A Royal commission
A little while ago, the Museum was lucky to acquire some archival material which sheds some more light on our Daimler’s early years. Thanks to a vigilant enthusiast who alerted me when it came on the market last year, we were able to get hold of the original file created by London coachbuilders Hooper and Company when they were building our Daimler in 1948. Even at first glance when the files landed on my desk, my suspicions were confirmed – creating such a masterpiece was no mean feat.
In the first half of the twentieth century most vehicles were custom-made in two distinct parts – whilst Daimler provided the car’s powerful engine and chassis, they also co-ordinated the creation of the body by prestigious coachbuilders Hooper and Co. Coachbuilders were, as their name suggests, crafty companies who were able to turn their trade to fabricating motor cars as the demand for horse-drawn vehicles diminished. It seems the Australian government’s order required a host of modifications to Hooper’s standard plans to better suit their ceremonial use. Seats were higher to raise the royal occupant above the level of the crowd, and the King especially requested that the landau (hood) fold down almost flat to allow a better view of his profile. You couldn’t fail to be impressed by this long, elegant car – as the file records, no expense was spared on either the workmanship or materials. It also contains unique technical drawings and vehicle specifications which provide invaluable information for our conservators when undertaking treatment on the Daimler.
The original technical drawing for our Daimler, created by Hooper and Co. in 1948. You can see the King's modifications to the landau and rear side window in red ink (Photo: Laura Breen)
Have any other vintage car owners found the original technical drawings useful in deciding how to approach conservation treatment?
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