The skunk works

This is a phrase borrowed from the US auto industry where manufacturers have small departments used to develop new products without getting in the way of their mainstream engineering efforts.

I have a few projects that I'm working on at present when time permits and the purpose of this page is to give you a little insight into what we're doing in Earls Colne.

First up is the Beast of Boreham!


So called because its owner lives near Boreham in Essex and because the plan is to install a 4.5litre V8 from a Majestic Major which will certainly bring out the beast in it. There are rumours that Sir William Lyons tried this powertrain in a Mk X Jaguar but discarded it because it utterly eclipsed the 4.2 straight 6 Jaguar engine. Also said is that the Daimler dynamometer maxed out at 220 bhp (which is the output quoted for the Majestic Major) and that the actual output of the 4.5 litre engine exceeded 250 bhp in reality. Both stories are possibly apocryphal but there may be a grain of truth to them. It is certainly fun to think so. The Beast will feature coil spring rear suspension and electric power steering. We hope to learn from both these upgrades and to be able to offer these to V8 owners.

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I've been doing a little research on weights. The Daimler 250 is 140 lbs lighter than the Jaguar Mark II in 2.4 litre form. The 3.8 engine mark II is 112 lbs heavier than the 2.4. The Daimler 250 is therefore 252 lbs lighter than a 3.8 Jaguar Mark II. The Daimler 4.5 V8 engine is reportedly 79 lbs heavier than the 2.5 V8 so, ignoring the difference in weight between the DG box fitted to the Majestic Major and the Type 35 box used on the Daimler/Jaguar Mark II, the Beast should be some 173 lbs lighter with it's 4.5 litre engine. So we expect it to out-perform the Jaguar 3.8 and having less weight on the front axle can only be a positive.

We've made some progress on this in recent weeks having totally stripped the car to its bare monocoque and then shipping it up to the midlands for an acid bath. It's shown prior to its dip and then some detailed pictures of the corrosion damage that we will have to rectify. These photos show the car in a red "weldable" primer that we have applied immediately after the dip in order to prevent the bare shell from developing surface corrosion while we undertake repairs. Fortunately there is a good supply of repair panels for this model although the parts alone are going to cost around £3K and this car is nowhere near as badly rusted as many I have seen! The acid strip process is cost effective and gets into all the box sections that would be inaccessible to conventional media blasting or chemical paint stripping techniques. The process also removes all traces of underseal and body panel adhesives and leaves you with a beautifully clean shell to repair. The downside is that you have to remove every last fitting especially those made of aluminium alloys such as the door hinges on this model as the acid will dissolve them.

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We've made a start with the engine installation

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The engine is, shall we say, snug and as yet the biggest issue we can see will routing the steering column to clear the exhaust. The DG gearbox is shorter than the Borg Warner Type 35 used on the Daimler saloon and we believe we will be able to adapt the standard gearbox mounting. Further good news is that the standard front crossmember has adequate clearance with the 4.5 litre V8 sump so all the front suspension points are unchanged. Once we have the engine installation sorted, we will put the shell onto a rotisserie and crack on with the bodywork restoration. More to follow.

Next up is mappable electronic ignition

This dispenses with the mechanical centrifugal system and replaces it with an electronic module that can be adjusted via a PC. Used in conjunction with electronic ignition, this provides the potential to achieve optimal spark timing with reliability and economy benefits. This would be applicable to all Turner V8 engines.

Finally a mechanical bonnet lock for Darts


I am really not yet sure how to achieve this but seeing the number of Darts that arrive in the workshop fitted with secondary bonnet restraint accessories, this seems to be a subject on many SP250 owner's minds.