was not as popular as the Dingo, due to the intended use of covert intelligence gathering. Total production figures for each type were 6,626 for the Dingo (all marks) 1939–1945 and 3,255 for the Lynx 1942–1945.


Diamler Scout Car of the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade in 1943.

The Dingo was first used by the British Expeditionary Force (1st Armoured Division and 4th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) during the Battle of France. It turned out to be so successful that no replacement was sought until 1952 with the production of the Daimler Ferret. Principal users were reconnaissance units with a typical late-war recce troop consisting of two Daimler Armoured Cars and two Daimler Dingoes. The vehicle was highly sought-after with damaged Dingoes often being recovered from vehicle dumps and reconditioned for use as private runabouts. One such 'off establishment' vehicle was rebuilt from two damaged Dingoes in Normandy, 1944, by REME vehicle fitters of 86th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. They operated this Dingo for about a week before a higher-ranking officer spotted it and commandeered it for himself.

40 of the Dingo/Lynx Variants were purchased by the US Military for use in the Vietnam War. These were give to units throughout the country. With one being given to the 1st Cavalry Division who experimented with it by adding a turret to it for convoy support purposes as the Gun Trucks were just being put into use. This helped with development of the Commando Armored Car.

Writing in 1968, author R.E. Smith said that all Dingoes had now been withdrawn from British service - except for one used as a runabout at an armoured establishment - but some might have remained in Territorial Army storage at that date.[3] Many were also purchased from Canada by the Union Defence Force after the Second World War, though few South African examples have survived to the present day,[4] and were also procured in large numbers for Commonwealth patrols during the Malayan Emergency. In Vietnam, one ex South Vietnamese, Canadian Lynx was found on installation and used as a liaison vehicle by the 4th Cavalry Regiment.[5] In the mid-1970s, the Dingo was still being used by Cyprus, Portugal and Sri Lanka. Some may have been in reserve store with other minor nations. Surviving vehicles are now popular with historical re-enactors with reconditioned Dingoes commanding a good price.


Production went through 5 variants, which were mostly minor improvements. 6,626 vehicles were produced from 1939 to 1945.

  • Mk I - original model with four-wheel steering and sliding roof
    • Mk IA - as Mark I but with a folding roof
    • Mk IB - reversed engine cooling air flow and revised armour grilles for radiator
  • Mk II - As the Mk IB but with steering on the front wheels only and revision of the lighting equipment
  • Mk III - Produced with a waterproofed ignition system. No roof.

Non-Daimler variants[edit]

Ford Lynx Scout Car[edit]

Ford Lynx Mk I scout car in the Yad La-Shiryon Museum, Israel

A closely related vehicle, the Lynx Scout Car, or "Car, Scout, Ford Mark I" was produced by Ford Canada in Windsor, Ontario. The Lynx design grafted a Dingo hull onto a chassis fitted with a conventional four-wheel drive and running gear. While the engine was much more powerful the gearbox and suspension were inferior. The type entered service in 1943.

  • Mk I.
  • Mk II - strengthened chassis, no roof, extra storage, revised engine grilles

Autoblinda Lince[edit]

Lancia Astura Lince.

Another Dingo clone, the Autoblindo Lince was developed by Lancia, Italy. In 1943–1944, 129 cars were built. They were employed by both German and RSI forces.


  1. ^ "Lynx total production". Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  2. ^ 11th Hussars used twin 0.303 (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns
  3. ^ Smith, R.E. British Army Vehicles and Equipment. Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, July 1968. ISBN 978-0711000209
  4. ^ Scout Car, Canada - Lynx II (Museum exhibit), Saxonwold, Johannesburg: South African National Museum of Military History, 2014
  5. ^ Icks, Robert. AFV Weapons Profile Vol 1 40 - US Armored Cars. Profile Publications 1972. ASIN: B0007BNFRC pp 188


  • Forty, George (1996). World War Two Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Self-Propelled Artillery. Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-582-9.
  • White, B. T. Armoured Cars. AFV No. 21. Profile Publishing.

External links[edit]