Daimler DS420 1984 Office Car


  logo (1.7kB)

In January 1984 the marketing department had limo A601KDV equipped with a load of electronic office equipment and audio, in an attempt to attract more captains of industry as customers for the limousine. A brochure leaflet was printed, a press release was sent out, and publicity was raised. The car, fully equipped, would cost twice as much as an "ordinary" limo would cost at that time. Although the marketing department consistently called the car the Executive Limousine, it soon was nicknamed the office car.

The Daimler press release consisted of three texts, and two to four photographs: 321563 (car A601KDV in front of earthen wall), and the interior photos 321572, 321567 and 321574. These photos are shown below, and in higher resolution on the press photographs page of this site. Not all copies of the press release contained all four photos. First we show the -extremely rare- brochure leaflet:

executive brochure    executive brochure

In October 1984 the German magazine Auto Motor Klassik ran an article on this car. This article, shown on our web page with non-English magazine articles (view it here), has a very clear overview photograph of the car's interior, in colour.

More magazine articles on this car were published, which proves that it did quite a good job as a publicity generator. View articles here (English) and here (German). Some of these show the car with a different license number: A930KHP. The German article shows two photos with actress Chloe Smillie "operating" the computers, and another photo from that session by photographer Bill Cross can still be licensed as image ID 2168981a from the Shutterstock Photo Agency. Unfortunately the caption on that Shutterstock page has a somewhat mutilated indication of the price of the limo, which was £ 49,000.- A standard limo in those days would cost £ 25,994.31 Above the rear side window, between the reading lamp and the head of the actress, is an unknown object that intrigues me....

Now let's look at the press release text. It consists of three sets. The front pages are shown here below. Clicking on one of them shows that page in an enlarged form, with further click-points to step through all three sets sequentially. All three texts were A4 format sheets, stapled together. Note the wide line spacing, to facilitate the scribbling and editing that any editor would want to do with these handouts.


The first set (3 pages) is an announcement for the new car. Second (2 pages) is a general story, hailing the fact that up till now more than 3330 limousines have been produced (a number that, in reality, would only be reached two years later). Third (3 pages) is a "technical specification", including this list of the electronic equipment fitted:


Does anybody, computer professional or not, still remember what a 1984 Epson HX20 computer was like? The JHT archive still has a copy of the User's Manual of the Deskmaster 2 word processing software that came with it. And a radio-telephone was, at that time, a gadget that cost at least a handful of thousands of pounds, and brought you some 5 kilos of hardware.
There was no fax machine, contrary to what many uninformed sources on the Internet state.

press1 press2 press3

The late David Adcock, patron of the Daimler and Lanchester Owners' Club, made the following photos (click to enlarge) when he came across this car in a local showroom: "Leatherland Business Equipment" in Nottingham. Christian Demler forwarded them to me from David's estate.

OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo
OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo
OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo OfficeCar photo

David Earl Assoc. press release David Earl Associates from Wellingborough, Northans., charged £ 11.000,- for the equipment including the installation. A 12V= to 220V~ converter was used to power the equipment, and this was generally considered to be a very unlucky design for reasons of stability. In those days, computer equipment was highly sensitive to this. David Earl Assoc. even produced a small promotional video for the project. A 1984 magazine article mentions the existence of this video. Has anybody ever seen it?

Text and photographs of Jaguar's press release (except the technical part) were reprinted almost entirely in the Jaguar Journal of Spring 1984. But because this journal addressed the American market, the last phrases needed a subtle change. Where the office car text ends with The fully equipped version with all features listed above is priced at £49,000 including car tax of £3,277.59 and VAT £6,391.30, the article tells us: The fully equipped version with all features listed above is priced at $69,000 in the UK. And the general text has as an extra phrase at the end: The new Executive Limousine is not currently offered in the U.S. The rest is a verbatim copy.

article article article
The Daimler Limousine
Fred Browne
the Ejag News Magazine
April 1984

The next article, of American origin, is much more distant than the one in the Jaguar Journal. The author tries to create his own story, although he clearly starts from the same press package, including the standard photographs. But phrases like ".. and so far, only one or two have been produced" show that the author has not been into direct contact with people involved at the Daimler works. The entire article assumes that the executive limousine will soon be sold in quantities on the US market.

Ejag News Magazine p1. (10.5kB) Ejag News Magazine p2. (9kB)   Ejag News Magazine p3. (10.5kB)   Ejag News Magazine p4. (3kB)

In October 1984, a satirical article on the office car was published by the Punch magazine (who else...). It depicts a business tycoon, about to start "just another day at the office", but "the office" won't start: Koff-koff-koff...

Below left to right: press photos 321567, 321572 and 321574. Click to enlarge.

   tycoon story 1   tycoon story 2    1984 photo (13kB)
Office Car Interior 321567 - 1984 Office Car Interior 321572 - 1984 Office Car Interior 321574 - 1984   

Around November 1984 it was decided that the car had served its promotional purpose, but it had not found a buyer. The car was then "gutted" and rebuilt and sold as a standard vehicle. For the records: this was car SADDWATL3AC200407, official production date October 07, 1983.

Several places on the Internet mix up this office car with a DS420 limo that was built for Sir John Egan, Jaguar's CEO. But that was a different (1987) car, without any office equipment apart from a mobile telephone. See it here.

American Quarterly office car

Back to the indexHomepage.