1931 Daimler Double Six news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sport Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Corsica
Chassis Num: 30661
This Daimler Double Six carries chassis number 30661 and appears much different in modern times than it did when it was first constructed. This car has the only underslung rear end created on a Daimler Double Six. The original coachwork was by Thompson and Taylor who followed a design created by Reid Railton. The low-slung design required changes to the engine in order for it to fit properly. A new sump was fitted, the exhaust re-routed, and a new ignition installed.

The car rode on 23-inch wheels and used by Daimler on the show circuit. In 1929, it was given a drophead coupe body by Thrupp and Maberly. Its first potential owner was Captain Wilson, the creator of the Wilson preselector gearbox. History did not record if the car was load to Wilson as an experimental vehicle for his gearbox, or if it passed to his possession. Needless to say, the car has a Wilson preselector gearbox. The Daimler Double Six models that followed also were fitted with this gearbox.

In the early 1930s, the car returned to the factory's possession where it was given a fixed-head body. It was given registration number 'GP4831' on July 1st of 1931 and passed to a new owner.

The colorful history of the car continued, as the new owners were involved in an accident while trying to avoid oncoming traffic. The husband and wife were unharmed and the car required only minor repairs. After this experience, the wife was unwilling to ride in the vehicle, so the car was sold in its wrecked condition. The new owner had coachbuilder Corsica modify the car to accommodate four passengers, and drop-top configuration. The car has retained this configuration in modern times.

The car passed through two more owners, before entering the possession of the Burnett family in 1963. The family kept the car for over forty years, before selling to RM Classic Cars in 2004. RM secured a buyer for the vehicle, who commissioned a thorough restoration. It is believed that the new owner, Mr. Lee, purchased the car for around five or six-million dollars. A steep price, but one that proved to be worthwhile. The restoration was done in time for the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Mr. Lee has been a faithful supporter and entrant of the Pebble Beach Concours for many years. He has shown vehicles at the event for many decades, though he had never won top honors. His fortunes changed when he rolled the car onto the concours lawn and it was instantly clear that this would be a top contender for the coveted, Best of Show. The judges agreed, and bestowed upon the car the highest honors in the country, and possible the world. It was named 'Best of Show' at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007

The Beginnings

The British based automobile producer, Daimler Motor Car Company, was based in Coventry and has origins dating back to 1896. In 1893, Frederick Simms purchased the patent rights to the Gottlieb Daimler's engine, and formed a company named the 'Daimler Motor Syndicate.' Daimler, a German engineer, had patented an engine design and worked closely with Wilhelm Maybach to create the first motorcycle in 1885. Their first four-wheeled car was created a few years later, in 1889. They later formed the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, also known as DMG or Daimler Motor Company.

The Daimler Motor Company, based in Cannstatt, would continue in business until 1926. The company relocated to Stuttgart-Untertürkheim in 1903; Daimler had passed away in 1900 and a fire had destroyed the original factory a short time later. During the early years of the company, they produced petrol engines and sold the rights and patents for use of these engines. They dabbled in the creation of racing cars and enjoyed much success. This lead to the production of the Mercedes model in 1902. From this point, automobile production became their main business and they offered a variety of models over the years.

In 1926, DMG merged with Benz & Cie, and formed Daimler-Benz and used Mercedes-Benz as its trademark automobile. In 1998, a merger with Chrysler created the DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

The early years of automobile production was very uncertain. Public opinion about motorized vehicles were mixed, with many fearing the contraptions. They were loud, noise, dirty, smoky, and at times, unpredictable. They often spooked the live-stock and sent horse-drawn carriages into chaos. In Britain, they solved this problem by requiring each motorized vehicle to be escorted by a person on foot, who would wave a bright red flag and warn all those in its path of its arrival. This would give ample time to prepare for the noisy contraptions and to secure their livestock. This did little to promote the use of motorized car.

Mr. Simms held onto his patent rights for only a short while, before selling in 1896 to Harry Lawson, who formed the 'Daimler Motor Company' in the city of Coventry. This, of course, causes confusion as there were two companies with the name, Daimler. The license to use the name 'Daimler' was sold to a number of countries, which adds another degree of confusion. To help alleviate this confusion, the name 'Mercedes' was used by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft for the cars that they produced after 1902. 1908 was the final year that the name 'Daimler' was used on a German built car.

British based Daimler
The British based Daimler Company is Britain's oldest marque. The cars they built were powered by German engines with chassis designs very similar to those of Panhard & Lavasseur. The Daimler cars immediately appealed to the wealthy, Royalty, and the socially elite. Their chassis platforms were appropriate for the finest of coachwork and capable of satisfying the demands of their elite group of clientele. They would continue this stately business for many years, with little competition from other British marques, until Rolls-Royce came onto the scene.

In 1908, Daimler acquired a license for the Knight engine which featured sleeve valves and allowed the engine to operate in a much quieter fashion. This technology was in use by several United States automobile makers, though the high-cost of production limited it to mainly high-end automobile production. The quiet operation was made possible by using a sliding valve to operate the intake and exhaust ports. The valves required lots of lubrication which often resulted in smoke. The popular alternative to the sleeve valve was a camshaft actuated valve which rattled and created noise.

Daimler's line-up of vehicles consisted of six-cylinder engines until the mid-1920s, when the Double Six came onto the scene. It was designed by their chief engineer, Laurence H. Pomeroy. It used a similar design to the six-cylinder engine, which consisted of two-sets of three cylinders. The Double Six engine was basically two six-cylinder engines in vee-configuration with each bank having their own intake, exhaust and ignition system. Pomeroy used a new aluminum crankcase and modified the sleeve-valve design. The oil consumption of the sleeve-valve was reduced by replacing the cast-iron valves with steel, and forming them to have a better fit. The result was a twelve-cylinder engine capable of producing an impressive 150 horsepower.

In 1926, Daimler introduced their Double Six which remained in production until the mid-1930s. During that time, only a limited number of examples were created. At most, there were seventy-five created, with as few as a one-third of that estimate. All were unique and tailed to the customer's requests, including the displacement size of the engine. Some were two-doors, others had four. They were very popular with royalty, including King George of Britain who ordered two limousine examples, both had seating for seven.

The elegant bodies rode atop of a steel ladder frame chassis which varied in length depending on the customers requests. The body configurations favored luxury, but some were sporty including a number of drop-top models. One unique example, designed by Reid Railton and built by Thompson and Taylor, had a low, underslung rear end.

The early models were known as the 50 and 30, which was in reference to their displacement size. The 50 had a 7136cc displacement size while the 30 feature a 3477cc size. These were replaced in the early 1930s by the 30/40 and the 40/50. The 30/40 had a 5.3-liter engine and the 40/50 displaced 6.5 liters. Improvements continued throughout the years, including to the lubrication system and a new gearbox, a preselector unit.

Production continued until 1935, though a final example was created in 1937 to use up surplus supplies.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
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DB 18
Double Six

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