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The Daimler DE Register

The Daimler DE Register tries to maintain on behalf of the Daimler and Lanchester Owners Club an up-to-date database of all Daimler DE-types built. I am Peter Ruifrok ( e-mail DERegistrar@dloc.co.uk ) from the Netherlands and I am the DE Registrar since November 2002, after the sudden death of my predecessor. His files appeared not retrievable and I had to make a fresh start.

My four main sources to date have been "Daimler Days" by Brian Smith, John Hiscox and Mark Bearman in Australia and Christian Demler in Germany.  John Hiscox' contribution has been enormous and can not be underestimated. I am deeply indebted to him for the copies of his files supplied. Christian Demler has been compiling a data base on all Daimlers and Lanchesters since 1994 and I found in his files a number of very useful additions. In the meantime the database is growing, but the challenge is now to make and keep it up-to-date. The DLOC membership list is really not a good source, since members do not always state the ownership of a car when joining and they hardly ever inform the DLOC of a change of ownership.

Anybody owning a DE, knowing about one, scrapped, it doesn't really matter, please let him or her contact me. However, to be of value I need to know at least a chassis number or a body number. Owner details will be kept strictly confidential unless explicitly agreed otherwise.

My own car and how I got here!

The statistics up to now (for DE27, DH27 and DE36 together).

  • Originally 321 bodies were identified (this number is excluding any DC27's, but including the four experimental ambulances mentioned below), which basically means that somehow prove exists that the body actually has been made. However, two chassis were mentioned with two bodies each (one is the famous green goddess DE36 chassis 51233 and the reason for two bodies is described elsewhere; the other is DE36 chassis 52807 to which wrongly two different body numbers were assigned) and hence I have got only 319 different chassis records.

  • Out of the 319 chassis, we have 151 DE36's, 116 DE27's and 52 DH27's. There was however a debate about 2 DE36's. They are likely to be DE27's in disguise (chassis 51074, 51111). Chassis 51074 has now been confirmed as a DE27 (January 2017) and the statistics have been adapted accordingly.

  • 188 chassis have an (still existing?) owner. Names have been identified, but not all confirmed yet. This will require some phoning. They consist of 100 DE36's, 69 DE27's and 19 DH27's. Two experimental DE36 ambulances (see below) are included in these numbers.

  • Two chassis burnt out (51707 and 51709) and sixteen have been scrapped, are being scrapped or are probably not restorable (50010, 51098, 51158, 51193, 51221, 51273, 51230, 51238, 51345, 51702, 51715, 51754, 52824, 52929, 52934, 52946; all sixteen have above been counted as still having an owner. Also, 51707 and 51709 have been counted as still having an owner). Chassis 51161 has also been scrapped but has not been counted as having an owner.

  • Green Goddess chassis 51754 belonging to Jim Walters in Canada was destroyed in a fire early 2004 but is still included in the statistics.

  • A number of people appear to own two or three cars.

  • DH27's, which are specially built DE27's for Daimler Hire Ltd., were built on chassis number 52900 to 52950 inclusive, in total 51. Chassis 52950 is with a hearse body, the others are limousines. The factory also sanctioned chassis numbers 52951 to 52959 inclusive to DH27's, and for a long time it was thought that none had actually been built. However, I have now proof that at least #52959 was actually built. Also, #52959 is with a hearse body. Both hearses have a DE27 frontal appearance rather than a DH27 frontal appearance.

  • DE27's were built on chassis number 50000 to 50005 inclusive; 51040 to 51133 inclusive and 51250 to 51354 inclusive, although numbers sanctioned went up to 51699. It is not sure that all chassis actually have been built, so the maximum of 205 is only theoretical. DE27's usually carry one spare wheel in the boot, but chassis 50005 is unusual in that it carries one side-mounted spare wheel on the passenger side. Chassis 51292 is with a hearse body and a split front screen. Chassis 51063 is a normal hearse. Chassis 51328 which originally had Freestone&Webb body 1375 (see below) is now a special. Chassis 51304 is unusual in that the engine has one single Solex carburettor. Chassis 51317 has only one Stromberg model 42 carburettor.

  • DE36's were built on chassis number 50006 to 50011 inclusive; 51150 to 51243 inclusive; 51700 to 51759 inclusive and 52800 to 52855 inclusive.

Again it is not sure that all chassis have been built, so the maximum of 216 is again theoretical. In particular, 51750 to 51759 inclusive were allocated for left-hand drive cars, but according to "Daimler Days" it is improbable that any within this range were built.

However, three “Green Goddesses” (of which chassis numbers 51753 and 51754 are sure still to exist, and of which number 51752 probably has existed) fall within this range and are certainly left-hand-drive. Moreover, I know now that also #51751, #51755 and #51758 do exist. The first and the last are certainly LHD, the middle one probably is.

The factory also sanctioned chassis numbers 54950 to 54999 inclusive to left-hand-drive DE36's, but none were actually built.

Chassis 51150, 51193, 51221, 51230, 51243, 51726, 51736, 51738 and 52848 are with a hearse body;

Chassis 51235 and 51701 are invalid limousines by Lancefield Coachworks of London.

Chassis 51734 started as a hearse, but somewhere in history lost its body and is now being re-built as an open tourer.

Chassis 51226 also started life as a hearse but was converted in the 1970's to a DHC.

Chassis 51150 started as a hearse, but somewhere in its history was converted to an all-weather, be it not to Hooper standards, and is now in Spain.

Chassis 52816 started as a hearse but is now a roadster.

Chassis 51712 started life as a landaulette for the Royal Tour to New-Zealand (1953/54), but was converted into a hearse in 1955. It has been restored in 2004 in good running order as a hearse (see below) by the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland, New Zealand.

Chassis 51205 started as a hearse but is now being restored with Freestone&Webb body 1375 (this body was originally on DE27 chassis 51328).

Hearse chassis 51221 is being rebuilt as hill-climb boat-tail special in Germany.

Similarly, chassis 51728 started its life as a hearse but has now been rebuilt as a boat-tail special in the UK and is in running order.

  • In addition, apparently, four experimental ambulances were built. Two on the DE36 chassis with chassis numbers 50034 and 50035, which seem still around, and two on the DE27 chassis with chassis numbers 50032 and 50033, fate unknown.

  • Proper ambulances of the DC-type were built on chassis number 54000-54499. That is not to say, that 500 were built. Brian Long in his book “Daimler & Lanchester, a century of motoring history” quotes only batches of six per year from 1950-1954, a total of 30. In the information collected thus far, I have come across just 15 surviving bodies. Corgi Classics do for £ 25 a nice model scale 1:50. Mainly bodied by Barker, but some received bodies from Hooper. Very smooth ride at 8.5 mpg.

  • Theoretical survival percentages: DE36=46%; DE27=33%; DH27=37% or overall 39%. But in what state these are, is still unknown.

 

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A preliminary overview of the surviving bodies per country is below. See for details on Australia the web-site of the DLOC Australia branch (www.dlocaustralia.org).

Thus 154 different owners own 188 cars.

All cars in Sweden have now been identified, including a DE27 belonging to the Swedish Royal Family (chassis 51294). Also chassis 51055 has indeed been identified as a proper DE27, not disguised as a DE36 as elsewhere suggested. Until recently, there were a sixth and a seventh car in Sweden. Number six is the 1948 Earl's Court DE36, chassis 51236, and in good running order. Brian Smith's "Daimler Days" has a picture of this lovely limousine on page 703, where the chassis number is wrongly mentioned as 51256. It returned to the UK in May 2003, together with number seven, a hearse (chassis 51726 in restorable condition) and a Lanchester Doctor's coupé. In 2012 DE36 #52849 moved from France to Sweden which brought the number back to six.

DE36 landaulette chassis 51747 is still with its first owner, HM the King of Thailand, and is after a two year restoration in running order (December 2003). Also, the DE36 limousine chassis 51185, which belonged to Emperor Haile Selassie, is still with its first owner, the government of Ethiopia, and has survived in Addis Ababa with only 14,065 miles on the clock. The car, painted green on black, has been garaged in the palace mews since the revolution of 1975 and has still an illuminated Lion of Judah shield mounted on the roof, a flagstaff and the Emperor's crests on the rear doors. It cannot be moved as the tyres and the battery are flat. Apart from this, the car appears in good condition, although the driver's seat and the rear compartment, which is upholstered in West of England cloth, generally have a bit of wear. The log book is no longer available, as this was in the royal workshop during the revolution and was destroyed. However, all the royal cars luckily survived in the palace.

 

A similar situation exists in Afghanistan, where chassis 51727 once bought by the Afghan king still exists in the Afghan Kabul National museum.

 

There was also rumoured to be another DE36 in the USA, a landaulette with chassis 51152, which originally belonged to Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands and which turned up in an advert in 1997 heavily changed (LHD, power steering, Cadillac engine/gearbox/rear axle, power brakes, chrome wheels for modern tyres). This car has been found now (November 2003) and has been included in the above statistics.

Also in the USA might be chassis 51180, a DE36 limousine bodied by Windovers. This car was originally used for the Royal South Africa Tour but returned to London to the high commissioner for the Union of South Africa, who registered it in his name on 26/5/48 as JUC2. It was later re-registered as WLC885. After several successive ownerships, it ended up with Mr. Harold Lord who, in 1977, reported having it sold to a new owner in New York a few years beforehand. The car had no light-dipping mechanism.

Furthermore, Princess Grace of Monaco possessed 20 years ago, a DE 36, which was possibly the same as the one originally entered in 1952 for the Monte Carlo rally, at that time with registration LRW 376. ‘Daimler Days’ has a lovely picture on page 750. Our DF & DK Registrar, Chris Wiltshire, saw the car some 20 years ago in London with a Monaco registration number and converted to LHD, when he sold Princess Grace his DE 36 hearse for spares; she needed to replace a broken crankshaft. According to 'Daimler Days' chassis 51183 went straight to Monaco in November 1945 but it is unclear if this is the same car as LRW 376. It was originally suggested to me that #51183 was still in possession of the Royal Family of Monaco. The car was supposed to be on display in the classic car collection of the Palais Princier de Monaco. However, in March 2012 it became for sale from the current Italian owner, who has had the car since 1974. It was then already white (original colour: black). He abandoned the restoration and re-started in 1992, but abandoned again. He is now looking for a good home. I have a letter from Hooper to the previous Italian owner Francesco Zunini and the DVLA registration documents (from 1952!) with a Leicester history, which may suggest that the car went from Monaco to Leicester, then to a few other owners (all on the DVLA document) and then to Italy. 

 

There were three additional DE 36’s in France: 51758 in Nancy, 52838 in Gisors and 52849. Of this last one I didn’t know where precisely although it has an MC (meaning Monaco) country plate. I had hoped for further clues when I received an e-mail in October 2005, from someone living in Monaco who sent me a couple of pictures of a sorry looking DE 36 obviously taken outside a garage in Monaco and another e-mail in July 2009 from a different person with more pictures of the same car but in a different state of (dis)repair, but no further contact materialised until the car was sold in 2012 via an internet auction house to a new owner in Sweden.

Chassis 52849 has a Monaco connection as it is claimed to have belonged to Count d’Aspang (who was a member of the Monaco royal family). I did count all four DE36's as having an owner.

 

Then I have been told, that there is a DE27 in Austria, although my informant saw it for the last time a decade ago during a rally, be it in good driving condition. On the other hand, the same informant was only aware of two cars in Germany, a DE36 and a DH27. So this could be a case of a mistaken country. A German wedding organisation in Freiburg advertises both a DE36 and a DE27 on their web-site. They own the DE36, which is in running condition and now included in the statistics.

On YouTube there is a short movie of a DE27 arriving at the Museu da Tecnologia da Ultra em Canoas (Brazil) with registration number MYT 308. I got the link only in 2015 and the museum was apparently closed back in 2009. Without a confirmed owner, nor a chassis number, this DE27 is not (yet) in the statistics.

The burnt out DE36 chassis 51713 still exists somewhere in New Zealand, but I haven't got an owner, so is not included in the table. The missing owner in Chalk Hill, Bushey, Hertfordshire, with a DE36 standing outside for already more than 25 years, has now been identified and is in the statistics. Obviously a daunting restoration project. As would be the DE27 or DH27 with registration number KYV716 spotted in 1994 standing in a field somewhere out in the wilds of the countryside between Ludlow and Leominster.

Finally I saw in the fourth quarter of 2002 a DE36 advertised in various classic car magazines by Laughton Investments. This car has now been confirmed as the one sold to Malta (is in the above statistics with chassis 51192). The car was originally owned by Lord Shaftsbury and continued to be used by the family until 1980 and then laid up at their estate until 1999. It then changed hands to a new UK owner until it was sold to Malta in 2004. It then became for sale from Malta in 2011 and was sold to the current Lord of Shaftsbury in 2014 to be reunited with the estate. It is in good running order.

The DE36 in Belgium, chassis 52845, was picked up early 2003 from the DLOC forum website, and is not in good running condition, but very likely restorable. There is probably a third one in Belgium, but its chassis number is missing and hence must for the time being stay outside the statistics.

One DE27 in The Netherlands was a purely coincidental find: when visiting my children, who study in the city of Groningen in the North of my home country, I literally bumped into this DE27, which had been imported from the UK in 1984. In my files, it was a "lost" car, but it appeared in good running order and is regularly used for weddings. I recently found out that there exist another two cars in the Netherlands, a DE36 hearse and a DE27, both imported some 20 years ago from Belgium and both restorable. I am waiting for the chassis numbers. This second DE27 might now have been identified as the one that became suddenly for sale in the province of Zeeland in the autumn of 2012 (in good running condition) with chassis 51087.

In January 2004 I was contacted by someone from Madrid in Spain who was trying to convince a friend of his to start the restoration of a 1952 Daimler Straight Eight described as “similar to the one used by HM The Queen on her 1954 tour of Australia”. The allweather is being described as in good condition, but “changed in the back part”, as the rear was removed to add a third row of back seats. It sounds dreadful and I am anxiously awaiting more details. Apparently, this car started life as a hearse (chassis 51150).

Chassis 51751 in Peru only materialised in December 2004 after thought to be lost for many years. To improve exports this left hand drive DE36 limousine was built for the New York motor show in 1950; Brian Smith's “Daimler Days” has a nice picture on page 730. The first owner is unknown, but a wealthy Peruvian subsequently bought the car in the late fifties / early sixties at auction in the USA, and brought the car to Lima to be used as his chauffeur-driven limousine. In Peru the car changed hands twice, the second time only in December 2004 to the current owner. She has 22,000 miles on the clock and is in a reasonable condition after 25 years of dry storage. A restoration, which seems straight forward, is underway.

India deserves a few words in its own right. With its wealthy upper class and its UK connection it was logical that a few DE's ended up in this country. The most famous one was HH the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. He bought within a small time frame four Daimler DE27's. Chassis 51045 (Hooper body number 9187) and chassis 51046 (Hooper body number 9188) are from April 1946 and are DE27 limousines.

Chassis 51049 (Vanden Plas body number 4031) and chassis 51050 (Vanden Plas body number 4032) were built shortly afterwards as allweathers. Although these two are also Daimlers, the Jam Sahib wanted Lanchester radiators and he got them. There is a picture on page 676 of Brian Smith's Daimler Days. One of the two allweathers (chassis 51049) was displayed at Pebble Beach USA a few years ago with number plate “Pratapgarh”. The car was taken out of India in the early nineties by Prince Patapgarh. The other allweather (chassis 51050) is in the UK. One of the limousines, chassis 51046, is still in India with the Maharaja of Kutch. He got this car as a gift from the late Maharani of Nawanagar his aunt. The other limousine, chassis 51045 and painted blue, is in the Pranlal Bhogilal collection in Ahemdabad in the state of Gujrat in India in very good running condition.

Also in India, the Maharaja of Mysore bought at least four cars.

Firstly chassis 51703 (Hooper body number 9428), a DE36 allweather previously earmarked for the Royal Tour to Australia in 1953/54 and built in November 1948. This car is also in the Pranlal Bhogilal collection. The car, painted black, is in very good condition and running.

Secondly, the Maharaja of Mysore bought chassis 51078, a Windover bodied DE27 from 1946, which is still in India in private hands and in great running condition.

Thirdly he bought DE36 chassis 51189, a Hooper bodied 8-seater limousine with body number 9201 also still in India, which is missing its body (and a few other essential parts) and which is going to be restored. And then the Maharaja of Mysore purchased chassis 51708 (Hooper body number 9495), the landaulette also surplus to requirements when the 53/54 Royal Tour was cancelled. This car is in the Manjusha Museum in Dharmastala, India and is being restored.

Finally, there is in India chassis 51116, a DE27 8-seater limousine with partitioning from November 1945 with Hooper body number 9221,  of which the condition is still unknown. This is probably also an ex-Mysore car. And recently (info December 2020) a DH27 with unknown chassis number was imported and restored in India.

A final word about the French coachbuilder Saoutchik (sometimes written with “ck” at the end), who built in 1953 on a DE36 chassis a one-off special for Prince Talal of Saudi Arabia, son of H M Ibn Seoud. The car is pictured on page 750 of “Daimler Days”. Pictured is a white car with six windows on each side. Chassis number and fate of this car are unknown but it is possibly still in the hands of the royal family. Saoutchik was at the time the “house” coachbuilder for King Ibn Seoud. They built at least 8 cars for him (2 Talbots, 2 Cadillacs, 2 Rolls-Royces and two Daimlers), possibly more. It has now appeared that Saoutchik built a second body on a DE36 chassis, this time black and with four windows on each side of which I have a picture of the outside and of the lavish interior.

In February 2007 a set of five DE's came to light in the UK. Three limousines by Hooper (a DE36 and two DE27's) of which the chassis number of one of the DE27 limousines is not yet known (hence this one is not yet in the statistics). Furthermore two DE36 hearses (a Barker and possibly Hooper). They are from the estate of a Daimler collector who sadly passed away before he could find time to restore them. They are being sold via the DLOC and two have now found a new home.

Of the 188 bodies, I now know the fate of 161. Another 27 will require further detective work:

  • Eighty-one are restorable or under restoration, but not necessarily on the road.

  • Eighteen burnt out, have been scrapped, are being scrapped or are not restorable

  • Sixty-two are on the road

The 62 on the road cars consist of 7 DH27's, 25 DE27's and 30 DE36's. UK has the lead with 26, then Australia with 10, the USA with 8, and Germany, India and Sweden with each 3. New Zealand has 2. The Netherlands, Belgium, Thailand, Italy, Latvia, Spain and Ireland have each 1.

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