2021 Shannons Autumn Timed Online Auction

1951 Daimler DB18 Special Sports





Engine In-line 6-cylinder, 2522cc
Gearbox 4-speed pre-selector
Body Work Drophead Coupe
Colour Black & Cream
Interior Beige
Trim Leather
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Drums


This lot is no longer available

With a long and proud tradition of building some of the finest cars in Britain, The Daimler Company Limited was founded in 1896 and enjoyed the patronage of the Royal Family for the first half of the 20th Century.  Alongside its big straight eights, Daimler began building a series of smaller, more affordable models, starting with medium sized Fifteen of September 1932, the first design to break away from the previous sleeve-valve technology in over two decades.  Powered by a six-cylinder engine initially displacing 1806cc, Daimler enlarged the six to 2522cc in 1938 and the revised model was officially known as the DB18 the following year.  Daimler entered the post-war era with a line-up largely unchanged from 1940, having turned to military production during World War II, primarily building Scout and Armoured Cars.  Daimler introduced a rationalised range under Sir Bernard Docker’s control consisting of the 2.5-litre Fifteen (DB18), the 4.1-litre six-cylinder DE27 and flagship straight-eight DE36.  Offered for sale from February 1946, the DB18’s engine had undergone a number of modifications, including a new cylinder head derived from the Dingo Scout Car, and power rose accordingly.  The DB18 was initially only available as a saloon, although a variety of coachbuilders produced different body styles, including the likes of Hooper and Salmons.  Catalogued as a separate model between 1948 and 1952, the Barker Drophead Coupe featured attractive, flowing lines enhanced by two-tone paintwork.  Formed in aluminium with steel wings, the Barker Special Sports came with a fully lined cloth hood and unusual seating arrangement, with the rear passenger placed sideways.  More power was extracted from the engine by replacing the single carburettor with twin SUs and 7 to 1 compression ratio, giving 85 bhp at 4200 rpm and a maximum torque of 116 lb/ft at 2200 rpm.  Top speed of the Barker Special Sports was somewhere in the region of 80-85 mph, a big improvement over the DB18 Saloon, but the high price of around 2,560 Pounds made the open-topped derivative a lot more exclusive, with just 500 built in total.  Today, these elegant Daimlers are an attractive proposition for the enthusiast of high quality, coachbuilt British luxury cars and a great alternative to rivals from Bentley, Lagonda and Alvis.