Working on the Hooper body

In the last six months we have been working on the body and interior of the Daimler – involving a lot of dismantling, a lot of close inspection and a whole range of decision-making.
The Royal Daimler is a coach built vehicle – the chassis, engine and running gear were built by Daimler, while the body, interior and final fit out was carried out by the coachbuilders Hooper and Co.
Just as much painstaking detail has gone into dismantling the Hooper-built component, as has gone into the original build. As we have peeled away the layers, we have gained a detailed understanding of the construction method and materials used to create this vehicle, as well as insight into the demands faced by Hooper and Co. to make vehicles fit for a Royal tour.

Conserving the Royal Daimler at the National Museum Australia

Nathan Pharaoh and Ian Stewart removing the rear landaulette “hood” for full examination, documentation of its construction and decisions on treatment.

Some of the components are in really good condition, others in really quite poor condition. This is partly due to the materials used and their inherent durability, but it has also been affected by the life history of the vehicle. Faced with such extremes in condition, we have had to really balance our options for retaining original materials (the preferred course of action) and replacing components that are badly deteriorated, with a view to creating a coherent whole in the end. Quite challenging at times! At each decision point we carefully weigh up significance, condition, functionality and the availability of the skills to do the work.

Royal Daimler Interior Cabin Light

Interior cabin light in beautiful condition.


Armrest from the Royal Daimler

The armrests,not so much.

We have been making great progress and will be sharing before and after treatment information on the:
Dash panels    Armrests   Seats   Carpets   Wiring   Interior lights    Handles    Switches  Window motors  Doors

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Ticking Over

We recently had conservator and horologist, Peter Bucke, come in to work on the instruments on the Daimler dashboards – there is one in each of the front and rear compartments. Its great to see the Daimler clock now back in action.

Conservator's eye view - Peter Bucke getting to grips with the delicate workings of the Daimler Clock.

Peter Bucke getting to grips with the delicate workings of the Daimler Clock

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Fanfare needed! The Daimler is running … and it purrs

We have been wanting to tell you about this for a while … but even better … you can now see it for yourselves.

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Still here and wishing you all the best for the Christmas and New Year holidays

The Daimler project has been a bit silent recently. I would like to say we have been working on being mysterious but that would be only part of the story. As you know we work on a lot of different objects and we have had to give the Paddle Steamer Enterprise a lot of TLC lately. We are also proud to report that the National Museum’s Model T Ford Truck – the Aeroplane Jelly truck – is now on display in Canberra airport. And it is getting a lot of visitors. Continue reading

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Testing Testing

National Museum of Australia Royal Daimler project

Ken Houlahan and Ian Stewart securing the starter motor to the engine.

Shortly after the installation of the engine’s crankshaft, the team here at the National Museum got busy bolting on the auxiliary engine components with the aim of reuniting the vehicle’s engine to the newly treated chassis.

But before the engine is installed, we need to carry out a few leak tests and pressure tests.

Continue reading

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Mixed Feelings and a Very Big Engine

It's a big engine - ready to be fitted into the chassis.


It was with both a sense of regret and considerable excitement, that the Large Technology team completed the assembly of the motor for the Daimler. Continue reading

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New Year, New Conservator, Forward Planning

Nathan Pharaoh, Large Technology Conservator and Prue Castles, Senior Objects Conservator examining damaged areas of paint on the Daimler body

Happy New Year.

Work is continuing on the Royal Daimler and we are hoping to provide more updates in the coming weeks. We have made progress with the engine and more detailed planning for work on the body is gearing up. Continue reading

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The Queen is in town

When the Queen Came to Town, poster

When the Queen Came to Town, poster

It was 1954, post depression, post World War II and the visit of the young and beautiful Queen Elizabeth transfixed the nation. Continue reading

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Testing, testing

Crankshaft test fit.


The much-awaited test fit of the crankshaft has happened. Ian Stewart has fitted it, checked and blueprinted the bearing oil clearances and the thrust clearance. All clearances have been set to standard Daimler specifications. The new main bearing has been line bored to suit these specifications. Continue reading

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A bit like Christmas

There was much excitement amongst the Daimler team when a large package arrived from Crankshaft Rebuilders – a bit like kids on Christmas morning. Continue reading

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