Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whupped With The Ugly Stick

Below is a link to Jay Leno describing and road testing his Daimler SP 250, and admittedly it sounds good.  I never heard an SP 250 run, and couldn't get past its astonishing ugliness back-in-the-day.  The dealership I worked for in the summers in the early 1960's took a red one in trade and parked it prominently by the front door: "FOR SALE, notice me please."  I washed it; the quality and finish of the fiberglass body was poor.  It was around for a while, and I can't remember if it was sold or wholesaled (because it couldn't be).

In its defense, the SP 250 was designed in the late 1950's and introduced in 1959.  I didn't know that until seeing the Leno video.  I first saw one in 1963.  By then, the Jag XK-E, Corvette Stingray, and Porsche 911 were on the market or just around the corner.  Three designs that became iconic: stiff competition in the styling department.  But then, much lower-pirced sports cars like MG's and even Triumphs looked better.

Another reason I dismissed the SP-250 was that hemi engine.  It may have been as fast as a Jag XK 150 (as Leno says), but pushrods?!?  Even in the early 60's overhead cams were entry-level for my personal pantheon of engineering.  What I didn't know about then was chassis flex sufficient to open the doors.  The SP 250 was worse than "...meh... "

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