Daimler DS420 Converted cars


  logo (1.7kB)
Jaguar mockup (13kB)  

From the very first days, the classic lines of the DS420 have inspired people to unleash their own creativity and to design distinctively different variations. Already before the first launch, VandenPlas and Jaguar came up with a mock-up study for a shortened four-door saloon version.

Almost 25 years later, Brian Long wrote an article in the Jaguar Quarterly journal (Summer 1991) on plans to revive this design. Click here to read.


Along the same lines, Tony Porter of Melbourne, Australia, came up with a study for a two-door version of the DS420, scaled back to the dimensions of the original 420G floor pan. As with the Jaguar mock-up, this project never left his initial brainstorming phase... But Bob Boston in Atlanta USA took up the challenge and produced a really handsome car!

  Porter-1 mock up (11kB)   Porter-2 mock up (11kB)
Inimitable (23kB)   

the Inimitable Limo: 24" longer than long....
Jill Handford, of Southfields, London, had this DS420 (FIL4118) stretched by 24 inches, and converted the interior to the "american" limousine style, with J-shaped bench, high-tech image and sound equipment, etcetera.

This car was offered for sale at H&H Classic Auctions in May 2006, but it did not sell. It was offered for sale on eBay in August 2006, and eventually sold by R&J Cars.

The above DS420 was not the only one to be stretched. The following photos show a car that was offered for sale on eBay in November 2012: stretched DS420
stretched DS420 stretched DS420

On May 2nd, 2002, the BBC broadcast an episode of its "Panic Mechanics" series. Two teams competed to convert two abandoned DS420 hearses into dune buggies. And they became very handsome buggies indeed!

Photos: John Lakey.

Race0   Race2   Race3
The design of the green buggy "Freed Spirit" was from Edd China, who in those days specialized in all kinds of spectacular conversions, such as a street-legal sofa, a motorised bathroom, and many more. The yellow car was designed by Paul Burnham of Burnham Autos.   Build   Crushed
Franay Bentley-like   Franay Bentley-like  

An American conversion in Art Deco style: the so called "Franay Bentley" inspired Nate Seifert from Utah, USA, to convert his DS420 in similar style. In the late thirties of the last century this Art Deco design style of (mainly) French "carrossiers" such as Franay, Figoni et Falaschi and Saoutchik made a big impact on wealthy customers in France and in the USA alike. Efforts to revive this style after WWII, e.g. with an exhibition in Paris in 1947 for which the Franay Bentley was conceived, did not last long.

Starting from a 1971 DS420 limousine, Nate Seifert extended the tip of the bonnet with 6 inches, and lowered the front bumper with the same amount. Then the front wings were shaped and mounted, which required widening the bumpers as well. Four large wheel covers completed the design; the two rear ones nicely blending in with the flowing body lines. The project took 7 years to complete: build, tear down, redo.....

The original engine was replaced with a Chevrolet 350 and corresponding transmission. To cope with the lowered panels and the increased weight an airbag suspension was added.

Photos contributed in 2012. Click an image to enlarge.

Franay Bentley-like   Franay Bentley-like  

Mr. Vaćlav Kafka from Prague (Czech Republic) converted a DS420 into a 2-door cabrio. This was done in his own workshop.

Some photos shown here were kindly provided by Mr. Kafka; others were taken from the auction web page when the car was offered for sale in May 2015.

V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague
V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague
V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague V.Kafka, Prague
limo to cabrio limo to cabrio  

A big step beyond the conversion to landaulette is to make a limo into a full cabrio. One wonders how the structural stiffness of the body can be maintained without welding the doors shut. The DS420 was delivered in chassis-only form to hearse building companies. But that bare chassis did need extra support. Note how in this picture and this picture a horizontal beam is mounted temporarily half-way up in the opening of the rear doors. And the roof line is kept intact, even though the rear half of that roof line would disappear during the actual conversion to a hearse.

hearse to cabrio hearse to cabrio  

Delarey Wagener, an art director and set builder in Los Angeles (originally: South Africa) converted a DS420 hearse into a cabrio for the movie "The Prisoner"


Bob Boston from Atlanta, Georgia, USA converted a DS420 hearse to a flowercar in the style of the sumptuous gangster funerals in Chicago in the 30's of the last century. Bob owns a company that converts people carrier vans for use by handicapped people, and thus is a professional car converter. It shows...

The little "bubble car" on the back is another icon from his collection: a 1965 Peel Trident, made on the Isle of Man. Only 80 made.

The DS420 landaulette on the photo is also part of his collection of approx. half a dozen superb DS420 cars that is shown on his Cars&Owners page.

Bob sold the car in June 2010. A few month later, the new owner offered it for sale on eBay.

More photos of this pickup truck are in the galleries section.

flowercar flowercar
flowercar flowercar flowercar flowercar

Just like limousines are converted to landaulettes, people convert hearses to pick-up trucks. Bob Boston's example shown above is not the only one. The following pictures appeared on an eBay page in January 2016, selling this conversion which was done in the UK.

hearse to pickup UK hearse to pickup UK hearse to pickup UK
hearse to pickup UK hearse to pickup UK hearse to pickup UK hearse to pickup UK

Another movie conversion was for the "Cirque du Freak". No structural changes, but a lot of extra bling. Luckily, they could start with a very early limo, which already had the wide chrome side strip. The photos are from the eBay page where this car was offered for sale in January 2016 (click to enlarge).

movie Cirque du Freak movie Cirque du Freak movie Cirque du Freak movie Cirque du Freak

Back to the indexHomepage.