Being successful in the car manufacturing industry is never guaranteed, so it takes a lot of determination to keep moving forward. Daimler are remembered as one of the most influential car manufacturers of all time, even if the company no longer exists as an independent entity. This is down to their early models being well designed. At one point, Daimler had a royal warrant to create cars for the British monarchy.
We’re looking into the history of the company to see how it developed over time.
Originally, Daimler was started after Frederick Richard Simms saw Gottlieb Daimler’s railcars at the Bremen Exhibition in 1889. The two of them partnered up, with Simms introducing Daimler’s cars to England in 1890. After seeing success with their engines, Simms opened up a car factory in 1895.
Investor Harry John Lawson set out to monopolise car production in Britain, with him approaching Simms to buy the rights to Daimler. After lengthy negotiations, Simms sold his portion and Lawson founded the Daimler Motor Company in 1896.
The first cars were produced in 1897, being fitted with Panhard and Daimler engines. The company started to suffer from financial difficulties, eventually leading to Lawson resigning from the board of directors. The new chairman, Henry Sturmey, was also replaced after a couple of years.
Despite instability within Daimler, the company was still able to secure a royal warrant. This came about in 1902 when King Edward VII awarded Daimler the privilege of producing cars for the monarchy. The bond between the royal family and Daimler deepened through the head of the London depot, Undecimus Stratton. He became a motoring companion to the king and the royal warrant lasted until the 1950s.
In 1910, Daimler merged with the Birmingham Small Arms Company. By the time of WW1, Daimler produced vehicles for the war effort, including armoured cars, lorries and ambulances. Military production continued in WW2, with a common model being the Dingo scout car.
After the war, Daimler started producing limos for embassies across Europe. There was a boom in sales from several foreign monarchs, such as the Queen of the Netherlands, King of Thailand, Prince of Monaco and Emperor of Ethiopia.
March towards modernity
In the 1960s, Daimler was bought up by Jaguar Cars, merging the brands together. Memorable cars to come out of this period was the six-cylinder Majestic and 1964 SP250. Daimler passed into the hands of other companies, including British Leyland and Ford.
The Ford ownership ran from 1989 to 2007, with India’s Tata Group stepping in to takeover. Since 2008, there have been talks of relaunching Daimler as a luxury car brand, but nothing has manifested yet. As an old British car brand, it’s only a matter of time before the name is used again.
Image credit: classicandperformancecar.com