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Forces War Records Blog


Blogger: GemSen I was just looking through some old wartime materials the other day and being a bit of a car fan couldn't help but notice a rather dapper picture of Winston Churchill in the Daimler that he used during the Second World War. Coincidently, I heard the news a few days later about the recent sale of this historic car... Apparently, the Daimler in question sold for a massive £400,000 at an online auction and the ironic twist in the story, reported by the Daily Mail, was that the car was sold from Germany! I wonder what Churchill would have said about that? I can imagine some quotes... Churchill was pictured frequently on the hood of the Daimler addressing the crowds of wartime Britain, so the car is pretty unique, but what makes it even more exclusive is that it is the only known surviver of its type. Daimler had planned to make 23 of the models, but only eight were completed before war ended production at its Coventry plant. Four were destroyed by bombing of the Daimler factory in the Blitz and one was so badly damaged that it was sold for scrap. With that kind of history you can see why the restored 1939 Daimler DB18 Drophead Coupe sparked such a bidding frenzy on eBay and the final price was around 16 times what most DB18 Dropheads cost. And its gearbox was invented by the co-inventor of the tank... The silver and black historic car is complete with a chocolate coloured folding roof and a 2.5-litre engine with a 0-60mph time of 17.9 seconds. The DB18 is also fitted with a fluid flywheel mated to a preselector gearbox – which allows the car to sit at a standstill in gear and set off in top. This great system was rare at the time and was a desirable manual transmission of the 1930s. It was created by World War I hero, Major WG Wilson, co-inventor of the tank. Wilson was widely regarded as a genius of gearbox design for his work on the WWI Mark V tank. Drivers considered the pre-selector a pleasure to operate and it was engaged by sliding the shift lever into position (1-2-3-T) and depressing the foot pedal. According to the report the car was sold by the German dealer after its owner, who intended selling it at an Historics auction at Brooklands Museum in Surrey, unexpectedly passed away. How do you think Churchill would have reacted knowing that the car he used during WWII would eventually be sold from Germany? Did you know that the Daimler DB18's gearbox was created by the co-inventor of the tank? Source: Daily Mail. Pictured above is Churchill inspecting a tank taken from the Forces War Records Historic Documents Library. Are you interested in looking through wartime publications and historic documents? Visit the Forces War Records site and delve through old newspapers, magazines, manuals and  leaflets from various war periods...
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