I started supplying parts for the Daimler SP250 in 1972 and continued to do so as a hobby alongside my regular employment until I retired in 2009 since when it has kept me busy.
It all began when I became the Secretary of the SP Section in the Daimler and Lanchester Owners Club as part of the job was to write a monthly article for the “Driving Member” which led to many enquiries from members seeking parts. I used to advise them to use their local Daimler distributor as in those days parts were freely available though few garages stocked very much and would only order them if one paid in advance. After a certain amount of pressure I started to offer to obtain the parts for owners if they were having difficulty which led me to visiting Stratstone in Brixton Hill almost on a daily basis and they started giving me a discount.
I found it rather annoying when owners complained about waiting four or five days before the parts they wanted were available so I began to order a couple extra each time to build up a small stock, well like Topsy it just grew and grew. I knew very little about the SP or the parts of which it consisted when I started but I soon learnt!
Today I can usually supply from stock anything that is currently available for the SP250. Many parts are still available from a variety of sources, some are common to other makes and models, but an ever growing number have to be re-manufactured. I was very fortunate to buy a large quantity of parts (7 tons) from the Daimler stores at Bagington when they were scrapping most of the old stock as they wanted the space for the new TR7 stock. I was also very lucky at about the same time for Daimler gave me permission to re-manufacture any item that was no longer available and access to a number of the original suppliers. I was able to use these suppliers and obtain the original tooling from them when they closed down. I was also able to secure a number of original drawings which has proved extremely useful. I have parts made in India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Germany, but the majority are made in the UK.
REASON FOR INTEREST
I purchased my first SP250 in 1969 from the father of a girl friend for £350 after my fiancee complained that the Jaguar 2.4 Mk II I owned was too flashy. The car had been laid up in a garage in Brighton for several years and naively I purchased it as it stood covered in dust, straw, and empty boxes but it had a low mileage and seemed to be in good condition. My father towed me home straight to Page Motors in Epsom where it was brought back to life as my ability to work on a car was limited in those days.
I soon got used to it and began to really enjoy using the car on a daily basis on my commute to work in Clapham Junction. Of course I joined the DLOC and started going to the local SP monthly meeting at the White Hart in Cobham that had recently been started by the then SP Section Secretary Neill Bruce (photographer of note). Neill then sold his car and persuaded me to take his place as I seemed very keen. Neill said – “It only involves writing an article for the “Driving Member” once a month – what could be easier”
Well, I took it on and began writing a monthly news which was mostly concerning my experiences with my Dart, events, and spares. Later I became more involved with the Club when I joined the Committee which led to me becoming General Secretary then the first Company Secretary as we progressed the club to Limited Liability status. By this time, after some ten years, I felt I had done my share and with a very young family decided it was time to return to obscurity.
I became interested in motor sport and began to attend hill climbs and sprints with owners Ian Slade, Chris Rose and Rob Bristow. I moved on to circuit racing and progressively improved the performance of YXB by fitting rack and pinion steering, a limited slip differential, anti tramp bars, 50% uprated rear dampers, Michelin TB15 tyres, and discarded the windscreen, heater, and window regulators to reduce weight.
The engine was bored out to +156 thou, balanced and rebuilt with forged pistons, an Isky camshaft and cam followers with 2” MM carburettors suitably needled. I enjoyed many years of historic racing even gaining pole position at Brands Hatch and leading the race for a few laps before dramatically spinning off the track after Clearways in a cloud of dust. I retired the car in 1984 when the engine needed a rebuild and a family car was a necessity.
I purchased SP 250 in the mid 70’s in a fairly clapped out state being on it’s second engine and having covered around 100,000 plus. It was taken off the road and after a long restoration carried out over a period of years it is now fairly presentable.