Daimler DS420


It was once said: “the aristocracy buy Daimlers, the nouveau riche buy Rolls-Royce”.

As a massive Rolls Royce fan I’m inclined to disagree, but I do agree that when it came to buying luxury cars when hitting the jackpot, the Daimler wasn’t exactly everyone’s first choice, which is something I can’t understand why.

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An immaculate DS420 in a lovely shade of dark blue.

It can be said that their cars were just as luxury and capable as even the most top range machines Rolls Royce and Bentley could produce, and for Daimler, nothing topped their crowning achievement, the DS420.

The Daimler DS420 first entered production in 1968, being based on the chassis of the Jaguar Mk.X and being powered by a 4.2L Jaguar Straight-6 engine. The car was built largely to replace the earlier Daimler DR450, but also had a hand in seeing off the Vanden Plas Princess, and luxury version of the Austin Princess.

More often than not, the DS420 finds itself in the role of a hearse, due largely to its ease of maintenance and comparatively cheap purchase cost.

At the time of production Jaguar had just been nationalised into British Leyland, and by extension Daimler, which had been under ownership of the company since 1960. The DS420 was styled internally by the folks at Vanden Plas, who created probably the highest luxury car British Leyland had to offer, indeed locking horns with the Rollers of the day.

So beautiful and sleek was this machine that it made its way into the State Households of many European governments, including the British, Danish and Swedish Royal Houses.

But even though this car was truly magnificent, it never truly took off in the numbers that Rolls Royces were. Although bought off by aristocratic families and certain wealthy

A DS420 in the employ of a wedding company, seen sat next to its arch nemesis, a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.

business executives, most of these cars found their way into the trade of Wedding Limousines, Hotel Transfer cars and, most prominently, Hearses.

Even so, the car did soldier on through the dark days of British Leyland, escaping the shoddy workmanship and striking unions that surrounded it, and managed to finish production in 1992 with 4,100 members built.

This one however is a truly fantastic example of one of these few remaining cars in motion. Although you may see a few still in the care of European Royal Families, private ones are very rare indeed. But the ones that continue to exist in private car will usually look as immaculate as this.

Or, if you’re really desperate, invite yourself to someone’s wedding, chances are one will show up there!