An eccentric hybrid, the SP250 was the car that sunk Daimler. By the late Fifties, the traditionalist Coventry-based company was in dire financial straits. Hoping to woo the car-crazy Americans, Daimler launched the Dart, with its odd pastiche of British and American styling themes, at the 1959 New York Show. Daimler had been making buses out of fiberglass, and the Dart emerged with a quirky, rust-free glass-reinforced-plastic body.
The venerable Daimler company had gone as an independent entity but the new owner – Jaguar- let the name live on. In 1968 the last ‘real’ Daimler – the stately DR450 limousine – was replaced by the Daimler DS420.
The Daimler Majestic 101 was launched in 1958, in the hope that there was still demand for a sturdy saloon in the best traditions of this famous marque.
Launched in New York as the Dart, Daimler’s first sports car was officially renamed the SP250 after Dodge claimed copyright. The car was a barefaced attempt to ride the wave of popularity for British sports cars in America, and it looked much more transatlantic than the Triumph or MG competitors on which its chassis was based.