An unusual departure for a firm more noted for its stately limousines, the SP250 sports car was Daimler's final fling before the firm's acquisition by Jaguar. Aimed at the North American market and launched in 1959, the SP250 employed a separate ladder-type chassis on which sat controversially styled glassfibre coachwork constructed by Daimler themselves. Four-wheel disc brakes were an unusual feature at the time, but unquestionably the car's biggest virtue was its 2.5-litre V8 engine. An outstandingly flexible unit designed by Triumph Motorcycles' Edward Turner, the smaller of Daimler's two V8s produced 140bhp, an output good enough to propel the SP250 to a top speed of 125mph. In keeping with the demands of its intended market, automatic transmission was available as an option. The model survived Jaguar's 1960 takeover, benefiting from its new owner's attention that resulted in the much improved 'B' version. Introduced in April 1961, the SP250 'B' boasted a stiffer chassis and thicker glassfibre coachwork; its 'C' replacement, introduced in April 1963, differed only in detail. The Jaguar E-Type's arrival sounded the death knell for the SP250, which ceased production in 1964.
Before then, the Daimler's high-performance credentials had been recognised by the Metropolitan Police, which ordered several to serve as high-speed pursuit cars. This beautiful 'C-series' is one of the last 26 Daimler SP250s purchased by them and comes with its original buff logbook listing the first owner as the Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard, London, SW1. It retains the Pye police radio system and 'Winkworth' bell to the front.
'ALM 742B' was purchased by the immediately preceding owner (now deceased) in 2005 and restored to the highest possible standard, and since completion has won virtually every concours competition entered. The fastidious owner was a experienced motor trade professional who spent many years working for the Automobile Association; he kept meticulous records of the work carried out during the restoration, which are contained within two superbly presented history folders.
Chris Evans purchased the Daimler at a UK auction in August 2014 and earlier this year used it at his CarFest North charity event in aid of the BBC's 'Children in Need' where it was driven by Annette Mason, wife of Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason. This award-winning car remains in generally very good condition and is a magnificent example of the now ultra rare police-specification SP250.