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1966 Daimler
4.2 Sovereign

The Sleeper Never Woke Up

July 22, 2007 - The Daimler was hauled off to the junkyard today - I suppose there never was any real hope for the car given the extent of problems.  Almost nothing on the car survived the long neglect.  In addition to severe rust, a melted electrical system, and rotten hoses, the engine was stuck, the radiator had rotted apart, the brake system was ruined, the exhaust had pretty much fallen off...  well, you get the idea.  I took some parts off -her grille was still very nice, and will be given a place of honor on the garage wall.  That lets the MGB-GT move back to the driveway, at least.  After I sweep up the piles of rust left behind by the Daimler.
July 12, 2007 - Digging deeper tonight only confirms the worst - the Daimler is beyond any hope.  All of the hoses, belts, and other rubber, including the plug wires, has rotted away.  Even the brake fluid has evaporated away, leaving a thick pasty mess in the two reservoirs.  I have to wonder how long the car has been sitting - it was running in 1988, but no telling after that.  The car is far worse that the 1939 Packard that sat for 43 years before I got it. Guess that's the difference between being garaged and sitting outside.  Oh, well.  The air horns work!.
July 11, 2007 - My hopes to get the Daimler going again have literally gone up in smoke.  Vermin, age, or the inherent nature of Lucas electrics struck hard when I installed a freshly-charged battery to try cranking her over.  As I was experimenting with the shifter lever to find the neutral start switch, smoke began pouring from the dashboard. Turning off the ignition didn't stop it, so I grabbed a wrench to undo the battery.  The alternator and several other main connection points under the hood were also creating their own fog banks.  It seems the primary power circuit is shorted out on the car somewhere.  Could have been what laid the car up so many years ago.  Oh, well.  I still  want to try cranking the engine in case it is worth salvaging, but the old girl's future looks bleak.  Even moderate engine work pales against having to replace the wiring harness.  Given the seriousness of rust and other issues, I suspect she'll end up hanging in bits and pieces on my garage walls in short order.  Nothing lost really, as I had my doubts from the start.  Just sorry she was beyond salvage.
July 8, 2007 - The Daimler arrived at the house today at high noon, with the Studebaker out front to welcome her.  The tow truck driver (Dale Old Wrecker Service, always great people) remembered coming out here before.  Not surprising, considering the number of curious old cars i have had dragged here over the years.  Anyway, she rolled up the driveway easily and the parking brake worked.  I'll have to repair one of the radiator hoses that came apart in transit, and either borrow a battery from the TD or MGB to begin diagnostics on the engine.  The brakes are out, but I'll see if some fluid brings them up at all.  Kitty, my long-suffering neighbor, inspected the car and dubbed her 'Interesting.'  Next step - get her dubbed 'running'!

July 7, 2007 - It's amazing how much difference some decent tires can make - though it took some work to get them on the old girl.  I hadn't given much thought to finding narrow 15-inch tires.  They used to be common.  However, after spending a good part of the morning touring used tire stores, I discovered that the recent trend to low, wide tires meant that I'd have to either buy new tires or come up with some of my own.  The 600x15 wide whitewalls from the Jeepster were candidates, but I didn't want to put the Daimler on tires I wasn't willing to give up.  The spare turned out to be pretty good, and held air.  Only one of the tires on the ground was still in one piece, but it also held air.  Happily, I remembered the original tires from the Studebaker, which have been stored inside on the spare wheels. The local WalMart tire department was willing to tackle the rotten carcasses and tubes to swap the tires out.  Richard Hall helped me get them on the Daimler, and she was soon off the jack stands (his, by the way) complete with her hub caps.   Happily, her owners (two shown in the photo) thought to leave the hand brake off for the long sleep, so she rolls easily.  I have to say I feel more hopeful for the Daimler now.  She'll be delivered to the house tomorrow and I can start the process of trying to get the engine going.
July 5, 2007 - I've always had a soft spot for British cars.  Some say it's my head.  Anyway, despite the jokes about Lucas electrical systems and a slight tendency of  British Iron to dissolve in water, wheeled vehicles from the land of the Union Jack always make my heart beat a little quicker.  So when friend Richard Hall called up to let me know a neighbor had a 1966 Daimler they wanted hauled off for free - well, I am a Caroholic.  On first look, the car was less than inspiring.  It has some serious rust issues, but could be made presentable with liberal doses of bondo.  The interior isn't too bad, and its even a right hand drive 'home market' car.  The Daimler is a badge-engineered Jaguar, sharing most of the mechanicals and bodywork with the S-series 4.2.  They are very rare here in the States, but the Daimler-specific stuff appears to be all there.  The challenge now is getting it home.  All four tires have rotted, so Richard and I put her up on jack stands tonight so I could pull the wheels.  I plan to get some junk tires mounted to make her rollable and have her flatbedded home this weekend.  Then comes the great experiment.  If the engine and transmission survived her long years of neglect, the car has a chance of being put back on the road.  But if either has gone bad, the car is beyond any hope.  Still, it's better to give the old girl a short respite and a chance than to haul her straight off for scrap. 

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