DAIMLER SP250: The scuttle-shake sports car that helped scuttle Daimler

03 August 2018
This was among the most common views of the Daimler SP250: it’s a British police car!

Arguably, Daimler’s first and only sports car was one of the company’s two or three most important postwar vehicles. The V8-powered fibreglass SP250 made its public debut in the US on 4 April 1959 as the Daimler Dart. On one level launching the car in North America made absolute sense because Daimler management believed that this would be its largest market. But it was a disappointing car in some respects and the naivity of the company’s bosses almost beggars belief. Did none of them read American motoring magazines or even popular magazines such as Look? No-one had an inkling about the Dodge Dart and the obvious corollary that Chrysler held rights to the name.

This was the first problem. The car was hastily renamed ‘SP250’ after its chassis designation, ‘SP’ for Sports and ‘250’ denoting the capacity of its superb new compact V8 engine and Dodge’s Dart remained uniquely designated.