FORMERLY THE VICE-REGAL CAR FOR LORD FREYBURG, THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF NEW ZEALAND
1946 DAIMLER DE27 LIMOUSINE
COACHWORK BY HOOPER
Chassis No. 50003
Engine No. 11676
Black and maroon with grey leather front and cloth rear interior
Engine: six cylinder overhead valve, 4,096cc, 110bhp at 3600rpm; Gearbox: fluid transmission with pre-selective 4-speed gearbox; Suspension: independent coil spring and wishbone, live rear axle with leaf springs; Brakes: servo-assisted four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
In 1946, the long established Daimler Company of Coventry, England could proudly declare that it was Motor Car Manufacturer to His Majesty the King. Indeed, the company's craftsmen not only built King George VI's State limousines, but those of his father George V and grandfather Edward VII. Restrained, dignified and silent, the Royal Daimlers with coachwork generally handcrafted by Hooper swept majestically past on cleared roads lined by a respectful populace. They were a potent symbol of Majesty. In the British Empire around the world, Ambassadors and Governor Generals represented the Monarch in rather similar automobiles. For these duties Daimler provided the overhead valve six cylinder 4-litre DE27 engine, and a chassis of suitable magnificence. In those days the company was considered to be very conservative, but the DE27's specification was as up to date as could be wished.
Since the Coventry concern was that kind of company, it was derived from a successful predecessor. The engine was that of the famous Second World War Daimler armored car, which had served with such distinction and longevity in arduous theaters of war from Northern Europe to the Sahara desert. There was excellent coil spring independent front suspension and Daimler's own well-tried hydraulic transmission with pre-selector gearbox to semi-automatic gear changes. Powerful servo-assisted drum brakes were provided. In 1948 The Autocar tested a DE27 Limousine and was very impressed with this luxury carriage. It is a matter for enthusiastic surprise that this large, indeed vast, car should provide so high a degree of performance...at the same time providing driving and handling standards acceptable to anyone who takes delight in driving a good car fast. They approved too of the noble rear compartment, virtually a luxuriously appointed small room into and from which one steps with the greatest ease.
Bernard Freyburg was born in England in 1889 and as a child went with his family to New Zealand. He returned to Britain to enlist in the Royal Navy on the outbreak of war in 1914. Fighting in the trenches of Gallipoli and France, he won the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for courage in the face of the enemy. In a later war he commanded the New Zealand Army Division with distinction, subsequently becoming an admired Governor General of New Zealand. This Daimler DE27 was provided for his use on Vice Regal duties, serving until 1954. When Lord Freyburg retired as Governor-General, the Daimler was disposed of to a funeral director. Some time later it changed hands once more and was given an exhaustive eight year, body off restoration using only correct parts.
Described by the present vendor as, running like a clock, this distinguished and historic automobile is a survivor of only 16 DE27 Daimlers believed built, one of which was made for H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth. As always with custom built English luxury automobiles of this period, there is a wealth of fascinating detail throughout that underlines just how many hundreds of highly skilled hours were lavished on its construction. For the discerning luxury classic car enthusiast, this imposing Daimler is a possibly less costly alternative to the ubiquitous Rolls-Royce. There is a strong Daimler club; it is understood that many parts are still available.