Daimler DS420 Various technical illustrations


  logo (1.7kB)

This web page shows various technical illustrations. Many of these are separate handouts that were added to the Owner's Manual, but we start with a brochure from the Park Sheet Metal Company:

ParkSheetMetal-p1   ParkSheetMetal-p5
ParkSheetMetal-p2 ParkSheetMetal-p3 ParkSheetMetal-p4
   This beautiful 1987 brochure from the Park Sheet Metal Company of Coventry shows, among other models, DS420 body shells in production.

The pages can be enlarged by clicking.

The brochure has publication No. 2M/4.87


According to the book Daimler and Lanchester by Brian Long, Park Sheet Metal assembled the bodies of the DS420 before they were transported to the VandenPlas works in London/Kingsbury. VandenPlas did the final assembly to make them ready for sale (until all production was moved to Jaguar in Coventry in 1979). Body parts were supplied to PSM by Motor Panels of Coventry and by Pressed Steel Fisher. Also. PSM had built the very first (three) prototypes of the car in 1967/68. This brochure dates from 1987, which is 20 years later (and 8 years after the VandenPlas works closed); but it states that PSM is still involved in producing the DS420 body shells.

A thumbnail photo of (early) parts manufacturing at Motor Panels of Coventry is accessible via the archive search facility of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust at Gaydon: see it here. The reference code for this picture is: Nick Baldwin Collection NBP~2483~002.


During a visit to the Browns Lane factory, Stuart Holmes took these photos of newly produced limousines and (hearse) chassis, awaiting their dispatch. Stuart's Jaguar 420G is on the pictures as well. Unfortunately, the original colors of the images have suffered. But the scene is very interesting nevertheless.

The cars have the rubber bumpers which were introduced in 1987. They still have the pressed steel wheels which were replaced by alloy ones in the same year: 1987.

Click the illustrations to enlarge.

   Browns Lane 1987    Browns Lane 1987
Autocar Cutaway (32kB)    The Autocar magazine was famous for its "cutaway" drawings of cars. This one first appeared in an article of June 13, 1968 (see it on the page with magazine articles of this web site). Note that June 11, 1968 was the official introduction of the DS420. This drawing was republished e.g. in the Autocar of Oct. 17, 1968. The latter issue was especially devoted to the "cutaways" and showed a large number of them over several pages.

Click the illustration to enlarge it.

Bodyshell view    Here is the real thing! The car shown has the rectangular air inlets, so it dates from after 1979. This photo must have been taken at Jaguar's, or at Park Sheet Metal.

Click the illustration to enlarge it.


These crash test photographs show a very early body, with a rear side window of the wind-down type. The chrome air vents below the inner headlights are interesting: they show the large V as was present on this same grille when mounted on the Majestic Major: the V8-equipped predecessor of the DS420. This V is a detachable piece on that grille, and it was left off for the final production of the DS420. I assume that that V on the photos indicates that this crash tested body was indeed a very early one, if not even a pre production prototype.

The horizontal bar in the middle behind the grille of the car is a strange element. It was never present in production cars. Another difference is that production cars had the bottom edge of the grille behind the bumper, instead of above it. The bad fit between the grille and the bonnet also suggests that this grille was a preliminary one.

These tests were conducted at the Crash Laboratory of MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Association in Nuneaton near Coventry. This MIRA crash laboratory opened in 1968 and thus was brand new at the time these photos were taken.

crash test 1967/68
crash test 1967/68 crash test 1967/68
crash test 1967/68 crash test 1967/68
crash test 1967/68 crash test 1967/68
crash test 1967/68 crash test 1967/68

The overriders on the front bumper look like they came from the Jaguar Mark X. The bonnet of the Mark X hinges at the front, and thus its overriders point upward/forward like cow horns, as the pre-crash photo of the right side of the car clearly shows (2nd row, left photo). This probably caused the front bumper to fold downward as it did at the impact, as can be seen on the various post-crash photos.

The photos of the driver's compartment, clearly meant to determine the deformation of the steering column, suggest that the front window survived the crash without damage, and even stayed in position.

On the last photo you may notice how the round emblem carriers dropped off the centre of the round air inlet grilles. A little pillar on their back passes through the grille and a clip nut secures it from behind. Trying to get them off by normal means invariably damages your fingers; it is surprising that the impact managed to detach them so successfully.

crash test 1967/68

The web-page with production figures shows how the limousines and hearses changed to a 6-digit serial number format halfway through 1979. This was part of the international Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) format adopted by manufacturers world wide. The table below picks out the codes most common for DS420 limos, but you may have to enlarge the chart to find the explanation of other code letters.

1-3Manufacturer Ident.: SAD=Daimler, SAJ=Jaguar
In April 1987, Jaguar started using SAJ, even on Daimler Limousines.
4Vehicle Marque: D=Daimler
5Model Range: W=Limousine
6Class: A=Baseline spec, V,Y=USA spec.
7Body: T=4 dr.Limo, W=4 dr.hearse
8Engine variant: L=4.2
9Transmission/Steering: 3=Auto/RHS, 4=Auto/LHS
or in Canada, USA & Korea: Year of built code
A=Limo model
11pre '87: C=Browns Lane Plant;
after '87 Emission control info
12-17Serial No.: from 200001=limo, from 400001=hearse
  VIN number chart

This chart has publication No. JMM 2499 3.

The RTC9887CD Parts Catalogue from 1985 states in its introduction that the VIN-prefix for hearse-chassis is DWAZL3AC; according to the chart shown here it would have been DWAWL3AC.

Click here for a tabular overview of all DS420 numbers.

lubrication p1. (13kB)    This lubrication chart/poster was added to many early Owner's Manuals. It measures 54×45 cm. The one shown here has publication No. E.1017/4, and is copyrighted in 1972. It has the note: Printed by Haynes Clark & Co., Ltd., 176 Gooch Street, Birmingham, B5 7HE.

If you click on the picture, you get a large version (61kB), but even there the texts may not be easily readable. Therefore you can view the three columns separately here:

An earlier edition of this lubrication chart, publication No. E.1017/3 (slightly larger than the above one: 56×49 cm.) has the same drawing, and the same text in the Recommended Lubricants column. The text in the leftmost column Routine Maintenance is different.

Around 1973 the Borg Warner 8 automatic gearbox was succeeded by the BW12. The Owner's Manual 1038/1 from 1974 covers this BW12. The Operating Details leaflet shown here was additional to the edition before that.
Publication No. of the B&W leaflet: E.1037/1, the white/red leaflet has no publication number.

BW12 p1a. (15kB)
BW12 p1. (17kB) BW12 p2. (16kB)
BW12 p3. (11kB) BW12 p4. (4kB)

At about the same time, the carburettors changed from SU-HD8 to SU-H.S.8. This leaflet was added to the Owner's Manual before its printing was adapted to the new carburettor. It applies to cars with engine numbers from 7M2503 (which was late Spring 1973).
No publication number.

HS8 p1. (5kB) HS8 p2. (3kB)
This leaflet, publ. No. AKM 3969, is also about the carburettors:
carb p1. (4kB)

This publication (no publ.No. listed) came with a 1978 limousine sold in London. It describes the use of the airco unit in the rear compartment:

Airco p1. (6kB) Airco p2. (6kB) Airco p3. (5.5kB)
Airco p4. (7kB) Airco p5. (4.8kB) Airco p6. (6kB)
new boot lid

The JDHT provided a few photos focusing on technical details. One shows the new boot lid with the long handle. The other two show the steering lock key area.

The exact date of these photos is hard to determine. The long boot lid handle was introduced in the summer of 1975.

The steering colomn lock was first added in Sept. 1969 on chassis no. 1M1206 RHD and 1M20002 LHD, the earliest DS420s have an ignition key lock (in the centre of the dashboard) only. My guess is that these two photos were published to accompany the introduction of that steering lock. As such, these steering lock photos (1969) are much older than the boot lid photo (1975).

keys keys

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