19th Oct, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

Lot 53

1949 Daimler DB18 2 ½ Litre Foursome Drophead Coupe
Coachwork by Barker & Co. Ltd


(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: LHU 916
Chassis No: D01852515
MOT: Exempt

  • Single family ownership from new
  • Highly-original, maintained regardless of cost and pleasantly patinated
  • Factory correspondence dating back to 1949
  • The subject of a comprehensive restoration during 1971
  • Specified when new with a unique chrome-plated radiator grille

Writing of Daimler's DB18 in 1947, the Autocar said: - "The Daimler 2 1/2 litre displays an unusual blend of qualities. On the one hand it offers the comfort and refinement which is expected of a car carrying the fluted Daimler radiator. On the other hand, it provides the lively performance and responsive controls which are more often associated with the best products of continental factories".

The standard saloon was expensively priced at 1,977 including purchase tax, with the drophead coupe significantly more expensive still. The engine was the well-tried 2 1/2 litre unit introduced pre-war in the Daimler 15 and the chassis likewise was largely unchanged. A redesigned cylinder head was employed and the db18 featured the popular pre-selector gearbox while automatic chassis lubrication was a further refinement. Both Barker and Tickford were to design and build elegant 'foursome' drophead coupes on this chassis using traditional coachbuilding methods and the 1949 models still retained the distinctive separate chrome headlamps. The 'foursome' drophead coupe bridged the gap between the customer requiring a formal four-door saloon for practical purposes but perhaps desiring the 2 1/2 litre two-seater special sports model. On test in 1947, the DB18 developed 70bhp, achieved a commendable top speed in saloon form of 72.2mph and recorded fuel consumption of 22mpg.

Supplied new to Bristolian entrepreneur Norman Ricketts of Tellisford House and registered in the name of his company 'Consortium Property Holdings', 'LHU 916' has remained in single family ownership for some 73 years, following bequeathal to his son Maurice in 2010. Offered with factory correspondence dating back to the late 1940s, other paperwork on file includes letters from secretaries and a chauffeur, along with the car's green folding logbook from 1971. Invoices on file show a comprehensive restoration was undertaken by WM Jones and Bence Ltd over a twelve month period (during 1970-1971). Almost two decades later, the car was treated a replacement gearbox at around the 90,000 mile mark, which is backed up by a selection of MOT certificates dating back to 1971.

Starting, driving and remaining un-temperamental during our recent photography session, the vendor states that 'LHU 916' has recently completed some long-distance journeys to the South Coast without issue and is ready to be used and enjoyed by the purchaser. Perhaps suitable for preservation-class events, this droptop Daimler does feature wonderfully patinated paintwork and wear to the interior commensurate with age and could be sympathetically restored at the discretion of the purchaser (but hopefully left as-is). Described by our vendor as "Good" with regard to its bodywork, paintwork, engine, electrical equipment, transmission and interior trim, this Barker-bodied Drophead Coupe offers an affordable route into open-top British touring, for a fraction of the price of the DB18 'Special Sports' models of the same period.

For more information, please contact:
Adam Sykes
07429 600332


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 19th Oct, 2022

An auction of classic & collector motorcars


Tuesday 18th October 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 19th October 2022 from 9am
Additional viewing for lots 200-254 on Thursday 20th October 2022 from 9am

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