Daimler Conquest Century Saloon, 1953

The Daimler Conquest is a unique vehicle, it is a relatively small (some 4.5 meters) automobile, with a straight-six of just under 2.5 litres, but with the luxury of a much larger automobile.

Furthermore, the very clever combination of a Wilson 4-speed pre-select gearbox and a hydraulic coupling, makes changing gears a real pleasure! As the car itself already has an impressive name, so does this transmission: The Daimler Fluid Flywheel Transmission. How it works, with the lever on the right side of the steering wheel you select the next gear you need. Where usually the clutch-pedal is, is the gear-change pedal. You press and depress, and you're in the next gear. With some less respect for the car, you can even upchange with the throttle open. In that case, it results in a push in the back, as the engine slowes itself down giving it's momentum to the car.

The engine itself is a relatively simple 12-valve straight six, with the camshaft sitting just above the crankshaft. A very quiet engine though; when we had it running well, it idled at 200 RPM; one had to really look at the rev-counter to see if the engine was actually running. In this same time, we had a while where the starter motor was being overhauled. Luckily, the Daimler can be started by hand, and when warm, it starts with one pull. The Century version of the Conquest has the high-output engine (100 HP against 75 for the standard engine), effect of a sharper camshaft and two SU carburettors.

The chassis is a relatively antique one, but the front suspension is not; it is an independent suspension with multi-leaf torsion springs. At the rear it's a simple live-axle with leaf-springs. The suspension and brakes (front hydraulical, rear mechanical drums) work quite well, and the Conquest can be driven fast.

The interior, as I said, is a luxury. RPM and MPH counter, and 4 other gauges (well, one is the clock) are sitting in the center of the wooden dash. Wooden cappings on the doors add to the luxury feeling. And the windows; not electrical, but all 8 of them can be opened!

Pity we had to sell it... Well, as poor students it was a luxury to own such a car in the first place!

Finally, below a couple of original adverts depicting the unique qualities of the Daimler Conquest.

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This page exists since April 14, 2018

Copyright for text and photographs: Jaap Horst, 2018