Deciding to buy an SP250 turned out to be a relatively easy decision. The act of buying one turned out to be a little more difficult. My challenge was that I did not want to buy a running, driving car, I wanted a project car. I wanted something I knew I would enjoy working on, hopefully with my two teenage sons. I have restored several cars previously, and found the experience on the whole to be very enjoyable. I would also have the knowledge that having done most of the work myself it would be done properly.

I started looking at and various Australian car magazines to see what might be out there. Alas nothing at all came up in 12 months of searching. I started looking at what was available in the US. I looked at several cars that were listed on various US web sites. They were mostly pretty dreadful, and ranged from butchered bodywork to dangerously rusted chassis, or missing major components such as the engine. Time was ticking by. It was now mid- 2016. I had to come up with a new approach. Perhaps there was a project car lurking in a shed somewhere in Australia? Given the low production numbers I knew the odds of finding such a car would be low, and even if there was a car hiding somewhere how would I find it? 

One of the biggest British car events, The All British Day, is held each August/September at The Kings School in Parramatta. As it happened it was only weeks away. There is usually a good roll up of Daimler cars including a dozen or so SP250’s. Perhaps I could try and meet some of the owners and see if someone knows of a car for sale? A bit of a long shot, but I had nothing to lose.

Daimlers at the All British Day, The Kings School, Parramatta

Daimlers at the All British Day, The Kings School, Parramatta

The day was clear and sunny, without a breath of wind. Perfect car display day weather. It should be a good turn out. Not wanting to waste any time I arrived early, and straightaway bumped into Tony Pallas, proprietor of All Classic Cars in Brookvale, and got talking - naturally enough - about cars. I have to admit though to being a little preoccupied, as I was itching to head over to the Daimlers.

We were soon joined by another car club friend, Terry Daly, who was was keen for Tony to come and inspect a car that was for sale - a Daimler SP250. I nearly fell over! I couldn't believe that someone else (who I just happened to know) was also looking to buy an SP at the same event.

The car Terry was interested in turned out to be a well-presented, running car, which, while very nice, was not really what I was after. While talking to Terry about what I was looking for he mentioned that there was a chap he knew who had an SP250 project car in his shed, and he might be interested in selling it. There was a good chance he'd be here at the display day later that morning. He'd call me on my mobile if he ran into him and arrange an introduction.

I wandered around the display for the next few hours, wondering if I was going to get a call. It seemed too good to be true. A project car. Would the owner be willing to sell? Nothing ever works out as simple as this. I tried not to get my hopes up.

I got a call from Terry around lunch time to come and meet Warren Cole, the owner of a number of Daimlers, including two SP250s. Yes one of these was a project car, which he'd purchased back in 1985, but decided it was quicker and easier to restore another SP250 instead. As a result the project car had languished in one of his sheds ever since. We made arrangements for me to view the car the following week. I didn't say anything, but the date happened to be my birthday.

It's been quite a few years since I was excited by a birthday, but I couldn't wait for this one. It felt like an eternity, but finally the big day arrived. I headed out with Tony Pallas, who would be tasked with, amongst other things, painting the car, and another car friend Lionel, whose opinion I value. It's a bit like buying a house - there's a lot to take in, it's easy to miss things, and emotions tend to get in the way. What was I going to find?

102631, built on the 4th January 1961, was delivered to Lyons Motors in Singapore in July that year. It was red, with red upholstry. It was imported into Australia in 1974, and was taken off the road in 1975 for repairs - it must have had a frontal collision of some sort as a new nose piece had been fitted. To do that, the body had been removed. So what greeted us when the shed doors were opened was an SP250 body, sitting on a two wheeled dolly, a chassis with most of the running gear in place, and numerous dusty old boxes full of parts.

The body had had a number of repairs over the years, and while it needed a reasonable amount of work, it did not appear to be too bad. The chassis on the otherhand, was a bit of a surprise. Despite having sat around for the past 40 years it was in very good condition, with only minor surface rust. It was however very dusty and dirty, but nothing that coudn't be easily sorted.

Most of the major parts appeared to be there, doors, boot, bonnet, screen and so on. The motor had been rebuilt and refitted to the chassis - I'd need to pull it apart to check anyway, but that could be a bonus.

All in all it was exactly what I was after. It was mostly complete, it appeared to be within my capabilities, and I had the backing of Tony and his team at All Classic Cars for those jobs that may get the better of me. The big attraction for me though is that although the car was over 50 years old, it was only used for the first 13 or 14 of those years. And how many roads are there in Singapore anyway? While I had no idea how many miles the car had done, it couldn't have been that many. The fact that it had been in hibernation for over 40 years meant that this wasn't an old worn out car at all, far from it. Bringing this car back to life, as I am sure the owner intended back in 1975, really appealed to me. It was perfect. I did the deal. The car was mine. Happy Birthday!