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Daimler SP250 Dart (1959 - 1964)

Last updated 24 November 2014


Buying Guide


  • The bodyshell is glassfibre so check for crazing of the gelcoat.
  • Chassis is steel and can rust.
  • The tubular crossmember at the front often rust.
  • Front suspension turrets can rot out if water gets in the through the steering column openings.
  • Make sure the welds for the lower wishbone mounting brackets haven’t cracked.
  • Post-1961 cars have extra bracing for the B-posts and stiffening beams underneath the door apertures.
  • Crossmember behind the back axle can rust.
  • Rear spring hangers corrode and are hard to get to when repairing.

Engine and gearbox

  • These are tough units, but they need to be well-serviced.
  • Maintaining the antifreeze mix is crucial – the engine block is cast iron while the cylider head is alloy.
  • Make sure you check for emulsion on the underside of the oil filler cap to see if the oil and water have mixed.
  • Does it sound tappety? The valve clearance might need adjusting or the valve guides might be worn.
  • Lumpy running could be caused by sticky exhaust valves, which get clogged up with carbon deposits.
  • SP250 engines do use oil – early ones sometimes use as much as a pint every 300-400 miles.
  • Some warn the gearbox struggles to cope with the V8’s torque, so check for damage.
  • Lots of clicking means the gear has broken; continuous whirring means the teeth have worn.

Steering and suspension

  • Check for for leaking dampers and sagging leaf springs at the rear.
  • At the front, check for worn trunnions and vertical links.
  • Jack up the front wheels and use a crowbar to check for play between the wheel and the vertical link.
  • There are Girling disc brakes at the front and rear (but no servo).
  • It’s a simple system, but check for scored, worn or warped discs, as well as sticking pistons.
  • Handbrake mechanisms can partially seize and the cable needs to be greased otherwise it sticks.

Electrics and trim

  • Instrumentation, switchgear and components (eg light units) are all available.
  • A retrim will set you back £3500-£4000 so make sure the seats and carpets are in good condition.
  • If the hood is worn, a replacement costs more than £400.
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