1956 Daimler 3.5-Litre Continental Coupe  Chassis no. 88890 Engine no. 87225

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Lot 672
1956 Daimler 3.5-Litre Continental Coupe
Registration no. 950 DLW Chassis no. 88890 Engine no. 87225

£ 25,000 - 35,000
US$ 33,000 - 46,000
1956 Daimler 3.5-Litre Continental Coupe
Coachwork by Hooper & Co

Registration no. 950 DLW
Chassis no. 88890
Engine no. 87225
Daimler maintained its long-established position as royalty’s favourite in the immediate post-WW2 years while grabbing headlines in the popular press thanks to a succession of often-outrageous ‘Docker Specials’ featuring bodies by in-house coachbuilder Hooper & Co, usually on the DE36 straight-eight chassis. The driving force behind these sensational styling exercises - all the more remarkable for their appearance at a time of great austerity - was Lady Docker (née Norah Turner), wife of the parent BSA Group’s millionaire chairman, Sir Bernard Docker; though by the time this car - believed to be the last of the Docker-inspired Daimlers - appeared on Hooper’s stand at the 1956 Earls Court Motor Show, Sir Bernard had been ousted in a boardroom coupe.
Intended as a less expensive competitor to the Bentley Continental, Daimler’s version was one of the casualties of the management shake-up that followed the Dockers’ departure, and this prototype remains the sole example made. The car is built on a lengthened One-O-Four (DF310) chassis and powered by the latter’s 3.5-litre overhead-valve six-cylinder engine producing 137bhp. The brakes are Girling servo assisted and the car has the optional Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission. Its chassis extended front and rear for a total length of 17’ 3”, the Continental boasts lowered bonnet, radiator and roof lines and measures 5’ 1” in height. By the mid-1950s Hooper had moved away from traditional wood-framed coachwork and the Continental features aluminium panelling supported by a subframe and cast ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts of the same material. The overall weight is 35cwt.
Other special features include the elegantly hooded front and rear lights, the former housing individual fresh-air ducts; Triplex Sundym glass for front and rear screens; and electrically operated side windows. The eucalyptus dashboard is leather padded and the headlining is made of pale green woollen cloth.
A year after its Earls Court debut the car was repainted dark green/black and first registered for the road. It was to be seen in the Knutsford area from 1961 to 1973, during which time it was finished in white and bronze, and from 1973 to 1985 stood unused. The present owner acquired the car in 1985, undertaking a complete body-off restoration, completed in 1994, of which there is a full photographic record. Great care was taken not to lose any of the prototype’s unique design features, and its original Earls Court livery of green/beige was restored.
Of the special-bodied Daimlers of the 1950s, this car is - arguably - the most useable and has covered some 20,000-or-so miles, both in this country and abroad, since being put back on the road. Presented in very good condition, it has been featured in The Automobile and Classic & Sports Car magazines and is very well known in Daimler circles.
Wonderfully redolent of the 1950s, an age when excess still had the capacity to shock, this uniquely stylish piece of Daimler history is offered with old-style logbook, restoration invoices, current road fund licence, MoT to March 2005 and Swansea V5 registration document.
1956 Daimler 3.5-Litre Continental Coupe  Chassis no. 88890 Engine no. 87225
1956 Daimler 3.5-Litre Continental Coupe  Chassis no. 88890 Engine no. 87225
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