It's Got a Hemi - Daimler Dart SP250
If you think Chrysler had the only Hemi engine in the 1950s, it's time for a history lesson.
Daimler Motor Cars Limited, a proud old British car building company with roots dating to the
1890s, built not one, but two Hemi engines. Spurred on by a management change that was a
little more performance oriented, Daimler engineer Edward Turner designed lightweight 2.5
and 4.5 Litre V8 engines. The larger version powered the limos and other large body cars in
the Daimler fleet, while the 2.4, 140-HP Hemi was stuffed in their sports car.
manufactured through 1964, It's a
fiberglass bodied roadster with a 92-inch
wheelbase and weight of just under 2,100
lbs. Four wheel disc brakes were standard
equipment. Top speed was listed as 120
MPH, but at speed the body flexed so much
that the doors would often pop open. The
problem was fixed in 1960 when Jaguar
acquired the Daimler company and added
after introduction under threat from Chrysler.
The new designation was SP250. A total of
2,645 cars were produced during the five-year
run. About half were outfitted with left hand
drive and were sold in North America.
About 30 SP250s were painted black and
equipped with Borg-Warner automatic
transmissions for use by the British Metropolitan
Optional equipment included wire wheels,
adjustable steering column, hard top, front and
rear bumpers, heater, fog lights and seat belts.
Jaguar built a prototype SP252 to replace the
SP250. It had a sleeker body style, but it never
went into production. Why would they want to
compete with their own XKE?
The 1963 model shown here includes many of
the upgrades that were optional on previous