Lot 183 - 1961 Daimler SP250 ‘Ex-Metropolitan Police’
|Odometer reading||93,283 miles|
|Result||Sold - £24,024|
- An original ex-Metropolitan police Daimler SP250
- One of only 26 Daimler’s supplied to the Metropolitan police
- Supplied with its original buff logbook
In the late 1950s, the Metropolitan police had a major problem with café racer motorcyclists. Groups of youths on motorbikes would gather together at a local café, put a record on the jukebox and then race their bikes along a set course getting back to the café before the record had stopped playing. Accidents occurred and in an attempt to put a stop to the practice, the Met’s proposal was to have a fast car that could actually catch the bikers. The existing fleet of Wolseley saloons was not up to the task so they looked instead at sports cars. The Daimler SP250 (Dart) was the answer! This had a 2.5 litre lightweight V8 engine and was capable of 125mph and 0-60 in 10 seconds, which for 1959 was remarkable. The Met bought 26 Darts between 1961 and 1964 and soon got them into service to be used as high-speed pursuit cars based at separate Traffic Garages situated over the London area. The results were impressive with many speeding bikers being caught and the number of fatal road accidents dropped. Unlike today, the idea then was that you see a police car and thereby slow down...no stealth tactics for these boys.
Borg-Warner Model 8 three-speed automatic cars destined for police use, like the one offered here, were modified by Daimler with the fitting of a handle in the centre of the dashboard which, when pulled, locks the gearbox into second gear allowing a speed range from 0-85mph in a single gear. The gearbox normally runs in two gears only, with a ‘low’ ratio for manual selection if required and the slightly higher gearing resulted in an increased top speed compared to manual gearbox cars. The Metropolitan police found this to be better for town work and high-speed chases, and it was also found to be more economical, avoiding the clutch wear that a manual car would develop with usage between 18 and 24 hours a day.
Traffic police in Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Southend and Surrey also used the SP250 for speed enforcement, as did police forces in Australia and New Zealand. After the opening of the first section of the M1 in 1959, the Bedfordshire police used the SP250 for motorway patrol prior to the arrival of the 70mph limit in 1965.
This example was registered with the Metropolitan police and was fitted with the optional Borg-Warner DG automatic gearbox, Bell and Pye radio equipment, and has more recently been fitted with wire wheels and upgraded servo brakes. Supplied with the car is its original buff logbook confirming the first owner to be the Metropolitan police, records of previous ownership, press cuttings, old MoT records, sundry bills, and a current MoT valid until January 2024. Previously this Daimler has been reviewed in several articles including Police Car UK and Classic and Sports Car magazine. This Daimler is a must for any collector and offered without reserve this is a rare opportunity not to be missed.
Guide price £40,000 - £60,000.
Previous lotLot 182 - 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom VII
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.