Fit For A King?
IN 2009 DEREK MALLOY, FROM Northern Ireland, bought a most interesting Daimler.
In a letter to “The Driving Member”, the magazine of the Daimler and Lanchester Owners Club, he asked for help in discovering its history as virtually no history had come with it. The car sounded interesting so I contacted Derek. The car was a 20ft long 1936 Daimler Double six limousine of which only 9 were eve built and two were in use with the Royal Household of King George V.
Derek’s car had been specifically designed to transport a disabled or invalid owner in comfort. The order for it came from Daimler Hire Ltd and the work was carried out by Lancefield Coachbuilders of London W.10. The car was first displayed on the Daimler Hire Ltd stand at the 1936 Olympia Motor Show.
Unusually the rear off-side door does not open even though it has hinges and a door handle, it’s a dummy, The Autocar gave this car a full page write up in their October 30th Motor Show number in 1936. They wrote: “On opening the nearside door to the rear compartment, however, the reason for the dummy door on the off-side is at once seen, for a full-length bed is fitted along the whole of the offside. On the nearside there is a folding and swivelling very comfortable armchair, which fits flush into the division when not required. This allows the bed to be swivelled until the foot come into the doorway….so that the bed and the occupants can be removed. There is also a comfortable armchair seat at the rear on the near side, whilst behind the head of the bed there is a burr walnut cupboard to receive Thermos flask and medical equipment.” I must add that when Derek received the car this cupboard had four empty porcelain wee-wee bottles (pictured above) in it!
There is also a wash basin fitted on the nearside hidden under a hinged panel. There is a heater with controls on the bulkhead and telephone communication system with the driver. For discretion there are silk blinds on all the rear windows. Luggage can be carried on a hinged platform which drops down at the rear. Cases can also be carried on the roof with a special rack which folds down when not in use, access to the roof is via hinged steps built into the cars centre pillar.
Derek Malloy told me that the car is in very original though neglected and unrestored condition. The previous lady owner had in turn inherited from her late father’s estate.
It is thought to have gone to Ireland in the late 1940’s where it lost its UK number DLY 258 for an Irish one MZ 8074.
Who could have ordered such a vehicle in the first place? Was there enough hire work around for a top class invalid hire car?
A rumour without substance came with the car that it was designed for King George V and that the King had died before he could take delivery of it. I think there is a strong possibility that this was the case.
After all the King was taken seriously ill with septicaemia in 1928 and dropped out of public life for two years Later he spent 3 month convalescing in Bognor (which resulted in Regis being added to the town’s title). Towards the end he was not a well monarch.
On the 15th January 1936 he died at Sandringham.
Quite how we research this aspect I do not know as the Daimler records were destroyed in the war. Any ideas to:email@example.com
from p. 11 of issue June 2017
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