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Daimler DB18 DHC Barker Coachwork


Herman Deroost


The Daimler Eighteen or Daimler DB18, was a 2.5-litre version of the preceding 2.2-liter New Fifteen introduced in 1937. Using the engine developed for the Daimler Scout Car, it was offered to customers from 1939 onward as a six-cylinder chassis on which Daimler and various British coach builders offered a range of bodies styles. The new model was introduced immediately before the start of the Second World War, during which the company was compelled to end production and concentrate on the manufacture of military vehicles. Therefore most DB18s were produced after 1945.

When production resumed after the war, the model was generally known as the Daimler 2.5-litre until Daimler adopted the North American habit of giving their cars names and a slightly updated version of the car was introduced in October of 1948 at the London Motor Show “principally for export” and branded as the Daimler Consort. The updates included the integration of the firewall into the body rather than it being part of the chassis, a move from rod operated mechanical brakes to a Girling-Bendix hydraulic front and a rod operated rear system. On the outside, the headlamps were incorporated into the front fenders, a more curved radiator grille replaced the prior straight-style grille.

The car used a 2,522 cc in-line six-cylinder, pushrod ohv engine fed by a single SU carburetor. Throughout its life, 70 brake horsepower was claimed, though a change in the gearing in 1950 was marked by an increase in maximum speed from 76 miles per hour to 82 miles per hour for the saloon, while the acceleration time from 0 to 50 miles per hour improved from 17.9 to 16.9 seconds. By the standards of the time the car was faster than it looked.The car was supplied with the Daimler Fluid Flywheel coupled to a 4-speed Wilson Pre-Selector gearbox. The independent front suspension used coil springs, while the back axle was suspended using a traditional semi-elliptical set-up. The chassis was “underslung” at the rear with the main chassis members passing below the rear axle. In mid-1950 the restricted ground clearance was improved by the adoption of a conventional hypoid bevel drive to the rear axle replacing the traditional Daimler underslung worm drive which had hampered sales outside Britain.

Although offered originally as a chassis only model, Daimler built some of their own bodies during the post war years, the most common being a four-door saloon. The interior was fitted with traditional British ‘good taste’ using mat leather and polished wood fillets. In addition to the four door saloon, which comprised of the bulk of the production, a few drop head coupes and other, more sportier, body styles were produced as well. In 1939, Winston Churchill commissioned a drophead coupe on a DB18 chassis which he used to campaign both the 1944 and 1948 general elections. Although rarely seen today, Daimler’s sales records were respectable with 3,355 Daimler 2.5-litres produced and 4,250 Consorts The DB18s became a popular car among the wealthy in India with over 100 cars were ordered mainly by the Maharaja’s in India and an additional dozen ordered by Royalty in Ceylon and Burma.

The Daimler DB18 was produced from 1948 through 1953 with a total of 608 examples being created.

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