Daimler DS420 Contemporary Photographs


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This page shows photographs contemporary with the DS420 production years, or shortly thereafter. The photos were collected from various sources, and are shown in arbitrary sequence. Most photos can be enlarged by clicking.

Stratstone Showroom car

This photo shows car number 1M1004. This was the fourth car from the start of the production in 1968. It went to Stratstone in London. Stratstone, on 40 Berkeley Square, was the main Daimler distributor and they sold by far the most DS420 cars during the entire production span.

The car had registration number WGJ366G right from the start ('G' is for 1968). Its exterior color was black (of course). The interior was black leather in the front, and brown leather in the rear.

The first two limousines from the production were kept by Jaguar, the third was a hearse chassis that went to Woodall Nicholson (more on that will follow later on this web page), so the car shown here was actually the very first limousine sold to a customer. Note the wide chrome side stripe, just above the keyholes on the door. That chrome strip was used until summer 1971, and then replaced by a painted coach line.


Shipping to Melbourne for the Royal visit in 1969.
A photo taken during this visit is in this magazine article.

shipping for Melbourne


                                Hotel Principe di Savoia

The magazine advert to the left, in German language, is for a hotel in Milano, Italy. The fog lights next to the number plate tell that this car is older than 1974.
More on this car is in the photo gallery entry of its current owner, Muslim Gedygushev in Moscow.


Klaus D. Peter from Germany shot this beautiful scene at London's Pall Mall in October 1974. The author kindly made this image available via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons license.

The car at the rear, license No. APB92H, car No. 1M1198, was at that time owned by L.M.S. Seniers of Duke Street in London. I have no record of the first car (license No. SO8, corps diplomatique).

Pall Mall London 1974


Prince Rainier  
Prince Rainier
Prince Rainier

On Nov. 12th, 1970. Prince Rainier of Monaco shipped his newly delivered DS420 home from Southend Airport near the Thames Estuary. This was car 1M20033, body color "Silk over Black". On the photo it still carries UK license plates DMU401J.

At this moment the car is on display in the "Exhibition of HSH The Prince of Monaco's Vintage Car Collection", Terrasses de Fontvieille in Monaco:
     Prince Rainier
       Large photo on flickr.com (1)
       Large photo on flickr.com (2)


Assassination Jordan Ambassador 1971        Assassination Jordan Ambassador 1971

One and a half year after this event Mr. al-Rifai became the prime minister of Jordan. Until the end of his career in 2009 he was one of the highest politicians in his country.

Note the licence plate HKJ111 of the car: HKJ for Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is car No. 1M1802 and on the date of the assassination attempt it was almost exactly one year old.

A commercial stock photo of the damaged Daimler is here.
Reuters/Screenocean has a small film about the event (Daimler at 0:43).


London Nursing Homes 1972     London Nursing Homes 1972    

On September 1st, 1972, The London Nursing Homes Ltd. at New Cross Road in London took delivery of this limousine MBY605L. It is vehicle No. 1M2250.

The photo was taken around 1971/1972 by Charley Seavey from the USA, who kindly gave permission to use it here. It shows the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

The car PFS12G on this photo is vehicle No. 1M1111, produced on April 21, 1969, and delivered to Funeral Director Adam Cramond Son in Edinburgh.

    RoyalMile Edinburgh 1971/1972

This is a contemporary photo of car 1M2519, license plate TLC859M. Production date was August 6th 1973, and in October it was sold to the exclusive Berryhurst Car Hire, (then at) Oslo Court, near the Regent's Park in London. A professional photographer would never have let that front wheel turned outward so far.

    Berryhurst Car Hire, London, 1973
NewMDU808F - 1 NewMDU808F - 2    

Limousine MDU808F was built in April 1968, a few months before the official introduction of the model. Jaguar used this car as its "factory demonstrator" car. The first handful of photos on the press photographs page of this website all show the same car. Vehicle number 1M1002, i.e. the 2nd one built.

The photos shown here are not factory press photos. Information on the back of the leftmost photo suggests that it was shot in London. It may have been on the occasion of the visit of King Frederick IX of Denmark to London, for the Danish week Denmark in Britain in April 1968. Both photos have been combined here because the passenger next to the driver seems to be the same person.


Embed from Getty Images

This is photo no. 950006212 from Getty Images, and it is shown by courtesy of Getty's embed-mechanism for non-commercial websites. Getty's caption is in French and erroneously labels the cars as Rolls Royces, but translated and corrected the caption text is:
"In the courtyard of Guildhall, London's Town Hall, the Daimlers of the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth countries are assembled for the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on June 7th, 1977 in London, United Kingdom".
Photographer is Philippe Achache, Gamma/Rapho. Shown are 20 DS420 limousines.

Fellow DS420 enthusiast Muslim Gedygushev from Moscow pointed this photo out to me. Click to see his own cars.


The following photos were taken at two different occasions. The photo to the right is most probably from some UK-based motorshow, while the two photos below were most probably taken at a motorshow in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The two cars involved are approximately of the same age: they have the hinged rear side window (i.e. after summer 1972) and they have the round D-insignia on the air inlet on the front (i.e. before fall 1974). Note the absence of the Flying D bonnet ornament on the "continental" car on the photo below.
Also note the position of the screen wipers. It shows whether a car is LHD or RHD. In rest, the top of the wipers is on the side of the driver.

    some UK motorshow
motorshow, probably Amsterdam     motorshow, probably Amsterdam

The following collection of 20 contemporary photos was contributed from the Flickr photo hosting account of "Trigger's Retro Road Tests". They are shown here with his kind permission. "Trigger" describes the origin of this collection as follows: "I was recently very kindly given a disc of [more than 1100] old car show photos from the mid to late 70's which were found on glass slides in a skip and then scanned to disc". Below are the DS420s from this collection. Most photos are shot in the Ipswitch area.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking. The enlarged photos are chained together to allow the entire series to be followed by clicking through.

The photos are sorted by age as derived from the license plate. Most probably, these photos were taken while the cars were quite new. The first row has letters 'G' and 'H', which dates those cars in 1968/69 and 1969/70. Please note that a certain letter was used from August until July in the next year. Full license numbers of the cars shown are LXJ66G, NNA423H and NPV338H. The factory sales notes show that hearse chassis LXJ66G was sold new in April 1968, to the Coop Funeral Service in Luton, to be bodied by Woodall Nicholson. It was car no. 1M1003H, which means that it was the 3rd DS420 from the production line, and it was the very first hearse chassis. The production of the DS420 officially started in the late summer of 1968, so this hearse can very well be considered to be a pre-production model. The fourth car in this row has no visible license number, but it has the double chrome waist line which dates it before summer 1971.

hearse LXJ66G limo NNA423H limo NPV338H limo license not visible

The first car in the next row, YHW399J, has letter 'J', which is for 1970/71. It was manufactured in August 1970 and sold to Funeral Directors "R. Davies & Son" in Bristol. The factory notes describe the colour as "Black over Rolls Shell gray". The three photos next to it all show the same hearse, LBJ772K. The 'K' is for 1971/72:

limo YHW399J hearse LBJ772K hearse LBJ772K hearse LBJ772K

Next are four different cars: LBJ774K, CPV1L, ORT566M and GPV14N. The letters 'K' through 'N' are for 1971/72 - 1974/75. Car CPV1L may have been the mayoral car of Ipswitch. From the factory sales notes I could derive that car GPV14N was sold new in August 1974 to the Ipswitch Coop Soc. Ltd.

limo LBJ774K limo CPV1L hearse ORT566M limo GPV14N

The fourth row starts with the same car as the last one in the row above: GPV14N. Next are GBJ465N, LRT664P and KYL430P. 'N' is for 1974/75 and 'P' is 1975/76. Note that the third photo is shot at the same location as the third photo in the row above, but it shows a different car. The same is true for the first and the last picture in the next row.

limo GPV14N limo GBJ465N hearse LRT664P hearse KYL430P

The last row starts with two photos of hearse UNB638S ('S' for 1977/78). The next car has a personal license plate, CSG1, which is for the Commonwealth Secretary General. This car has the rubber block bumpers, so it dates from after November 1976. Several DS420 limos have carried that number in time sequence; the last one in the factory notes is from November 1982. A comment on the Flickr photo site states that the number is still in use, and shows a recent photo with a high end BMW carrying it. The very last photo is from a car exhibition and thus that car has no license yet. Vaguely visible is a show plate with the BLMC logo and the word 'Limousine'. But it has the wide boot lid combined with the chrome overriders on the bumper, so it dates between mid 1975 and mid 1976.

hearse UNB638S hearse UNB638S limo CSG1 limo in car show

The Co-op Funeral Services were by far the biggest customer for the DS420 limousines and hearses. In 1994 a gathering was organised at the SECC (Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre) in Glasgow. I counted 26 DS420 limousines and 15 DS420 hearses on these photos: 41 total. Most probably this was the largest collection of DS420 cars that ever came together: approx. 1% of the total DS420 production. Note that the production of the DS420 was already terminated two years earlier. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Coop gathering Glasgow 1994
Coop gathering Glasgow 1994

This image to the right probably is a movie still shot. Since the interior of the building does not look especially luxurious, and all cars seem to have number plates, this must be the garage of one of the larger limousine hire companies such as Camelot Cars or Avis Rent a Car (see a similar shot of the Daimler Hire garage here).

The front of these cars shows chrome bumpers. The leftmost car has round air-inlets, and the two cars next to it have rectangular air-inlets and orange lights above the bumper. Rectangular air-inlets were introduced in fall 1979, and the orange lights moved elsewhere with the introduction of the rubber bumpers in 1987.

Hire Garage


LarryMartinFactory Daimler Benz 1978    

In 1978 the French guitarist Larry Martin and his "Larry Martin Factory" Folk Rock band released a (vinyl) record album titled Larry Martin Factory Daimler Benz. Some illustrator obviously didn't know the difference between a Daimler and a Benz and the resulting cover illustration of the record is shown here.

In 1970 the first DS420 was sold to a French customer: car 1M20028. When this record appeared in 1978 no other French delivery has taken place. So, if this illustration was produced in France, the car in this picture may very well have been this 1M20028. The number indicates that it was a left-hand drive car, the 28'th produced.

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