The Daimler DS420 Limousine



This web site  shows a collection of documentation on the DS420 Daimler limousine and hearse.

The basic lay-out of this site was designed in 2001. Unfortunately, it does not show well on small screens.

  logo (3kB)  


  Click here for instructions. 
Please note that all parts catalogues, workshop manuals etc. are stored as scanned images, and thus do not participate in this search facility.

This "last of the real limousines" was built by Daimler from 1968 until 1992. Many small changes were incorporated during these 25 years. They allow the actual age of a car to be determined quite accurately just from its external appearance.

The (English) Daimler company was founded in Coventry, England in 1893. It was named after the German inventor Gottlieb Daimler, but never had any business relationship with other car manufacturing companies such as Austro Daimler or Daimler Benz. Jaguar bought the Daimler company in 1960. By all means, commercial and technical, the Daimler DS420 qualifies as a Jaguar car.

Most body panels for the DS420 were manufactured by Motor Panels, and the body was assembled by Park Sheet Metal, both in Coventry. Until 1979, the bare body was then shipped to VandenPlas in Kingsbury, London for the final assembly. In late 1979, when VandenPlas closed, the final assembly came to Jaguar's Browns Lane site where a group of specialist craftsmen continued to build this car virtually by hand. The average production was less than one car per day.

4141 of these limousines were built, and another 903 cars were delivered in chassis-only form to the hearse manufacturers Wilcox, Eagle Specialist Vehicles, Woodall Nicholson, Alpe&Saunders, and Thomas Startin Jr.

The clientele was very mixed: limousine rental companies such as Hertz/Daimler Hire and Avis bought this car in large quantities. It was equally popular with funeral companies. and the Co-op Funeral Services were the single largest customer. The Regent hotel in Hong Kong was another large customer, with over 20 of these cars. But it was also bought for Heads of State, Ministries of Defence (the car could be equipped with kevlar armour plating) and many other Government agencies through the entire Commonwealth. The late British Queen Mother had six of these cars consecutively, and the British Royal Mews had three DS420 limousines in active service. The Royal Courts of Danmark and Sweden and the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg also have this model in active service. Former users are the courts of Spain, Belgium, Monaco, Morocco, Jordania, Bahrein, and many presidents. Captains of industry and wealthy private persons were another customer population. The most eccentric customer was the American billionaire Howard Hughes. He had a very special interior fitted, including a toilet under the rear bench.

Two cars were factory-built as landaulettes: one for the Governor General of the West Indies in Jamaica, and one for the President of Sudan. These landaulettes were the most expensive cars ever in the BLMC price list.

The DS420 is now very popular in the wedding hire business. The spacious interior is ideal for brides with large dresses, or it can carry many bridesmaids. There are currently over 100 wedding companies showing a DS420 on their web sites. Many wedding cars are converted to landaulettes. Most new cars were sold in black. Black over Carlton grey was another popular combination. But black cars are hard to find nowadays; most wedding cars now carry a two tone combination of light colours.

The price at its introduction in 1968 was £sd 4424.9.5 (UK market, sales tax included). The last cars in 1992 had a sales price of £ 45,000.-, and the difference corresponds to a sustained price increment of 10% per year. This inflation was not equally spread: from 1973 to 1976 the price doubled, and it doubled again in the next three years.

The drivers affectionately nicknamed this model "the Old Lady". In general they were unhappy with the comfort in the driver's compartment: narrow, noisy, stuffy and hot. Until twin seats were introduced in 1984, the driver's bench could not be adjusted at all. The steering column can move inward and outward over three inch approx., spanning the range between "too close" and "much too close".

The biggest enemy of the car is rust. It is tin worm food! This makes it expensive to keep it in good condition.


Almost all material shown on this site is currently out of print. However, it is acknowledged that certain Trademarks and Copyrighted Materials used on this site are the property of Jaguar Cars Ltd, England.
The information is provided here for the purpose of personal enjoyment only, in the hope that it helps interested enthusiasts to keep as many as possible of the remaining DS420 cars in good and working order.
All technical and commercial documentation must be considered as a reproduction of historic documents only. Jaguar Cars Ltd is not responsible for any information provided on this site. Check with an authorised Jaguar dealer for the latest authoritative information on your subject.
    Navigation: many pages on this site have an outline drawing of the DS420 in the upper right corner. Click on it to step one level up in the hierarchy of pages.
    The structural design of these webpages dates from 2001 and has not changed since. It does not adapt well to small screens. The site is best viewed on a landscape oriented display, e.g. a laptop.
This site is a non-commercial hobby project of Hendrik-Jan Thomassen < > It is powered by Apache on Linux  Tux  Your feedback is appreciated (English, Deutsch, Français, Nederlands).