Big End, Winter 2008 Magazine for the Gay Classic Car Group It is good to have a second, updated and greatly improved edition of Brian Long's seminal work for Veloce of the development of Daimler's quirky and engaging sports car the SP250. I know that some of our members own or have owned one of these pocket rockets, myself included, so they should be delighted to read this handsome 192-page hardbound history. I also commend this book to a wider audience interested in both the development of this model and the Daimler version of Jaguar's successful Mk II saloon (which I've also owned), and of the fascinating tale of a struggling automotive pioneer in a rapidly changing post-war climate. There's a misnomer that the shockingly radical SP250 was a last throw of the dice but nothing could be further from the truth. Daimler was only too aware that it was losing ground at both the luxury end of the market and in its wider appeal to the emerging middle-class mass market. Stuck with an ultra-conservative image, despite the very best, if wacky, attempts of Norah, Lady Docker with her outrageous Motor Show spectaculars, Daimler decided that it badly needed to boost sales. They engaged Edward Turner, the designer of the famous vertical-twin Triumph motorcycle engine and by then MD of the BSA Automotive Division which included Daimler, to devise a whole new family of modern, more profitable middle-range saloons. In the event the engine proved the easiest part of the equation to solve because Turner had, in essence, scaled-up, his beautifully-balanced motor-cycle engine as early as 1956 - and I'm pleased he gave due acknowledgement about its 'classic valve layout to Riley - but they had no saloon nearly ready enough to put it in. A merciful release, perhaps, in retrospect because the Daimler team dabbled with all sorts of strange pseudo-American looking devices including one based on Vauxhall's PA Cresta - a poorly engineered and rust-prone car that would have done n
About the Author
Born in Coventry, the heart of Britain's motor industry, Brian Long is a professional writer with a passion for vintage and racing machinery. A trained mechanical engineer, he worked at his father's garage before becoming heavily involved in the classic car scene at the age of 19. Brian is nowadays a full-time writer, with over 40 books to his credit. Married to Miho, and with two children (Louis and Sophie-Mercedes), Brian now lives just outside Tokyo.