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Lot 056: Daimler Conquest Century Drophead

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

Launched in 1953, the Daimler Conquest was basically a slightly modified version of the Lanchester 14/Leda but fitted with a six-cylinder, single carb 2,433cc engine producing some 75bhp. The large cruciform chassis had double wishbone front suspension with laminated torsion bars, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar, while the rear suspension used leaf springs with telescopic dampers. Cam and peg steering was used and Girling hydro-mechanical brakes. Automatic chassis lubrication to 21 points, using a pump controlled by exhaust heat, was a clever feature. Drive was via a Daimler four-speed pre-selector gearbox with fluid flywheel.

It came in three body styles, saloon, roadster or drophead coupe. While the saloons were made of steel, both roadsters and dropheads were primarily panelled in aluminium and had bigger brakes. All had luxurious well appointed traditional wood grain and leather interiors. In 1954 the engine was uprated to Century spec with an alloy head, big valves, higher compression, high lift cam and twin carbs which raised the output to a useful 100bhp with a 100mph top speed.

At the 1955 Motor Show, improved MkII versions of both the roadster and drophead were launched, the drophead having 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 roadster.

Although they were fine cars, sales were never that brisk as they were expensive machines to buy  a drophead cost almost �2,000 which was �280 more than the contemporary Jaguar XK140. Some 288 dropheads were made in total, of which just 54 were MkII models with a rear seat.

This particular MkII Drophead was built in 1957 but was first registered in England in 1959 (where it spent its first two years is not recorded but the vendor believes it may have been on the Isle of Man). A green log book from 1966 shows that the car was then owned by Oswald Warden of Sunderland. In 1971 it passed to a Mr Harris of Horsham, then to Tony Bullen of Westbury in 1974. In 1977 it was acquired by Reg Turner, a leading light in the Daimler Lanchester Owners' Club, who was to keep it right up until his death in 2008 when it was bought by the current vendor.

Apart from a repaint at some time before 1977, the car is said to be in remarkably original condition with no signs of any previous restoration. The c.92,000 miles on the clock is believed to be genuine and is partially backed up by a large number of old MOTs and associated paperwork. Always well maintained, the car is said to drive very well indeed and has been in regular light use during the current ownership.

Well known on the club and show circuit, the car was exhibited at the 2010 Daimler Lanchester International Show where it was voted Car we would most like to take home by the judges. Currently taxed and with an MOT until April 2012, this is a lovely old motorcar that is sure to give its new owner a huge amount of pleasure.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number056
Estimate£23000-£26000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£20000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1957
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number90521
Engine number73062
Engine capacity (cc)2433
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2