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Homepage. This page: V8-engined version of the Daimler Majestic, and also the long-wheelbase DR450 Limousine version.

The 4.5 Daimler Majestic Major V8 saloon.

Firstly, an old colour photo dating to early 1969, and showing one of my favourite classics, the Majestic Major, from Daimler. Despite its understated demeanour, this handsome old girl had a superb, Edward Turner-designed, V8 hemi of some 4.5 litres hiding under the bonnet. The ooommphh from this engine was sufficient to propel the Major to speeds topping 120mph, and was quite a departure for Daimler, who hitherto had stuck with producing quality, stately, but not overly thrilling, saloons up until this point.
The Major entered production in 1960, 1959 already having seen the launch of the SP250 sports, a two seater that featured another new V8 engine, smaller in capacity, and one that would go on to also featured in the 250 V8 (Mk2 Jaguar shape Daimler) in 1962.
The Major was based on the six cylinder Daimler Majestic 101, and looked similar to the smaller-engined version. Up front, the only real identifier for the Major was a 'V' cast into the front grilles, hinting at the V engine burbling away beneath it's skin. Around the back, the boot area was different in profile. Many years ago I stumbled across a pair of semi-derelict Majestics, one a standard 3.8 litre car, and the other a 4.5 litre Majestic. Both were rather rusty, although much of the interior, and the folding picnic tables set into the rear of the front seats, were like new.
Daimler Majestic Major
The Majestic Major was launched in 1960, and sold alongside the smaller car. The block was made in cast iron, with the heads in alloy, enabling it to weigh somewhat less than the slower car's older engine. Power output for the V8 Daimler was quoted as 220bhp, quite a figure in 1959. Unlike smaller Daimlers, such as the Conquest for instance, transmission came via a Borg Warner auto gearbox, as opposed to a pre-selector 'box. Production of the Majestic Major ended in 1968, by which time Daimler was now part of Jaguar, the latter being underwhelmed at the stately Daimler offering more pace than their own uber-saloon, the Mk10/420G.
If the 'standard' Major was a bit on the tight side inside (hard to imagine), then a stretched limousine variant also became available, model code DR450, and sold well alongside the normal version. The car shown here is registered 510 SFK, a Worcester number. There is no sign of this car on the DVLA database, so sadly it has probably gone the way of most big old limos, to the car dealership in the sky. This one looks particularly grubby, and the angle of the front bumper suggests that it may have made contact with something solid, although is that an Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) badge on the front grille, left hand side?
Many other interesting cars can be seen in the car park behind the Daimler. Parked behind, dwarfed somewhat by the Majestic, is a Hillman Imp, with not one but two Triumph Herald estates seen behind. A VW Beetle is to the extreme right, the only foreign car that I can make out. From the left, is a Jaguar Mk2, a Hillman Hunter or Minx, a P6 Rover 2000, and a BMC Farina. In the background are some old factory buildings, with a clock tower (time: 12:15pm) with the company name H.A. Saunders on it.

Next, the Daimler Majestic Major DR450 limousine.

Jim kindly sent over the following DR450 photographs, the first shows two of the DR450 Majestic Major Limousines that his family firm, Bowers, ran back in the 1960s. In all they had eight examples, shown here are 702 CWJ and 703 CWJ. One of their other Majors was a hearse version, registration 701 CWJ. Do many of these Daimlers survive?
Two Daimler Majestic Major Limousines - DR450
Jim adds: "A little anecdote for you. Towards the end of their service with us we were supplying four Daimlers for a funeral close to Junction 29 of the M1. One was to join us at the address, from a previous engagement close to Junction 28. Naturally he used the M1. I overheard the driver of that car say to the others "These cars WILL do 120mph. I've just done it!" I chose to act deaf.
He must have been a braver man than me because the brakes, which were a strange mix of Dunlop front discs, rear discs with footbrake pads and a seperate set of mechanically operated pads for the handbrake, with Girling Master Cylinder and Lockheed Servo, and were ABYSMAL. None were capable of passing foot or handbrake tests of the MOT within a week or two of having every possible attention done to them. And then ONLY JUST! If the engine stopped they were virtually non-existent. There was insufficient space to fit a bigger servo. The hand brake was extremely dodgy and would not hold effectively on steep hills. Outside one church on a hill about 1 in 5 a handbrake did not hold (car empty). The parking pawl, which was engaged, SNAPPED OFF. That was the end of Daimler registered ABC 90 B".

More photos of the DR450 limousines.

In late 2009 Jim sent over a CD containing many photographs taken of Bower's vehicles, including the following extra pictures of the family's DR450 Limousines. As time goes by, other vehicles from the company's fleet will be added to the site. First of these new photos shows DR450 reg. 703 CWJ with Austin A125 Sheerline reg. EHE 1.
A Daimler DR450 with Austin Sheerline for company
The next group of images shows three DR450s lined up outside a church, Bowers offering an undertaking service alongside their other car hire operations.
Three Daimlers at a church
A closer look at one of the Daimlers
Bowers' Daimlers on funeral duty
Next, a colour photo of a silver Daimler DR450 outside the Bower's premises. By now the cars were sporting newer reflective numberplates, compared to the pressed aluminium, silver on black, type fitted previously. Note the Seagull (of Blackpool) coach parked in front of the Majestic.
Rear view of a Daimler Majestic DR450 limo
Finally in this set, a collage of other early colour images all featuring the firm's Daimlers, including one sadly bent example.
More old Daimler photographs

A Daimler DR450 being loaded onto a car train.

In 2009 the following two photographs turned up. At first I assumed that they showed a V8 Majestic Major, but a closer look at the side view confirms that 510 FGK was another example of the DR450 limousine. It is seen here being loaded into a British Railways car train carriage. As with the Mk10 Jaguar photo that also appears on the site being driven into such a carriage, it must have been tight for the driver to exit the car!
A Daimler DR450
Side view of the Daimler DR450
Return to the old transport photos - Page 5.

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