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Daimler V8 250

Daimler V8 250 Published: 31st May 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Daimler V8 250
Daimler V8 250
Daimler V8 250
Daimler V8 250
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Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

The dowdy dignified Daimler V8 250 may have been an oddity in the sporty Jaguar Mk2 range but those who tried one invariably liked the drive for its superior smoothness and cruising abilities.

At long last, genuine cars that have retained Daimler power are starting to be recognised for their considerable qualities and are a good alternative to any Jag. Parts supply from the likes of David Manners, Robert Grinter and Bryan Purves is excellent and, if anything, the simple V8 engine makes the car easier to own than a Mk2.

1. Engine output

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Few tuning parts are available but having the cylinder heads gas-flowed with larger valves fitted and appropriate carb rejetting will see some 160+bhp with smoothness and reliability. When engine was run on four Amal carbs, over 200bhp was reportedly seen by tuners in its heyday. Electronic ignition is a good move to replace the quirky standard twin points set up.

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Of simple 1950’s design, the V8 is long-lasting, if serviced on time. There’s no need to convert to unleaded valve seats as engine copes well enough – although worth doing if they need renewing or valve guides (sometimes a weak point) require renewal. Tougher exhaust valves are advised if heads ever need to come off. An uprated rad is a wise upgrade.

2. Body & chassis

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Amazingly, given its popularity, new Mk2 shells aren’t available so you have to renovate old one. Jaguar specialist Ken Jenkins restores bodies and makes them stronger at certain points such as at the ‘crows’ feet’, suspension points and bulkheads. The V8 doesn’t suffer from major overheating like the XK, although it can still run hot if furred up. Front wings cost over £2500 (ea); is that car such a bargain now?

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The Jag shell is a a rotter and a wise owner regularly pressurewashes underside and over does things with Waxoyl. Main areas to care for are the aforementioned crows’ feet up front, which is welded to the front valance and crossmember, all box sections, bulkheads, inner wings, doors, sills and floors. There is more to restoring a Mk2 shell properly than you’d think warn Jag specialists.

3. Bottom end

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Cleverest way to go large is to simply slot in the 4.5-litre V8 from a Majestic, as also Jaguar tried. It puts out as much as the best XK unit and is easier and cheaper to fit plus keeps the car ‘authentic’ but it’s not a straight swap.

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Lowly oil pressure (40psi minimum), general decay and hot running due to corroding alloy waterways can occur if anti-freeze has gone stale. The SP250 engine differed by using studs not head bolts and a relocated water pump; later V8-250 got piston, camshaft and block mods however.

4. Front suspension

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It benefits from usual modding using stiffer springs and dampers. If you want to improve plus fit better power steering, go for set up found on 420/Sovereign and also gain better brakes. ICS has a close ratio steering kit to give a quick 3.25 turns lockto- lock and, having PAS means is not heavy either.

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Jag springs result in incorrect ride height (sitting too high) and spoils handling – take care if buying old ones. Wear in swivels can be re-shimmed out. If renewing wishbone bushes, opt for sturdier ‘poly’ types even if refinement suffers. PAS leaks at steering box.

5. Transmission

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Unlike Dart, saloon relied upon Jag transmissions, manual and auto, the latter which accounted for majority of sales. Converting to manual (with 240 unit) is straightforward or you can go further and graft on Jag’s own five-speed unit, as found on S3 XJ6, although it’s not as easy as with an XK engine.

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Three-speed auto (changed in ’64) is lazy but smooth. Manual Jag gearbox suffers from usual ills, but lazy change may be livened up by a swap to modern oils. Overdrive ailments normally stem from duff electrics. As on the Mk2, a clutch change is a major event for DIYers.

6. Differential

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A host of different Mk2 ratios were offered depending upon engine and whether overdrive or automatic were fitted. What ratio is now installed? It was altered in ’64 and now Robert Grinter offers a 3.58 one for restful cruising at £2000 fitted. LSD axles were offered on the Daimler but rarely specified.

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Axles are usually silent and strong – it’s their location which has been known to cause trouble where age and wear can cause it to move about slightly and alter rear wheel alignment and funny handling. Odd tyre wear should give you a clue here.

7. Interior and trim

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Daimler interior differs from Jaguar in several ways; seats, centre console deletion (due to the smaller engine), fabric dashboard top after 1967 and one less interior light but the wood used was said to be of greater quality. Stock bench-style seats were Mk1-derived and lack support; better alternatives are S3 XJ6 perches and fit reasonably easy.

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While costly (up to five figures for a full blown quality renovation), all that you need to restore an interior at home are available but the Daimler has its own style and originality can suffer using second-hand bits; Mk2 seats can be used, but differ in design, as do door trims, etc. Both hub caps and optional wire wheels were Daimler embossed, if fitted.

8. Rear suspension and brakes

Mod

A simple ’50s leaf sprung design that can be improved in the usual manner with uprated spring and dampers plus harder poly bushes, although the ride and refinement suffers. As at the front, springs settle with age – ensure correct Daimler ones are fitted unless uprating anyway. Rear disc brakes are entirely adequate for road use.

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Handbrake is the bane of Mk2 ownership but it needn’t be so, if you keep the linkages well lubricated. Trick when adjusting the handbrake is to disconnect the cable and adjust any play at the brake calliper, checking it with a four thou feeler gauge (between the pad and brake disc) before even attempting to tackle it at cable end.

MK2 & V8 250 differences

Daimler differed from the Mk2, here’s the significant details. Fluted 20 slat grille and boot plinth, Daimler hub caps (with chrome rim rings) and body badging with special ‘D’ badge instead of ‘Growler’. Twin exhausts, fitted, one each side of the car. The interior featured bench style front seats (but no picnic tables), wood veneer set below dashboard centre section incorporating the heating controls and radio. Late ’67 cars featured vinyl topped dash and ‘420’ style door trims.

And another thing…

If you’re after total originality then you’re probably in for a tough time even though Mk2 parts are plentiful. For example, the V8 2.5 has its own dedicated tookl kit featuring ‘Daimler’ embossed spanners which are harder to find than Jaguar designer labels. Think hard before switching over to XK power, as many were over the decades, as it will detract values; ‘Jag-Daimlers’ are neither one car or the other (ie ‘real’ Jag Mk2) and as prices of the Daimler badge rises (and the best cars can exceed £25K), you’ll be left with something that will be hard to sell on for decent money. On the other hand, automatic-to-manual conversions are entirely acceptable and SP250 lover David Manners stocks a special clutch kit required to do the job.



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