Daimler Conquest

Daimler Conquest
Daimler Conquest
DaimlerConquest I think ca 1955.jpgDaimler Conquest saloon announced May 1953-1956
also more powerful Conquest Century from March 1954-1958
Manufacturer Daimler Motor Company
Production 1953–1958
Predecessor Daimler Consort
Successor Daimler 2.5 V8 1962
Class Executive car
Body style 4-door saloon
Engine 2,433 cc (2.433 L; 148.5 cu in) straight-6
Transmission (1953–'58) preselector gearbox with fluid flywheel
(1956–'58) optional automatic
Wheelbase 104 in (2,642 mm)[1]
Length 177 in (4,496 mm)[1]
Width 65.5 in (1,664 mm)[1]
Height 65 in (1,651 mm)[1]
Kerb weight 1,397 kg (3,080 lb)

The Daimler Conquest was made in the following models:

  • Daimler Conquest Saloon[2] (1953–1956), (1)[note 1]
  • Daimler Conquest Roadster[3] (1953–1955), (3)[note 1]
  • Daimler Conquest Century Saloon[4][5] (1954–1958), (1)[note 1]
  • Daimler Conquest Century Drophead Coupe[6] (1954–1955), (2)[note 1]
  • Daimler Drophead Coupe (1955–1957) (3)[note 1]



The standard 1953 cast iron, single Zenith carb, 6.6:1 compression, 2,433 cc (2.433 L; 148.5 cu in) 75 bhp (56 kW) Conquest motor was essentially a six-cylinder version of the Leda four. Bore was 76.2 mm (3.00 in) and stroke was 88.9 mm (3.50 in). The 1954 Conquest Century model had a new alloy head with big valves, higher compression, high lift cam, and twin SU carburettors.[7]

Body, chassis, and running gear


The body was a very little modified version of that used on the earlier Lanchester 14.[8] The whole car appeared to have been developed within four months after Bernard Docker, then MD of BSA, took on the additional responsibility of MD of Daimler in January 1953.

Presented as a new car, the 75 hp (1953 - 1956) Daimler Conquest saloon chassis and running gear had originated in the 1950 Lanchester Fourteen/Leda.[9][2] Lanchester was a subsidiary of Daimler. The Conquest's appearance was identical to the Lanchester Leda, apart from the grille. The Leda, at first, had been made of steel on a timber frame.[9][7]

The usual Daimler large cruciform chassis had a double wishbone front suspension, with laminated torsion bars, telescopic dampers and a sway bar, while the rear suspension used leaf springs with telescopic dampers.

Automatic chassis lubrication to 21 points, using a pump controlled by exhaust heat, was a Conquest model feature.

Cam and peg steering was used, and Girling hydro-mechanical brakes. (Hydro - mechanical = hydraulic front, mechanical rear brakes.) The cars had an 2,642 mm (104 in) wheelbase.[7]


1954–1955 Daimler Conquest Century drophead coupé. Hood power-assisted from the 'de ville' position shown.
1955–1957 Daimler drophead coupé

The Conquest motor produced 75 hp (56 kW) at 4000 rpm, and 124 lb·ft (168 N·m) of torque at 2000 rpm. In Century form the dry liner, pushrod engine with its balanced crank and large water jacket, delivered 100 hp (75 kW) at 4000 rpm, and 130 lb·ft (176 N·m) of torque at 2400 rpm. A Daimler four-speed preselector gearbox with "fluid flywheel" was used.

The Saloon had steel bodies weighing 1,397 kg (3,080 lb) (Conquest: 81 mph (130 km/h), 0-60 mph: 20.4 seconds. Conquest Century: 90 mph (140 km/h)).

The open two-seater Roadster (3) had an aluminium body, except for the bonnet, and aluminium castings were used instead of a traditional timber frame. The Roadster used (pioneered) the Century form of the Conquest engine though when it was first announced in the Roadster it was said to produce just 90 bhp. (100 mph, 0-60 mph: 14.5 seconds, 25.5 cwt (1300 kg))

The 4-seater drophead coupé (2) had a powered roof folding mechanism and shared few body parts with the Roadster. (87 mph (140 km/h)), 0-60 mph: 16.3 seconds)

The New Drophead (3) had steel to the B-pillars, and alloy from there back, apart from steel inner rear guards. (89 mph (143 km/h)), 0-60 mph: 19.7 seconds)

The lighter Roadster (3) was slightly taller geared; while the heavier New Drophead also (3) was slightly lower geared. Other differences to the Conquest saloon (1) include 12-inch-wider (13 mm) brakes, and steering that was 2½ turns lock-to-lock instead of 3¼.[7]

A saloon tested by The Motor magazine in 1953 had a top speed of 81.6 mph (131.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 24.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.3 miles per imperial gallon (13.9 L/100 km; 16.9 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1511 including taxes.[1]

Production history

The Conquest saloon was released to the public in 1953 as a replacement for the Daimler Consort, but was shorter and lighter, with better performance. The Daimler Conquest was meant to be an affordable Daimler, priced at 1066 pounds. (That price may well be linked to the name "Conquest".) It was pedigree with pace, at a reasonable price. They still had luxurious, well-appointed traditional wood-grain and leather interiors. Actual construction was by another BSA subsidiary, 'Carbodies'.

The open 2-seater Conquest Roadster first appeared[3] at the Motor Show in 1953 with the tuned engine later known as the Century engine. The Roadster was not available to the public till 1954.

The Daimler Conquest Century, released in 1954[4] was the best seller of the range with 4818 of them produced. A hundred horsepower and, presumably downhill, a hundred miles an hour, hence the Century.

The Conquest Roadster was dropped from production in 1955. The dropheads had outsold them by over 3:1. Then a new drophead 4-seater and a drophead coupé version of the 2-seater Roadster were introduced at the 1955 Motor Show. This Mark II Conquest Roadster drophead coupé had a sideways-facing single rear seat, making the car a 2- or 3-seater and with wind-up side windows in place of the clip-on side-curtains of the continuing Mark II open 2-seater Conquest Roadster.

Two of the roadsters, at least, were coach-built as fixed head coupes.[10] [ However at this time many very small businesses indeed offered low-cost glass-fibre-reinforced removable tops for all brands of open sports-cars. ] There is one fibreglass new drophead, and one fibreglass fixed head coupe (with a Hillman Minx Californian three piece rear window!!) One-offs seem to have been mostly done on Roadster allocated chassis, so there may have been even fewer roadsters built than officially indicated.

In October 1956[11] Daimler Conquest Century buyers were offered the choice of an automatic transmission or the traditional preselector system. Time was changing gear. Preselector gearboxes faded away as modern automatic transmissions took their place. Currency restrictions had meant that until Borg-Warner built a British plant automatic transmissions were only available on export cars.


Nasser announces the nationalization of the canal (Universal Newsreel, 30 July 1956)

There were major price reductions in April 1956[12] (12%) and in September 1956[13] (a further 12% and much more on some models). The Suez crisis in the summer of 1956 had brought petrol rationing.
The Roadster had started out priced close to the Jaguar XK120 at 1673 pounds, but by the time the New Drophead was released the price was 280 pounds more than an XK140. While Jaguars became less expensive, the hand built Daimlers escalated in price. Jaguars sold in large numbers, and Daimlers sold in small numbers with frequent model changes. Jaguars were built very fiercely down to a price with inevitable consequences for used examples. Some Jaguar fleet owners did not even bother with regular servicing (downtime) but simply sold the car when the inevitable trouble arrived yet replaced it with another Mark 2 Jaguar. The price to grace space and pace ratio was so astounding all was forgiven.
The writing on the wall for Daimler grew ever larger.[7] Four years after the Conquest ceased production dealers were given the Daimler 250 V8 but those buyers did not come back for a V8 replacement.

Production figures

  • 4568 Daimler Conquest Saloons (1)
  • 4818 Conquest Century Saloons (1)
  • 65 Conquest Roadsters, (3)
  • 234 Conquest Century Drophead Coupes, (2)
  • 54 Conquest Century New Drophead Coupes (3) (A.K.A. the Mark II)[7]

In August 1956 a press release[14] endeavoured to relieve the workforce's belief that all production was to stop. In the chairman's speech to the November 1958 shareholders' AGM he advised the only cars made in the year ended 31 July 1958 were the 3½ and 4½ litre models


  1. ^ a b c d e The Daimler Conquest was made in the three following body shapes:
    • 1. Saloon, 4-door, 4/5-seater
    • 2. Drophead coupé, 2-door, 4-seater. a convertible version of the saloon
    • 3. Roadster, 2-door, 2-seater open car and 3-seater drophead coupé


  1. ^ a b c d e "The 2.5 litre Daimler Conquest Road Test". The Motor. May 6, 1953. 
  2. ^ a b The Times, Wednesday, May 06, 1953; pg. 3; Issue 52614; col G
    New Daimler Car. "Conquest" Saloon Model
    A new Daimler car–the Conquest– is announced today. The company states that it has greater pace and far better acceleration than any of its predecessors. It is a full five-seater saloon model, powered by a new six-cylinder 2½ litre short stroke engine which develops 75 bhp at 4,000 revolutions a minute.
    The car has shown itself capable of accelerating from stop to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 5 seconds and of reaching 70 mph (110 km/h) through all gears in 30 seconds. It has a top speed of just under 82 mph (132 km/h). Petrol consumption ranges from 26.6 mpg at a constant 30 mph (48 km/h) to 18.5 mpg at a steady 70 mph (110 km/h); the average consumption is 20.3 mpg. Hill-climbing tests have shown the Conquest capable of a maximum top-gear speed of 67 mph (108 km/h) up a gradient of 1 in 20. It can climb a 1 in 10 hill at 43 mph (69 km/h).
    Interior heating and air-conditioning are included as standard equipment. [turning the heater temperature to cold allows its fan to draw in unheated air from outside the cabin] The basic cost of the Conquest is £1,066; with purchase tax the price is increased to £1,511 5s 10d.
  3. ^ a b The Times, Tuesday, Oct 20, 1953; pg. 5; Issue 52757; col E. More New Car Models
    The growing number of 100 mph (160 km/h) British cars have been added to by the introduction of the Daimler Conquest roadster and the Alvis Grey Lady saloon. The Daimler roadster has a streamlined two-seater body mounted on a special series chassis with the radiator 5 inches (130 mm) lower than that of the Conquest saloon. The Daimler company state that this model will be reserved for export until next spring. The basic price is £1,180 and the total with purchase tax £1,672 15s 10d.
  4. ^ a b The Times, Friday, Mar 05, 1954; pg. 4; Issue 52872; col F. New Daimler Model
    A variation of the Conquest model providing more power and speed with increased passenger room and equipment, is being produced by the Daimler Company. Its name, the Conquest Century, is derived from the increase in power of the 2½ litre six-cylinder engine from the 75 bhp at 4,000rpm of the standard Conquest saloon to 100bhp at 4,400 rpm, the increase in power being obtained by fitting dual carburettors, a special aluminium cylinder head, a different camshaft, large valves and a twin exhaust manifold. The basic price of the Conquest Century saloon is £1,172 compared with £1,066 for the standard Conquest saloon. The price of a new model with purchase tax is £1,661 9s. 2d.
  5. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Aug 16, 1955; pg. 2; Issue 53300; col F. Quality Tells In The Daimler Conquest Century Travelling FAST In Comfort from our motoring correspondent.
  6. ^ The Times, Friday, Oct 02, 1953; pg. 4; Issue 52742; col G. Paris Motor Show
    Paris, Oct. 1. A newcomer at the Salon is the Daimler Conquest convertible coupé. which has two carburettors giving a power output of 90 bhp and the car a road speed of 90 mph (140 km/h). As this model is not going to be available on the home market for some time, it will not be exhibited at Earls Court.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Title:"Classic and Sportscar" magazine, Published: April 1996, Article: "Futile Conquests?", Page 116 - 119, ISSN 0263-3183
  8. ^ "75 Years of Daimler: A look back at one of the first car manufacturers in this country". Autocar. 134 (nbr 3914): pages 16–19. date 1 April 1971. 
  9. ^ a b The Times, Wednesday, Oct 11, 1950; pg. 3; Issue 51819; col C
    Lanchester Fourteen. Features Of New Model From our motoring correspondent.
    Coventry October 10. One of the new cars to be shown at the Motor Exhibition was displayed privately to the Press here today by the Lanchester Motor Company Limited a member of the Daimler Group.
    The car is the Lanchester Fourteen, a completely new model, the only familiar feature being the famous Daimler fluid transmission with pre-selective gearbox. The car has a two-litre, four-cylinder engine and a handsome four-five-seater saloon body which will be made at first by coachbuilding methods. Next year when the rebuilding of 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of factory space destroyed in the Coventry raids is completed, it will have a pressed steel body which will reduce the weight, enable the price of £895, plus purchase tax, to be considerably reduced and permit shipment in a form suitable for assembly overseas.
    The new Lanchester Fourteen has features of technical interest. The torsion "bars" of the independent front suspension consist of laminated leaves, instead of the usual bars while the chassis (except the propeller shaft and water pump) is automatically lubricated every time the engine is started and warmed up.
    (It may have been as much as another twelve months before deliveries began. In December 1952 only "a limited number" had been released on the home market.)
  10. ^ The Times, Thursday, Sep 30, 1954; pg. 3; Issue 53050; col B. New Daimler Models. Additions To Large-Car Market
    The Daimler Conquest range is being continued with the addition of a new model, a hard top version of the roadster which will be shown at Earls Court on the stand of Carbodies Limited a recent acquisition of the Daimler group.
  11. ^ The Times, Friday, Oct 12, 1956; pg. 7; Issue 53660; col B. Daimler Conquest Century and One—O—Four models are now available with fully automatic transmission.
  12. ^ The Times, Tuesday, May 01, 1956; pg. 10; Issue 53519; col D. Prices Reduced Of Two Daimler Cars
    The Daimler Company Limited announced last night reductions in the price of their 2½ litre saloons—the Conquest Mark II and the Century Mark II. The new prices which are in operation today are: Conquest Saloon Mark II £1.032 . . . Century Saloon Mark II, £1,132 [reductions of approximately 12 %]
  13. ^ The Times, Tuesday, Sep 04, 1956; pg. 8; Issue 53627; col C. Daimler Car Prices Cut Plans To Reach Wider Market.
    • Conquest Saloon Mk II £862 cut by 16%
    • Century Saloon Mk II £996 cut by 12%
    • 2½ litre Drophead Coupé £1,262 cut by 7%
    • One—O—Four Saloon £1,596 cut by 15%
    • One—O—Four Lady's model £1,729 cut by 16%
  14. ^ The Times, Saturday, Aug 25, 1956; pg. 10; Issue 53619; col G. Daimler's Plan To Raise Production [statement to counter belief that Daimler is to cease car production]

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