Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Daimler Dart SP250

Daimler Dart SP250 Published: 24th Jul 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Daimler Dart SP250
Daimler Dart SP250
Daimler Dart SP250
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Hardly the prettiest of sports cars and few will beg to differ… but the Daimler SP250’s real beauty lies under the skin


Ignoring those looks which you either love or hate the SP250 is everything you’d expect from Daimler (dignity, decorum, class) wrapped in a sporty bodywork that while dated even when it was new, now looks distinctive and classical. Based loosely on the Triumph TR3 it’s a worthy alternative to that Brit plus benefits from a superb V8 engine for TR6-like power. Yet is almost as simple and easy to run as a TR4, too, thanks to superb club and specialist support. And being made of fibreglass, the Daimler’s body can’t rust of course!


1959 Unveiled as the Dart but American Dodge had already registered the name and quickly complained, forcing Daimler to come up with the SP250 moniker instead.

1960/61 B-Spec SP250 was introduced with a stronger rear axle, a beefed-up chassis to reduce body flex, adjustable steering column, front and rear bumpers (previously optional!), reserve fuel tank and windscreen washers and a revised interior. UK buyers could specify an auto; previously this was only available to export markets and the Police force.

1963 C-Spec introduced, featuring a standard heater, cigarette lighter and built-in trickle charger socket.
1964 Production ends after Jaguar toyed with a restyled SP52.


The SP250 is a sort of big-engined TR3 and that can’t be bad, can it. Thanks to its novel GRP bodyshell, the Daimler weighs roughly the same as the Triumph and with that superb V8 under the bonnet gives the Daimler some pace with it cracking 60mph in nine seconds and trucking on to 120mph.

The engine has enormous potential for tuning (a popular drag racer) and some owners have even slotted in the larger 4.5-litre found in Majestic saloons for V12 E-type-like pace!

Despite no overdrive option (but it can be fairly easily added), it’s a good cruiser with a supple ride, that’s better than a TR. The flip side is severe body flex that’s as bad as any pre-war sports car! Add heavy steering and on twisty B-roads you have to work hard at the wheel although a conversion to rack and pinion that’s available (as is power steering) from specialists transforms the Dart.


Condition counts the most although B and C Spec cars best; many earlier cars are already converted to latter spec chassis modifications. Automatics suit the car if you find one so don’t dismiss lightly. Less than 3000 were made and 1200 were left-hand drive; easy to convert to UK tastes but don’t be hasty as LHD classics can command much better premiums


Even though many reckon the SP250 is hardly a beauty, that doesn’t stop demand outstripping supply to a sizeable degree although most buyers want something really nice that needs little doing. Even a complete box of parts will cost at least £4-£5000; expect to pay at least double this for a usable car that’s a bit ratty and needs work. Really nice SP250s cost at least £25,000 and we know of simply superb examples busting the £30,000 mark. It’s a trend that will only continue so buy now if you want one.

While this Daimler may not be the prettiest sporting classic ever made, the SP250 has got a huge amount going for it as many enthusiasts are happily discovering. Affordability and exclusivity are just two of its key attributes, but the Dart is more fun to drive than its frumpy 50’s looks suggest. Considering the prices many lesser rivals sell for, the SP250 still looks a bargain even though they’re rising in value. Daimler’s Dart may score a bulls-eye with you yet! FIVE TOP FAULTS
  • BODYWORK Crazing of the gel coat, affects forward of the windscreen the most so check repairs
  • CHASSIS Everywhere but crossmembers, beams, suspension points and turrets are most crucial
  • ENGINE While Mk2 V8 saloon sometimes suffered from worn engines, the lighter SP250 is less stressed but can still overheat and suffer from valve guide wear, more so than V8 saloon
  • TRANSMISSION Not the direct TR unit some claim, and struggles to cope as does fragile crown wheel and pinion
  • SUSPENSION Leaking dampers and sagging leaf springs. At the front, worn trunnions and vertical links are quite common

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Britians top classic cars bookazine