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Daimler V8 250

Published: 8th Jan 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Daimler V8 250

Buyer Beware

  • It seems that the Daimler V8 2.5 attracts a different type of buyer to the Mk2. The cars seem to be kept in better condition.
  • Essentially the V8 suffers the same woes as the MKk2 it is based upon. Naturally rust is the biggest problem. As with the MK2 the main areas for rot are the chassis box sections, front cross-member (particularly at its ‘crow’s feet’ which are welded to the valance and cross-member), inner sills, floorpan, outer sills, door bottoms, wings and the car’s ‘snout’ which rots badly around the fog lamp region.
  • At the rear check the floor (including the boot) rear axle and leaf spring hangers. Check the doors for alignment and the panel gaps. A small magnet is invaluable for detecting crafty fibreglass repairs in these regions.
  • That sugar-sweet of a V8 is long-lasting if serviced properly. Lowly oil pressure (you need to see in the region of 40psi if good), general decay and hot running due to corroding alloy waterways can occur, so check.
  • Incidentally, although initial take up of the manual transmission option was minimal, now it is reckoned that they may be more of them around as classic enthusiasts swapped the automatic for a stick-shift to make more of the usable performance – but is gearing right?
  • The three-speed auto box is a lazy affair but beautifully smooth and long-lived. Inspect the fluid: it should be clean and not smell ‘burnt’, suggesting problems.
  • Springs and dampers differ to the Mk2 due to lighter alloy engine (ensure the correct replacements have been used). See that the car sits straight on level ground.
  • Conversely, if the car has been changed to Jag XK power then the springs need to be stiffer. These hybrids are difficult to value as originality counts for more now.
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Daimler’s V8 250 is arguably the most cultured Mk2 of them all and could well be the Jaguar saloon that you’ve secretly always yearned for

What is it with the Daimler ‘Mk2’ that turns so many people off? Is it that prim and proper fluted grille that replaces the growling cat or the fact that it lacks the sporty sharpness of the Jag’s claws, preferring a more dignified attitude instead?

The 2.5 V8 was the result of a marriage of convenience after Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons acquired Daimler in 1960. The Daimler-powered Mk2 hit 50 this year and in many ways it’s the best model of them all. This includes value for money.


In strictest terms there only two choices – auto or manual. Initially the Daimler was self-shifting and it wasn’t until early 1967 that the manual with optional overdrive transmission or without was offered. That said, a fair number of the 17,000 Daimlers have been retrospectively been converted by owners as the benefit of overdrive suits the car’s touring nature far better.

The Daimler gained the same revisions as the sister Jaguar Mk2 throughout its seven-year production run. These included a revised 4.27:1 rear axle ratio being installed in ‘64 to prevent over-revving at top speed and make cruising not quite so strangely frantic for a V8.

During 1966 and along with the Mk2, the Daimler was cheapened although it thankfully escaped the bulk of the penny-pinching that sullied the Mk2’s reputation. A year later with the advent of the 240/340, the Daimler also gained slim-line bumpers and detailed trim changes, plus was rebadged the V8250 before its demise in 1969, displaced by the XJ6-derived Sovereign.

In terms of value there’s little difference what model you opt for and this includes Jag-engined versions, although it depends on how well the job has been carried out. They’ll be quicker as it’s not worth using the 2.4 engine but the suspension spring rates are different and need to be altered or handling will be upset plus the larger centre console of the Jag requires fitting.

Arguably the best mod is to fit the similar-dimensioned 4.5 V8 from a Majestic; when Browns Lane tried it they found the Mk2 really was a scalded cat and shamed Jaguar…

Traditionally values of the V8 2.5/250 have always lagged behind the more fashionable Jaguar by around a third. As a rule, rough cars can cost not much more than a grand with decent ones hovering around the £7-9000 mark. Unless it’s something really special, even the very best V8s should still leave change out of £20,000, which is much less than an equivalent Jaguar Mk2.


That majestic 2.5-litre engine was only slightly larger than the 2.4 ‘six’ but with a quoted 140bhp was 20bhp to the good of the underpowered 2.4; bridging the gap quite nicely between the entry Jag and the 210bhp 3.4 Mk2.

So how does the Daimler compare to the Jag? The best way to summarise the two cars is to discuss their different characters. The Jaguar is the more sporting steed while the Daimler is better suited to genteel touring even if the engine’s torque slightly disappointed for a V8: 155lbft @ a heady 3600rpm against 144lbft @ only 2000rpm for the 2.4 XK engine isn’t good.

Jaguar legend Norman Dewis recently and exclusively told Classic Motoring that (apart from the engine) he thought the Daimler was a “Bloody awful” conversion and put it down to the car being rushed into production to please Daimler.

The V8 installation was first tried out on the Mk1 and Norman always felt that the front spring rates were never quite right. This was backed up to some degree by a Motor road test in ’66 which said that the front suspension “is much firmer – even a little harsh and pattery than might be expected”. Classic Motoring’s view is that we’ve never found the Daimler any less comfortable than a Jaguar; perhaps modern tyres help here?

The lighter engine endows the 2.5 V8 with considerably better handling over the Jag as it’s not so heavy and lumbering while the finger-light optional power steering (which most Daimlers had) makes the V8 very easy to pilot.

The Daimler’s 140 horses provide more than ample poke for modern roads. According to contemporary road tests at the time the V8 was a shade faster than a manual 240, one test automatic car clocking an impressive sprint to 60mph (12-14 seconds, depending upon axle ratio). The manual transmission really made the most of the V8 and some road tests had this Daimler almost as lively as a 3.4 (0-60mph 11.1 secs). In contrast when left in D2 the auto was considerably more sluggish than working the ‘box as a semi auto but all cruise like a Roller. Fuel economy is around 18-20mpg although some owners claim to have achieved 24mpg on a leisurely run: impressive for a heavy, old school automaticif true.


  In many ways the Daimler is a better choice here over the Jaguar. It’s an easier car to pilot and the split front seats which are slimmer than a Mk2 – plus reclined as standard on later models – enable a touchmore rear legroom although those wonderful picnic tables are lost.

Being an ohv engine, routine work is arguably more DIY friendly over the twin cam XK and certainly general accessibility is better. Economy is no better than a Mk2 but the V8 is said to run okay on unleaded. If the heads come off, though, it’s still worth fitting

harder valve seats. If the silky smooth V8 is too sedate for you then conventional head gas flowing and tuning the carbs to suit will release a lot of horse power – indeed Daimler found that up to 200bhp is possible!

Earlier cars benefit from that high axle ratio if you intend a lot of high speed cruising and 420/S-type brakes work a treat if you hanker for better anchors.


It’s pure Mk2 but easier; thanks to that old school V8 that doesn’t need fiddly shims for the tappets, timing chain renewal or the hassle of typical XK oil leaks!  Parts supply is as good as a Mk2 apart from detail Daimler fixtures (even the tool kit differs if you hanker for originality) and few V8s ran on wire wheels. Electronic ignition (to do away with the quirky ‘twin points’ set up used) and an uprated radiator are wise fitments.

We Reckon...

Don’t discard the Daimler when hunting for a classic Mk2. The Daimler 2.5 V8 is every bit as good as a ‘proper’ Mk2 – perhaps even better if you value cultured cruising rather than caning the car. Add the model’s rarity and resultant exclusivity over the Jaguar but with cheaper prices (and so better value), isn’t it time that you forgot your prejudices and went for the dignified Daimler? As for a Jag-powered one, we’re not so sure.

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