Thursday, August 24, 2017

Majestic: The Last Real British Daimler Saloon

From 1910 till 1960 the English Daimler Company was owned by BSA (Birmingham Small Arms).  Jaguar purchased Daimler the latter year and eventually Daimler cars featured facelifted Jaguar bodies.  For many decades Daimler cars were the favored automobiles of the Royal Family.

So far as I am concerned, the last real Daimler saloons (sedans) were the Majestic (built 1958-1962) and the Majestic Major, (built 1960-1968 with a more powerful motor).  Altogether, around 2,700 Majestics were made.

As can be seen in the images below, styling was the usual clumsy British blend of classic prewar English design and hints of postwar American styling features.

For luxury cars, the Daimler Majestics were surprisingly small by contemporary American standards.  Their wheelbase was 114 inches (2900 mm) and overall length 196 to 202 inches (5000 - 5100 mm).  To put this in context for American readers, General Motors' 1955 entry-level brand Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe had a wheelbase of 115 inches (1921 mm) and length of 195.6 inches (4968 mm) -- about the same as the Majestics.


1964 left-hand steering Daimler Majestic Major, Hyman Ltd. photo).

Daimler Majestic with two-tone paint scheme.  Its vertical grille is a slightly curved version of classical Daimler grilles.  The front fenders fade into the front doors, similar to 1942 Packard Clippers and postwar Chryslers.  There is no separate rear fender, only a slab side.

Probably the same car.  The passenger compartment greenhouse is a six-window affair.  Stubby looking, its height makes the windows seem even a bit more cramped than they actually are.

For comparison, here is a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan with about the same wheelbase and length.  Its greenhouse is similar in length to the Daimler's, but being less tall, it has a sleeker appearance.

Another Majestic Major.  The chrome strip used to delimit two-tone paint areas is retained on monochrome cars.

View of a Majestic major's ponderous -- though practical for long-distance touring -- trunk (boot).  More awkwardness.  And the tail light ensemble is fussy.  H&H Auctions photo.

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