Pre 1950 Daimler’s:
The Daimler Motor Company Limited was established in 1896 based around the license that Frederick Richard Simms had negotiated that included all the Daimler Engine patents for the United Kingdom and Colonies (except Canada) in 1890.
In 1896, the first Daimler link with royalty was established when the then-Prince of Wales (and later King Edward VII) was taken for a ride in (or should that be on?) an 1896, Cannstatt-built Daimler that Simms had for demonstration. That link continues until this day, albeit no longer as the sole supplier to the royal family.
The Daimler Company set about putting motor cars on the technological map through motor shows, publications and exploits, including in October 1897 a run by Henry Sturmey from John o’Groat’s to Land’s End in a 4 HP, solid tyred, chain driven Daimler with a body designed by Sturmey and built by Mulliners.
By 1902, the King was ordering a 24 HP model, such was the progress in development. The infrastructure of the car industry was also developing, although not always at the same pace as availability. Distribution of tyres, petrol & oil and necessary spare parts was in its infancy, and necessity was as always the mother of invention (and of course development!) Tales of motoring escapades of the early 20th century abound, especially in the Colonies.
By 1910 Daimler was in negotiation for an amalgamation with the Birmingham Small Arms Company Ltd. In 1911 the company announced three 6 cylinder models, including a 57 HP model. Only one model that year, the 12 HP was offered as a complete car, all the others were offered as rolling chassis.
It was also about this time that the name “Knight” became associated with Daimlers. An American engineer, Charles Y. Knight had demonstrated a sliding or sleeve valve system for use in internal combustion engines. Daimler invited him to demonstrate his design, and decided it had merit. Development of a Daimler engine fitted with sleeve valves was carried out, largely under the direction of one Dr Frederick Lanchester. Trials proved satisfactory, so Daimler started production of a sleeve valved range of engines.
A childhood memory is one of standing behind a large 1930 Daimler at car show in Feilding and being as astounded as a small boy could be at the silence and smoothness of this massive car with the engine running and driving off.
Another of Daimler’s famous developments was that of a 7,136 cc V12 engine back in 1926 – the first Daimler Double-Six. Not the first, but it certainly made its mark in the day, especially when placed in a low-slung “Corsica” sports body. This motor was developed by Laurence H. Pomeroy, then company Chief Engineer. This was also a sleeve valve engine!
The coachbuilders certainly produced some spectacular vehicles on Daimler Chassis, but then the owner-driver was not ignored either, with standard models available through most of the company’s history.
The two World Wars saw Daimler provide massive assistance to the British war effort. For a brief introductory coverage, see Daimlers at War.
The models of the mid to late 1930’s became the basis of the post WWII cars that were produced (See Post 1950 Models).