1939 DAIMLER 2½ LITRE 'DOLPHIN' TOURER
Registration No. Formerly UK registered EWK 84
Chassis No. 49525
Engine Number. 27515
Black and silver, with red coachline, and red interior
Engine: Six cylinder overhead valve, 2522cc 90bhp at 4200rpm; Gearbox: pre-select 'Fluid Flywheel' 3 speed with overdrive; Brakes: four wheel drum; Suspension: front independent by coil spring, rear, semi elliptic leaf spring. Right hand drive.
The history of the Dolphin model can be derived from the successful entry by Daimler of a 15hp Sports Saloon in the 1939 RAC Monte Carlo Rally. Impressed by its performance, when this car returned to the UK it was rebodied by Charlesworth with an attractive four door touring body, and subsequently campaigned on the English, Scottish and Welsh Rallies by Bob Crouch and George Fabel.
The Motor recognised the interest that Daimler had been taking in international motor rallies and when reporting on their new model, noted that when the leader on such arduous runs as the Monte Carlo Rally was the chief designer himself, it was 'not therefore, so very surprising that this new 2 ½ Litre Daimler Dolphin should be a car which excels in all those points which are so important to the really discriminating owner driver'. The same report continues in praising the handling of the car, and the Daimler 'Fluid Flywheel' gearbox, which for the Dolphin alone boasted an overdrive, and offered a cruising speed of up to 80mph. It commented that the 'open four seater body supplied on this car for test was comfortable and free from draughts. The back passengers were protected by a deck which hinged upwards for easy access. The seating arrangements and all-round visibility could hardly have been bettered'
In summarising it notes that 'Everything about this new Daimler worked with a minimum of effort. The pedal controlling the gear change required little more than the weight of the driver's foot. The selector mechanism could be moved with two fingers and without taking the hand from the steering wheel. The Girling brakes performed faultlessly and at night the lighting system enabled high cruising speeds'
They went on to conclude 'At a time when motorists may be seeking the attributes of a thoroughbred high-performance car and, at the same time, wishing to combine these with medium-rated horse power, the Daimler Co have produced a car which ranks as one of the best available in any country today.'
With such rave reviews the company had perfected almost every aspect of the successor to its 15hp models, and it seems a pity that so few were made before the outbreak of war, it is believed just 25 in total, nearly half of which were severely damaged in the Blitz. It is known that the preceding chassis numbers to this car, 49523 and 49524 were featured on the Motor Show stand for Daimler that year, so it seems likely that this car would have been the first to be sold to the public.
First registered locally in Coventry with the correspending registration EWK 84 this car was later exported to America, where it appears to have been restored cosmetically some fifteen years ago. This work would seem to have been executed to a high standard as the car adheres to original specification in fine detail, with the only apparent exception being the carburettion which is by a single SU, rather than the correct twin carburettor set-up. It was subsequently offered for sale at $65,000 and purchased by a private Far Eastern collection, and has clearly seen very limited use since then as the paintwork and upholstery show little sign of wear.
The Daimler has received recent maintenance and is offered in running order, although has not been tested for an MoT. A very rare, attractive and usable pre-war Sporting British car.