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Lot 051: Daimler Conquest Century Roadster

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

Daimler introduced the Conquest in rather a hurry, it being a mildly updated Lanchester Leda with a Daimler grille. It used a 2433cc 6-cylinder version of the 4-cylinder Lanchester 14 engine and sold well by Daimler standards, upholding their traditions of quality, reasonable performance and lashings of wood and leather.

The unstoppable rise in Jaguar's fortunes was a constant source of concern to Daimler, and when the stunning XK120 was unveiled, Daimler had no answer. A programme was put together, and the Century Roadster was the result. Some 50 cars were to be produced before the updated New Drophead Coupe was unveiled with its 3rd seat mounted sideways behind the driver and front seat passenger, wind up windows and exterior door handles.

The first series of Roadsters were used to test bed the new 100bhp Century engine, a version of the existing 6-cylinder unit with an alloy head, larger valves, a higher compression ratio, high lift cam and twin carburettors. This delivered a very respectable performance, 100mph and 0 - 60mph in 14.5 seconds. Coachwork was built by BSA owned Carbodies, the first few cars using cast aluminium body frame sections and predominantly aluminium panels before reverting to more conventional steel construction.

On the market for only the 2nd time in 20 years, ROE 581 was built to special order and is unique amongst the 50 or so built being the only factory supplied full automatic. It used the well tried Borg Warner unit, an option which was later to become available on the Conquest Century saloons. Daimler were well known for their pre-selector gearboxes and fluid flywheel transmission, however were always happy to try and accommodate special customer requests. Believed to have been supplied new to a lady owner, it would appear that period accessory illuminated extending reversing masts were also specified, a fabulous '50s accessory which perfectly suit the glamourous styling of the car. Subject to an older re-spray in cream, the car has otherwise never been restored and retains a lovely patina and originality. In very good condition throughout it is said to drive beautifully, has recently completed an extended tour of France and the Netherlands without a hitch and will cruise happily at 80mph. It comes complete with a good blue mohair hood, tonneau and set of side screens.

A regular prize winner at Daimler club events and awarded a coveted Blue Rosette at the Bristol Classic Car Show in 2010, this lovely original and unique Daimler is only available on the market due to a new and even more significant Daimler purchase by the vendor.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number051
Estimate£25000-£27000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£25000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1955
Condition rating0
Registration numberROE 581
Mileage-
Chassis numberD90477
Engine number72992
Engine capacity (cc)2433
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2