The Oldest Surviving SP250 discovered and will be on our stand at the NEC.

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    The oldest surviving SP250, Prototype Chassis 100002 has been discovered and purchased by Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.
    We are very proud to have been chosen as the venue for this car to be unveiled to the public and press on our stand at the Birmingham NEC Classic Car Show Friday 8th November 2019.

    The full story and links to articles are on this website home page.


    I note that the latest photos show the car with wire wheels, an earlier photo shows steel wheels with covers and the earliest photos show plain steel wheels.

    Will JHT change back to steels wheels and what colour were the original steel wheels?


    Is there some confusion over the car photos? Brian Long’s book on page 43 shows XHP 438 with a larger grille, sharper V and no Daimler badge and his text says that it retains its slightly deeper grille to this day.

    However, the car shown on the grass with a bridge behind in his book and in November’s DM shows a car with a normal grille, badge and no registration plate. Brian Long’s text just says that it’s a hard top version of the SP250.

    The November DM then shows a car with reg. XHP 438 but with a normal grille and a badge.

    Are they the same car with a later modified grille? When did XHP 438 have it’s grille changed?


    Further to my last post,
    Brian Long’s book page 43 shows XHP 438 with large grille and no badge.
    Page 44 September 1959 XHP pictured outside William Winter’s house with smaller grille and badge.
    Motorsport October 1959 The sensational Daimler V8 Dart SP 250 … which we announced in May will be at Earls Court. … At Earls Court XHP 438 was shown … so Earls Court must have been after September when the car had a smaller grille. Brian Long said on page 57 that XHP 438 has retired and retains the deeper grille to this day. Not so?

    Has the VIN body number plate been swapped?


    Tony Merrygold from JDHT here – although some of the very early pictures show the car with steel wheels, there are more of them with wire wheels, and when we bought the car it had wire wheels on it. So we will keep it on wire wheels.
    Also in case anyone asks about white wall tyres – we will not be putting whitewall tyres on it.


    Long reply which hopefully explains things.

    • XHP 438 was registered in March 1959 and the number plate put on our car 100002.
      However the same number plate also appears on a number of other cars in the book so it is clear that Daimler used to swap it from car to car.
    • One of the prototypes had the larger grille and although the book says the car retains this grille to this day no-one (as far as I am aware) knows where it is.
    • XHP 438 was used as the press car and went back to the factory for some re-furbishment before it went for sale as a 2nd hand vehicle. We do not know what work was done.
    • We have the buff log book for XHP 438 and a lot of history on the car including photographs from its first private owner Donald Harley – with the standard grille.
    • The black and white and colour photos by the bridge are a bit of artistic licence by the Trust. We have a number of photos in the archive taken at Compton Verney of cars parked by the bridge, house and lake – different colours, some with hardtop some without – all generally showing a number saying DAIMLER.
    • We cannot guarantee that any of these cars is XHP 438.
    • Compton Verney is only a few miles from Gaydon so we took XHP 438 there for a day to re-create all the photos in colour and use them to give a ‘1959 b/w’ v ‘2019 colour’ view of the car.

    John, most of this answered in previous reply.

    1. As for the VIN – or Chassis number – this is stamped on the chassis where it should be.
    2. There is no body number tag on the car bulkhead where it normally lives, and no holes indicating it has been removed. Therefore we are assuming that being a prototype the body was not numbered.

    Very interesting replies, but what a mix-up!
    “However the same number plate also appears on a number of other cars in the book so it is clear that Daimler used to swap it from car to car.
    •One of the prototypes had the larger grille and although the book says the car retains this grille to this day no-one (as far as I am aware) knows where it is.”

    So, although you have 100002 and XHP 438, I assume that the prototype with the larger grille was probably earlier?

    What a pity you haven’t got that one!


    XHP 438 was I think registered as a DART . It would be helpful if we/JDHT were able to locate that first log book as the XHP 438 was registered in March 1959.

    Press coverage on the 1st April announced Daimler’s New DART, . The model only changing its nomenclature to SP250 following objections in April 1959 from the Dodge Corporation. at the New York Motor Show.

    If you refer to THE AUTOCAR dated 2nd October 1959 you will see in various photographs the SP250 as JDHT has acquired from its long term hibernation in Canada.all bear the XHP number plate

    Please note also in Brian Long’s book page 44 (second edition) XHP outside William Winter’s house with his daughter looking on. This in September 1959 – front nose modified and wire wheels. We are now in touch with this lady some 60 years later. And hope to gain further information..

    I will add further information to this important acquisition by JDHT as we built its unique path.

    The chassis plate 100002 and XHP plate corespondents to all records within the Gaydon site with its log book. ( and mine to that effect)

    I do congratulate the JDHT team for having shipped over the car and prepared in short time for the NEC Show,


    I get the impression that the photo on page 43 of Brian Long’s book is actually “The Red One” 100000 with its new body after the crash, as shown on page 38, with trade plate 084 WK changed to reg. plate XHP 438, (reg. nr. later transferred to 100002; JDHT confirm that transferring reg. number plates did happen).

    Brain Long says on page 57 that XHP 438 retains the deeper grille to this day, but I think that car must be The Red One 100000, so there is still a need to look for that one!

    Photos in the book from page 44, ie from about September 1959, are all of 100002.

    Either that or 100002 had a larger grille (page 43) which was changed to a smaller one (page 44 etc.), perhaps by swapping the body, changing the grille or swapping chassis, which seems unlikely.

    I hate to suggest that Brian Long made a mistake, but I can’t think of no other way to explain it.



    Brian did make a number of errors, such as in Volume 1 page 115 – last paragraph.. In September 1962 Leo and Ian Geoghegan won the Bathurst Six- hour Classic in New Zealand……… now there are many Australians who would take exception to that statement , this being subsequently corrected in the 2008 second edition.

    Also, whilst on that page we see Duncan Black ? in 1962 racing an SP…..look at the modern saloon chasing the SP. Ask yourself, what period is that saloon car? certainly no where near 1962. Which is why I ? is it Duncan racing..

    I am not sure if you are aware that Brian Long was commissioned to write a book on the SP as he has on many other makes and models. Tt was his business and livelihood and therefore errors crop up. I do know how long it takes to painstakingly research a model.

    Chassis no: 100000 WDU 653 was dismantled following its accident

    Chassis No 100002 was retained as a press car until its sale to the Dorking Motor Company in 1960 . Jack Brabham Motors sold it to its first private buyer (Jack Brabaham and Dorking Motors were in a similar location no doubt sharing stock as the trade did and still does.).


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