The Daimler marque is one of the forgotten members of the British sports car boom of the ’50s and ’60s. Sure, we all know about MG and Triumph, but Daimler is much better remembered for the plush versions of Jaguar sedans that came later than the brand’s foray into performance models. The obscurity is unfortunate in this case because underneath the offbeat exterior is a fantastic little roadster. A freshly restored example now has a place in Jay Leno’s Garage.
Leno bought his 1962 SP250 sight unseen, and he has taken a few years to revitalize it with some modern upgrades, like better brakes and a Tremec five-speed gearbox. The car’s weird styling remains, though, with a protruding face up front and fins at the rear. In any case, the real substance here is underneath the hood with Daimler’s own 2.5-liter, hemi V8, and once Leno takes it on a drive you wonder why this engine isn’t more famous. It has a fantastic burble under throttle that really stirs the soul.
Unfortunately, the drive in this clip is Leno’s very first in the Daimler, and it doesn’t go perfectly. Still, this is a chance to learn more about a largely forgotten vintage sports car, and Jay eventually limps home in the SP250 safely.