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Lot 621: Daimler 57hp 9.4-Litre Limousine

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

In 1924 King George V ordered four new Daimlers for Royal service, specifying the use of the 9.4-litre Knight-type sleeve-valve engine. An additional handful was built alongside the Royal quartet, of which this is the only known running survivor. The only survivor of the King George cars is in the Royal Collection at Sandringham. Chassis number '19119' recently underwent a 'last nut and bolt' restoration to the highest standards costing over $450,000. The engine has been completely rebuilt, as has gearbox, rear axle, brakes and all the various ancillary items, while the coachwork was completely repainted in Royal Claret livery. A correct interior was sourced, based upon the original, and painstakingly fitted to the correct specification. There is black leather upholstery and matching carpets to the front compartment, beige cord fabric and West of England cloth to the rear. The limousine body is by Hooper & Co, London-based carriage makers to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII and arguably the finest of all British coachbuilders. A leather covered luggage trunk is mounted at the rear. Barker-patent dipping headlights are fitted at the front, the lever activating them being in the cab. The car is simply massive with huge presence on the road, dwarfing comparable Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts, etc. We are advised that the six-cylinder engine is a paragon of smoothness, belying its size. Barely audible when running, it is also immensely torquey, pulling from walking pace in top gear without so much as a tremor. The usual blue smoke at start up, characteristic of sleeve-valve designs, quickly dissipates as the engine warms. Once hot, the engine starts easily off the residual compression - without recourse to the starter motor - by switching the ignition back on and retarding the ignition lever on the steering boss. There are two sets of spark plugs: one fired by the magneto, the other by coil ignition. Similarly, the car has two separate starter motors so would not be rendered immobile should one fail. The gearbox is a four-speed unit, a little heavy at first but becoming easy to use when the oil is up to temperature. There is a two-stage clutch. For upward changes the pedal is depressed half way; for down changes it is pushed all the way down, which brakes the flywheel. The four-wheel brakes are said to be reasonably effective and the steering very light and precise, given the car's size and weight. Offered with current MoT/tax and UK V5C registration document (for the number 'BF 5906') this imposing car boasts royalty's stamp of approval and is of an excellence one simply does not find elsewhere. It is of museum quality and would make a wonderful centrepiece to any collection.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number621
Estimate€200000-€250000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1924
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number19119
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors