Paul Richards on the Daimler SP250
I love your website and I check your web pages on a regular basis for new stories. I particularly love the roundy-round hot rod cars like Ol' Yaller that could embarrass the European exotica.
I have an old schoolfriend from here in England who lives in the Hollywood Hills and whenever I come to California we try to get to a historic meet or at the very least go to Bob's Big Boy on car nite.
I won't prattle on forever but have a couple of SP250 anecdotes that you might like to hear. It was seeing your comments about doors flying open during cornering that prompted me to remember both!
Did you know that some U.K. Police forces had SP250s as police cars? As a kid I can remember seeing uniformed 'coppers' in white SP250s cruising on hot summer days with the convertible tops down. The area behind the seats was absolutely full of radio equipment - presumably old valve type sets. Our police cars back then had bells instead of sirens and on one memorable occasion I turned round upon hearing a police bell and saw an SP250 fly round a corner at huge speed with tyres screaming - and the door flew open! How the policeman in the passenger seat stayed in the car I'll never know as he was mostly out of it at one time - hanging on the wide open door looking like Oliver Hardy in an old stunt scene!
The other story concerns a lovely old guy I met in the '80's at a sprint (autocross to you guys) at the old Goodwood circuit long before Freddy March restored it to it's former glory. This old guy was well into his seventies then, with white hair and a 'handlebar' moustache but still competing in a VW Scirocco.
We were in the queue for scrutineering before our practice runs and just started shooting the breeze, he was telling me that he'd been competing in sprints and hillclimbs since just after WWII in a variety of cars.
He did not remember his SP250 with great fondness - complaining of the very whippy chassis, which I'm sure you know is the reason for the doors problem as well as the untrustworthy handling. However, this '250 was the very first car he had ever purchased brand new and at that time was very proud of it. The weekend after collecting the car he drove to the local 'pub' to impress his friends. Being a nice day (rare in England!) the pub was crowded with many people outside enjoying the weather along with their warm English beer. Apparently he made a great flourish of his entrance, revving the engine to make sure everyone knew of his arrival in his flashy new sports car. He parked the car slightly askew with one front wheel on a kerb - and then couldn't get out! The chassis flex was sufficient to jam the door shut!
After trying momentarily to open the door and not being aware of the cause of the problem at that time he pretended to remember something urgent he had forgotten to do and drove out of the pub as fast as he could with a face as red as the paintwork! He was even more bemused when he stopped down the road and the door opened perfectly!
As a kid I used to love those cars - mainly because of the throaty V8 burble, which is all too rare here in the UK, but the sight of a policeman hanging on for dear life kinda put me off owning one when I became old enough to drive.
Keep up the great work. Just as a suggestion, could you add a little more from the early 60's such as the Mecom Hussein-Hemi and other rarities?
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