Originally the property of the 4th Earl of Craven 1907 Daimler Type TP 45 10.6-litre Four-Seat Tourer Registration no. AC1094
Car no. 4325
"But allowing for its idiosyncratic behaviour and its occasional bouts of sulking and refusing to co-operate, it is my favourite car. The car I would keep if allowed only one. With its hissing carburettor, exposed valve gear and whirring chain-drive to the wheels it has all the uncomplicated charm of the primitive creation, the very essence of the horseless carriage. For that most enjoyable of all motoring experiences just meandering through France with nothing to do more urgent than eating and drinking it is the perfect carriage." All in Good Time, George Daniels.
The noble Craven family no doubt shared George Daniels' views about this motoring Leviathan, retaining it in their family ownership from new in 1907 until it acceded to residence in the Daniels motor house in 1983. William George Robert Craven inherited the Earldom of Craven at the age of fourteen in 1883, at the same time inheriting some 40,000 or so acres of the English countryside as well as three country seats. It was to Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire, set amid a well-timbered deer park, that the gleaming Daimler was delivered in August 1907, the thirty nine year old 4th Earl of Craven cutting a dash as he motored - Mr. Toad-like - between his estates and while fulfilling his duties as a Liberal politician, Captain of The Yeoman of the Guard and Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, a position he held from 1913 to 1921. A member of The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, The Earl was known to have an allegiance to the Daimler marque, this car joining a small fleet of at least four other Daimlers in service with the Craven family in 1907.
The Earl's grandson, F.W.Billingham, in a letter to George Daniels dated December 1984 which is on file, records admirably the car's history. Daniels himself records a conversation with the son of the original chauffeur who related how his father, a Daimler employee, had delivered the car in 1907 from the Daimler factory in Coventry, planning to stay just long enough for the Earl to learn how to manage the car. Some fifty years later the chauffeur died, still in the employ of the Craven family.
A motoring log, known to survive in 1984, but not on file, recorded that up to the end of August 1908 the Daimler had covered 4,326 miles and thereafter every journey the car made from September 1st 1908 to October 7th 1915 was fully recorded, the stated mileage then being 22,506 miles. The Craven cars were all liveried in dark blue with white and red coachlining and this car was no exception. The car is recorded as being with Daimler from January 25th 1910 to March 3rd 1910 'for plating and varnishing'. Presumably at this stage all brightwork was copper plated the car being known always by the Craven family as 'The Copper Car'. It is thought that the wheels were changed from the original wooden artilleries to wire wheels at Daimler in the 1915-1919 period. The only journey recorded after October 1915 was the drive on December 18th 1919 to Hamstead Marshall, near Newbury, (the Craven's Berkshire residence). There it was stored on blocks, the intention being to use the car for Continental touring after things had settled down after the war. The tragic and untimely death of the 4th Earl in a yachting accident in The Solent off the south coast of England in 1921 put paid to those plans. For some thirty or so years on the venerable Daimler remained on blocks in the heated motor house at Hamstead Marshall, sharing that accommodation with the Craven family Hooper State Coach. After thirty years on blocks the car passed into the ownership of Rupert Craven of Thurso in Scotland, in whose hands it saw just occasional use before passing in June 1983 from Craven ownership into the care of George Daniels.
It could have found no better home, Daniels being fascinated by the interesting technical specification of the car and enthralled by the sheer performance provided by the 10.6-litre four-cylinder engine, which delivered a top speed of 80mph at just 1,200rpm. The unbroken history, the originality and undoubted integrity of this car made it an essential acquisition for the Daniels motor house. Here is a car that has never been restored but simply maintained to a very high standard in its early life by its manufacturer and latterly by George Daniels a demanding engineer in his own right.
Warwickshire County Council records confirm first registration on 4th July 1907 as AC 1094 and note livery as dark blue with red and white lines, livery it retains to this day with only discolouration of the varnish re-applied at the factory in 1910. The compact four seater coachwork, with its leather side valances, still bears the Craven family coat of arms on the body side panels and is upholstered in burgundy coloured leather, access to the rear seats being via a forward tipping front seat. The car is remarkably well equipped to the detailed specification of the motoring enthusiast Earl, driving equipment including Phare Ducellier acetylene headlamps, copper sidelamps, now discretely converted to contain flashing indicators for safety reasons, escargot-type centrally mounted bulb horn, under bonnet-mounted four trumpet Le Testophone trumpet horn, single piece folding windscreen, Oldfield Dependence single rear lamp and rear mounted spare wheel. The driver is occupied by a four-speed gate change gearbox with separate reverse lever, three dashboard mounted oil flow sight glasses, a 0-85mph speedometer by S.Smith & Son Ltd. and a dashboard clock to ensure punctual arrival. AA and RAC member's badges are carried. The familiar Daimler curved bulkhead houses most practical lockers for the touring motorist. Transmission is via a cone clutch and final drive is by those whirring sidechains that gave Daniels so much pleasure. Note particularly the hinged brake and clutch pedals for added driver comfort. The single lever control on the five spoke steering column opens the throttle, weakens the mixture and advances the ignition with one movement a Daimler feature which worked well when meticulously set up. Another Daimler feature not widely copied by others is the rear-hinged coachwork which, with rear mudguards removed, allows the body to tip backwards providing quick and easy access to the gearbox and side chains for maintenance. A modern starter motor has been fitted to facilitate the easy starting of the mighty engine, although Daniels does report that the car will start by switching on the coil when all four cylinders have been primed with fuel, switching later to the Simms Type D4 magneto for normal running. Although not presently fitted the car comes with a cape cart style hood requiring renovation.
Car no. 4325 has been known in veteran car circles for many years and was dated by The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain on 1st November 1952, the only noted modification recorded then being the factory fitted Rudge Whitworth wire wheels. A most interesting history file offered with the car records a trip to Dieppe in 1983, soon after acquisition by Daniels, travelling with a distinguished group of cars from its peer group, and contains VCC Dating Certificate No. 292, Swansea V5 registration document, a copy of the original Warwickshire County Council Registration Record, the original Type TP45 parts catalogue for this car and a number of expired tax discs and MOT certificates. It records also that Daniels competed the Daimler at the VSCC Colerne Speed Trials in 1984, completing the kilometre in 45.89 seconds and attaining a recorded speed of 69.9mph.
Here is a car carefully selected by its original owner, the 4th Earl of Craven, and indeed by George Daniels, as representing the pinnacle of motoring excellence, speed and excitement of its day. Some 105 years on the Daimler has amassed an outstanding provenance and a patina almost unrivalled amongst its peer group and yet here is a car with potential still to amass both national speeding tickets and conservation class awards at the highest international level in the hands of its next connoisseur owner. As Daniels himself said, a car with "all the uncomplicated charm of the primitive creation the very essence of the horseless carriage."