Lot 182

1908 Daimler 48 HP Manchester Phaeton

Coachwork by Daimler Coachworks

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SOLD $582,500


$600,000 - $750,000





Car Highlights

Fascinating Documented Provenance from New

Original Elegant Roi des Belges Coachwork

Fully Restored from 2009–2014 for the Current Owner

Award-Winner at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Featured in Many Films Including The Shooting Party (1984) and Howards End (1992)

The Only Surviving Daimler 48 HP

Technical Specs

9,235 CC 4-Cylinder Sleeve-Valve Engine with Hemispherical Heads

Single Daimler Updraft Carburetor

48 HP

4-Speed Manual Transaxle with Direct Drive and Dual-Enclosed Chain Drive

Contracting Brakes on Rear Wheels and Transaxle

Front and Rear Axles with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

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Established in 1897, Daimler of Coventry quickly established a reputation for quality and reliability, heightened by a Daimler becoming the first motorcar to traverse Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Following the purchase of a 6 hp Daimler by King Edward VII in 1900, the company enjoyed a long association with England’s Royal Family.

Seeking the ultimate in refinement, Daimler began experimenting in 1908 with the sleeve-valve engine pioneered by American Charles Knight. Acclaimed for near-silent operation, various Knight-type engines were used by Daimler through 1933. The Knight engine and Daimler’s development processes were detailed in the October 1, 1908 edition of Commercial Motor, a publication to which Mr. Birtwistle, the first owner of this imposing Daimler, contributed articles. A wealthy cotton-spinning magnate and owner of the Billinge Scar estate near Preston in Blackburn Lancashire, Mr. Birtwistle was an enthusiastic and influential early motorist. His incredible stable of cars included the finest machinery money could buy. In addition to this double-chain-drive Daimler, his impressive stable also housed a Mercedes 60 HP, the car that now resides in The Keller collection. Interestingly, this Daimler may have been a factory development vehicle, with its 9.2-liter engine marked “X” in several places. During research at the Benson Ford Research Center and within the Henry Austin Clark Jr. Photograph Collection, a photo was found of this Daimler with the notation, “This Daimler is thought to have been an earlier side valve model returned to the factory by the original owner to be fitted with a Sleeve Valve engine.”

During the mid-1930s, the Birtwistle car collection, including the Mercedes 60 HP and this Daimler, was purchased by the Bradshaw family, local motor dealers. Two photographs on file depict the Daimler at the Bradshaw family’s business premises, Motor Traders Disposal Board, Ltd., adorned with its registration plate CK9. The grand Daimler drew a great deal of attention for its prodigious power and achievement of a Special Award in the Prewar Class of the inaugural VSCC Welsh Rally held March 25–26, 1937, with John Bradshaw driving. A photograph of the Daimler was published in the April 1937 edition of Motor Sport magazine and reprinted in the December 1979 issue, with the vehicle clearly enjoyed by several VSCC committee members and Kent Karslake, who glowingly wrote of the Daimler in his “Veteran Types” column. In 1939, The Glasgow Herald noted the Daimler’s participation in the 1939 Blackpool Rally noting its prewar fame having traveled an average of 76 mph during local speed trials and averaging 55 mph for hours on end.

The Bradshaws retained their beloved and well-known Daimler until 1979, when David Ryder Richardson, of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, acquired it. Carefully maintained and never restored under his ownership, the Daimler was enjoyed on tours and eventually used in films including The Shooting Party in 1984 and Howards End in 1992. Mr. Richardson submitted the Daimler for registration into VSCC events and received acceptance on November 17, 1989, which is included in the impressive historical dossier. Mr. Richardson retained the Daimler until 1997, when it was sold to William Haines Sr. of Canton, Ohio, before being purchased in 2002 by Alex McCommas of Tyler, Texas. In 2006, it was acquired by the current owner, who subsequently commissioned a total, concours-quality restoration. Following completion, the Daimler was invited to the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®; after completing the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance®, including a lap at Laguna Seca, the Daimler garnered Second in Class on Concours Sunday. Throughout its lifetime, the Daimler has proven itself a very capable and enjoyable Edwardian touring machine and with its many fine details and brass accoutrements, this extremely rare and powerful tourer now stands ready for its next caretaker to continue its rich history.


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