Brakes - before

The brakes were in reasonably good shape. Having sat for 40 years the pistons took some effort to eject. Apart from some minor surface rust there were no major issues found. Replacement parts are readily available apart from the handbrake pads, which are available but on an exchange basis. Mine was missing one, so it was the full replacement cost for me unfortunately!

Some surface rust
All components appear to be there
Bores looked worse than they really were
Handbrake mechanism is in good condition
After soaking in salt and vinegar for 5 days

Brakes - after

All the brake components, including the calipers themselves were zinc plated. The calipers were rebuilt with new stainless steel pistons and new seals. These brakes are a much better design than those fitted to the E-Type Jaguar of the same period.

New stainless steel pistons
Rebuilt and ready to fit
All parts were zinc plated
Rear caliper with handbrake mechanism
Master cylinder sleeved with stainless steel

Carbies - before

Carbies were in reasonably good shape, inspite of some surface corrosion. More importantly, all the parts were there, chasing rare SU bits can be a nightmare. 

Complete but in need of an overhaul
Minor surface rust on the steel components
Pistons still moved freely
Looking worse then they really are
Nothing untowards found when stripped down

Carbies - after

Carbies were vapor blasted, then rebuilt with new service kits supplied by Midel. Spindles and spindle bushes were also replaced. Dashpots were polished using wet and dry of various grades then finished on a buffing wheel attached to my bench grinder.

Ready for reassembly
New spindles and bushes
Minor parts zinc plated
Reassembly complete
Ready to refit


The gauges appeared to be in good condition, apart from being very dusty and dirty. I was expecting to replace the chrome bezels, however they surprisingly responded well to a thorough clean. The dash panel unfortunatley had lost much of its pattern detail due to surface rust. It has been replaced with a new stainless steel reproduction. 

Dash panel badly corroded
No major issues found
Speedo and Tacho are like new
A good clean was all that was needed
Like new again!


The coil was looking badly scratched and corroded. It responded well to various grades of wet and dry followed by hand polishing with some aluminium polish.

Looking beyond salvage
Badly scratched and pitted
Responding well to some wet and dry
Ready to refit (I hope it works!)
Bracket and retaning bolt were zinc plated


I originally intended to retain the original points setup. My V8-250 has its original points setup and it's been perfectly fine for over 30 years. I have however decided to go for an electronic conversion using a Pertronix kit. The distributor was serviced as part of the conversion.

Does not appear to be worn, but will be overhauled anyway
Original twin point setup
Stripped of its points / condensor and ready to be sent away for overhaul
Electronic conversion by Pertronix, original coil can still be used.
Ready to refit.


The handbrake mechanism is fairly straightforward. All components were sandblasted, then either painted or zinc plated prior to reassembly.

Mechanism is complete with nothing missing.
It just needs a good clean
Disassembly was straightforward.
Parts painted or zinc plated.
Reassembled and ready to refit.

Fuel filter

Fuel filter rebuild was straightforward. The major components were vapour blasted, then zinc plated and polished. A new filter and seal were fitted.

Still mounted to the body
Grubby but intact.
Ready for vapour blasting.
Reassembled and ready to fit.
Will supplement in-line filter fitted prior to the fuel pump.
Reinstalled and awaiting fuel hose connections

Fuel Line

The original steel fuel line that ran from the back of the car to the front was very rusty so it needed to be replaced. I purchased a 3m roll and spent quite some time getting it perfectly straight before fitting it to the car. It was a simple job to fit, and only needed to be bent at the rear where it connects to the rubber fuel hose coming from the petrol tank. I used the original retaining clips and screws as I'd had these zinc plated and were in good condition.

In keeping with how the car was originally made, I wanted to use the original type of nylon / plastic fuel hose which connects the fuel filter to the carburettors. I decided against refitting the original line for a number of reasons. Firstly, I only had the piece that connects between the carbs, and figured it would look odd mixing old and new pieces. Secondly, as it had been previously removed from the carb fittings, it would need hose clamps to retain it, otherwise I would have to try and heat shrink them back onto the fittings, which I very much doubted would work.

The new fuel line is extremely hard, and cannot be bent into shape without being heated. I wanted to replicate the curve in the line that interconnects the carbs, as this provides some clearance for the throttle return spring bracket. This necessitated making a small jig, which held the hose in such a way as to allow me to heat and bend it to shape, yet kept the ends straight. Once it had cooled I removed it from the jig. To fit to the carbs and the fuel filter I briefly heated the ends before pressing them onto the fittings by hand. This will hopefully give a good, leak-free fit that will last many years.

New fuel pump awating new rubber fuel hose to be connected
New steel fuel line and rubber hose where it enters the engine bay
The new hose is heated and bent to shape using this custom jig.
The new hose can be removed from the jig once it's cooled
New hose heat shrunk onto the original brass fittings

Wiper Motor

The wiper motor was very grubby when removed from the car. Given its sorry looking condition I wasn't too sure what to expect. While the grease inside had turned hard, which was no problem at all really, the main concern I had was the commutator and brushes. If the car was low mileage as I suspected, then hopefully there would be little to no wear to these parts, and this turned out to be the case. A good clean, new grease and a coat of paint, and a bench test to ensure it's working as it should, and it's now ready to reinstall.

Years of dirt and grime.
In need of a good clean.
Commutator and brushes look good.
Commutator cleaned up nicely.
Cleaned and painted, ready to refit.


The generator was in excellent condition. As a precaution I changed the bearing as it was still the original. Even though it felt perfectly fine, I didn't want to risk it collapsing at an inopportune moment (is there ever a good moment?) as it is 60 years old. I drilled out the rivets and replaced the bearing with a spare I had - they are the same used in a Lucas 11ac alternator, common to many British cars of that era such as Jaguar.

New bearing installed - note: nuts and bolts replace rivets.
Pressing the aremture shaft onto the bearing
Painted and ready to fit.
'Flashed' to convert to negative earth and ready to go
Alloy cover pitted and scratched.
Nothing some wet and dry can't sort out. Note Daimler badge is on back to front, butrivets appear original and undisturbed.

A mistake at the factory perhaps?

Water Pump

Overhauling the water pump turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Although the pump is really simple, fitting the various components can be difficult without the right tools or using the correct techniques.

My first problem began with the disassembly. I should have known better, but I thought I'd see if the pulley could be removed by placing two thick pieces of flat under the pulley and applying some pressure on the shaft in a press. I knew there was a risk of cracking the pulley, so decided to use minimal pressure just to see if I would get lucky and the pulley would easily slide off. I applied what I thought was the smallest amount of pressure, and I soon realised the pulley was not going to budge. I removed the pump from the press only to discover I'd cracked the pulley. Not Happy! I then did what I should have done all along - I applied some heat and used a harmonic balancer puller to pull the pulley off the shaft. It took a fair bit of heat and some effort, but it was removed without further damage. 

Next I needed to remove the impeller from the other end of the shaft. Perhaps I could push the bearing out first? I was not sure if the bearing could be pressed out of the housing from the front - was there a locating recess inside? I had no idea, and did not want to risk breaking the housing if I was wrong, so decided that the impeller needed to come off next while leaving the bearing in place. The impeller was well and truly seized on the shaft. I could not get any sort of puller to get sufficient purchase, so in the end I cut the impeller off the shaft - I was going replace both anyway.

Once the impeller was off It was a simple matter of pushing the bearing out of the housing - it came out easily, and I then learnt it could be pushed out from either the front or the back! Not that it mattered now, but good to know for future reference.

Now that is was apart, I was faced with cleaning and reassembly. Hopefully this would be straightforward? Not so, my problems were just beginning. I purchased a replacement pulley (which proved easier than I thought), as well as a new seal and bearing. The new bearing was installed in the pump housing without drama. Next was the seal, which also went in with no issues. Now for the impeller, which I knew was going to be tricky. I left the pump in the freezer overnight and next morning I put the impeller in the oven for 20 minutes at 220 degrees. Once ready I grabbed both parts (welding gloves on!) and ran to the shed to press them together. To my relief the impeller pressed onto the shaft easily without any issues at all. Hopefully the pulley would follow suit? I used the same process - heating the pulley to 220 degrees and freezing the pump. When using the heat / freeze method you are aware that time is ticking, so you try and work quickly but not to rush and make a mistake. Unfortunately for me as I pressed the pulley onto the shaft I could see it kink slightly. Would it straighten itself if I continue, or should I pull it apart and try again? As time was getting away I decided to continue. The pulley seemed to straighten and I pressed it home. I felt good, a potentially difficult job now done. I checked it over and all semed fine, but as I rotated the impeller I could see the pulley waver - it had some runout which meant it had remained slightly kinked on the shaft. Not happy! I had no choice to remove the pulley and see what was wrong. I applied some heat and used the puller to remove it from the shaft, and could see straight away that a small burr had picked up when I started the initial pressing, and that was causing the runout. I carefully deburred both the shaft and the pulley, but unfortunately I removed too much material and now the pulley could be pressed onto the shaft by hand. Not happy!  

After giving it some thought, I decided to call David Stoodley, who owns an SP250 and is in the process of building an SP450. My options as I saw them was to make a new pulley in alloy - something that I had originally contemplated when I cracked the original pulley, as the originals are quite heavy - or to machine the pulley I had and to make a sleeve, allowing the proper press fit clearance to the shaft to be reinstated. Upon chatting to David we decided to sleeve the original pulley as this would be the quickest, so I arranged to meet him at his workshop in a few days time. 

I met David at his workshop as arranged, and while he quickly whipped up the sleeve and did the machining of the pulley I took some photos of his SP250 engine bay to help my with my own reassembly. David had the work done in 20 minutes - did I want to press the pulley on now while I was here? Yes please - I'm a bit wary of pulleys and their fitting and removal now. 

I'd like to say that the pulley pressed on quickly and easily. Unfortunately it did not. Again is kinked slightly, and while I decided to press it on a little further to see if it would straighten, I did not press it fully home. I soon realised that it was not going to straighten and that it would have to be pulled apart to see why it was kinking this time. Our troubles were only just beginning. The stainless steel sleeve had fused itself to the shaft even though it was only pressed on a short distance. Nothing was going to make it budge. We tried heat - a lot of it - and in the process broke a set of pullers. After spending an hour or two - I lost track of time - I decided to cut the pulley off the shaft. This we eventually did, which also took some effort. 

By now it was getting on towards 4:00pm, I'd been there 6 hours and wasted the better part of David's day. I happened to have a spare water pump bearing, seal and impeller, but was going to have to buy another pulley. Oh well, these things happen. I apologised to David for wasting all his time, but he wasn't about to let this pump get the better of us. He offered to make a replacement pulley out of alloy, that way I'd have all the parts to effect the overhaul again. This he did in seemingly no time at all. I replaced the bearing in the housing while he did that, and then we were ready to try again. 

As the new pulley was made from alloy its expansion properties are much greater than steel. We applied some heat, and were able to press the pulley on by hand. Once it had cooled it was a nice tight fit, Perfect! We called it a day, and I headed home, knowing somewhat nervously that I still needed to fit the seal and impeller - even though I had done so before.

My fears were unfounded, the seal was pressed in in less than a minute, and the impeller pressed on just as easily as it did before after being heated in the oven. I used a feeler gauge to make sure I had the right clearance. At last! The pump looks like new again, and the pulley David made looks terrific. He copied the original style, so if I painted it black it would be hard to pick it from an original one, but I've decided to leave it as it is - polished alloy.

What a saga! At least it's done, the lesson being that there will always be setbacks when restoring a car, and you just have to press on (pun intended) and you'll get there eventually. Every time I open the bonnet and look at that nice shiny pulley, I'm going to remember that day I spent with David, and that with perseverance you can make good just about any situation.

New bearing similar to 60's Jaguar
New seal, as found in some Perkins diesel engines
Bearing installed, seal and impeller yet to be fitted
Impeller pressed on after fitting seal
New alloy pulley on overhauled pump

Air Filters

I wanted to re-use the original air filters. They seemed to be in good condition, and just needed to be cleaned and painted. I wanted to improve the filtration over the mesh that was originally used, and happened to find others had been there before me when I found this article on the DLOC forum about upgrading the original air filters.

I pretty much copied their thinking, but as the filter foam I had was red, I decided to cut down some of the original mesh and use that as an outer layer then use the modern foam behind that. I also used some mesh to hold the lot in place. The end result is a reasonably original looking set of air filters that have modern filtration internally. Cleaning / replacing should be straightforward, and I have plenty of foam left over from a $20 sheet.

Air filters appear to be original
Mesh insert perhaps not the most efficient filtration
Cleaned and painted in 2-pack black
Cutting down the original mesh to a much shorter length
Modern flter foam used behind shortened length of original mesh


As I will be retaining the original generator I want to save power wherever I can. Probably the biggest draw on power will be driving at night with the lights, wipers and fan running. There's not much I can do about the wipers and the fan, but there is something I can do about the headlights.

By swapping out the original incandescent BPF bulbs (40w/50w) for a pair of LED bulbs, I should see the current draw reduce from approx 3.5amps to less than .5 amp. They produce a lot less heat too which is a bonus.

The installation was simple and took just a few minutes. Alloy adapter rings install in the rear of the lamp and are secured by a single screw. The LED lamps then push into the alloy adapter, and are sealed / secured by two o-rings built into the LED. Simple!

Alloy adapter for LED
Locates in rear of lamp, secured by small screw
LED lamp
Presses into alloy adapter
The old and the new!


The key fob and keys that came with the car were in a sorry state. The leather fob was stiff and ready to fall apart. The metal emblem was corroded and the Daimler emblem had detached. The only original key that came with the car was the ignition key, and it was badly corroded. The two boot keys that were supplied were copies which had seen better days. The glove box key was missing.

I had a couple of options. One was to have they keys copied using new blanks, and a good locksmith could make up a key to suit the glove box also using a new key blank. Cheap and convenient, but not really the look I am after. 

I did some research on the internet and came across a company in the US called Triple-C. They can copy keys onto period key blanks, and they also have a supply of new old stock pre-cut Wilmot Breedon keys. They also supply key rings and a range of key related accessories. To get a new old stock key you simply compare the number on your key to their website list, and if it's available then it can be sent to you by post.

In my case I was able to obtain all the key numbers I needed - the number for the ignition (stamped on the key as well as the ignition barrel), the boot key number was stamped on the lock mechanism visible from inside the boot, and the glovebox number was visible once I pulled it apart, which I had done previously when I sent it away to be re-chromed.

Placing my order was done through their website, and a few weeks later I had two sets of original, new old stock keys which are like new even though they are the better part of 50 years old, and really look the part.

Having set the standard of new old stock for the keys, I wondered whether I could restore my original key ring or could I find some new old stock key fobs? It was a bit of a long-shot, but after some research I found a company called Classic Leather Fobs based in the UK which makes and restores key rings. Sure they could restore my keyring, but even though it's old I am not sure if the key ring is the one that was originally supplied with the car when new. What I did discover was that Classic Leather Fobs have a large range of new old stock Daimler key rings as well as some rare and restored items. Their stock comes from a London based Daimler and Jaguar dealer that sold Jaguar and Daimler cars up until approx 2014..  

I chose a style which I believe was available in the mid 1960's, so there is a chance that some of the late model SP250's sold by this dealer were supplied with this style of key ring. Again ordering was really easy through their website, and they key fobs arrived via post after a few weeks. The end result is I have period looking keys and key fobs that will look perfectly at home in the SP250.

The original keys and key fob that came with the car
Original key fob is corroded and falling apart
Original ignition key badly corroded
New old stock replacement keys were sourced from the US
Original key and fob along with NOS key and fob
New old stock key fob and keys are like new.


According to the build sheet supplied by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) my car was supplied with a heater. Searching through the boxes of parts that came with the car showed no evidence of a heater or associated parts. The previous owner also told me that there was no heater with the car when he purchased it. I don’t think the build sheet is correct. Why? Two reasons. When disassembling the engine I found that the manifold T-hoses had neatly made aluminium blanking plugs inserted in each end and that there were no heater pipes. This looked very much like something the factory would do. The second reason is that the car was supplied new to Singapore. Why would someone in Singapore specify and pay for a heater as an optional extra in that climate? Anyway, as curious as it is, for the sake of completeness and to match the build sheet I decided to fit a heater.

Finding one proved to be a bit of a challenge. I spent a year or two casually searching eBay and asking the various suppliers if the happened to have one. In the end I realised that my best bet was to modify an MGA or MGB heater as they were similar to the SP. I purchased an MGA heater on eBay for about $30. I soon learned that there were many differences between an MG heater and one from an SP. While the front and back panels are similar, the MG heater is much narrower, so a new case would need to be made. The heater matrix is different, so the pipes emerge from different places. The fan motor is different also in the way that it mounts, and the heater case itself needs to be reversed as they attach to their respective firewalls differently. This means the squirrel cage fan is also different as it needs to rotate ‘backwards’. The rear intake and outlet at the heater bottom is also different. It was beginning to look a Herculean task! I needed a different approach.

I sent an email out to the SP250 Australia email group to see if by chance someone had a spare heater. I had several people contact me with offers of help, as many had converted MG heaters in their cars, but alas no one had an original heater as a spare. At the same time I was having the trim for my car made in the UK by Bryan Purves. I mentioned to him the difficulty I had in trying to track down a heater, and by luck he happened to have one. It was missing its motor and fan, as well as the bottom outlet, but it did have a heater matrix and had been powder coated so it should not take much to finish it off. Naturally I made the purchase.

I sourced the bottom outlet from Ashley Hinton and the demister tubes and squirrel cage fan from MG Sales Online here in Australia. The heater case was in reasonable condition, however it did have a lot of rust pitting, so I rubbed back much of the powder coating and filled in all the dimples. The MG fan motor mounts differently to the fan motor from an SP. The problem for me was that correct replacement SP fan motors were in the order of several hundred dollars, and the MG fan motor I had was in excellent condition. Could I somehow adapt the fan I had to suit? In the end I managed to alter the MG fan motor to mount in the SP case in a manner that appeared to be factory correct, and after testing that all was in working order I had everything repainted in black 2-pack.

MGA heater case supplied a number of parts
Fan motor just needed a good clean
Sandblasted parts ready for painting
Case was rubbed back ready for painting
Painted in 2-pack black and ready to fit

Tail Lights

The tail lights and associated bits and pieces were stored in one of the boxes of parts that came with the car. The chrome surrounds were beyond salvage and had to be replaced. The lenses too were a bit too far gone so replacements were also fitted. Luckily the bulb holders and wiring were in reasonable condition, and just needed cleaning, and where appropriate, painting or zinc plating.

The only issue I had was with the tapping rings. These are used to secure the bulb holder to the body, and go behind the fibreglass. They have threads cut in three holes which align with the screw holes on the bulb holders. With the bulb holder mounted on the body of the car the tapping ring is then placed behind the fibreglass, effectively sandwiching these components together. There are six on the car - two at the front and four at the rear. My car was missing three of these, and of course they are no longer available.

I had planned on making my own, but a quick check with Ab Hennekes in Holland soon turned up what I needed.

I had the taping rings and screws zinc plated, but decided to clean and paint the bulb holders. They came up looking terrific, it's a shame they won't be seen.

The lenses were cracked and faded, and would have detracted from the car. I chose to fit reproduction items.

Fitting them to the car proved to be quick and simple. The new chrome and clean, bright lenses contrast well with the cars dark metallic gunmetal grey paint.

Bulb holders were grubby but serviceable
Note the tapping ring used to secure the holder to the car
My car was missing 3 tapping rings, which I managed to source from Ab Hennekes in Holland
Bulb holders and tapping rings cleaned, painted, zinc plated and ready to install
Lenses had to be replaced as the originals were too far gone.

Steering Column

The car was missing the steering wheel and column when I bought it, so it was an easy decision to convert the car to rack and pinion. Apart from that I wasn't keen on having a solid metal tube (spear) bolted in front of me hanging a few inches from the road. The choice of rack was pretty straight forward, I chose what most SP250 owners have used in the past, a rack from a Triumph Spitfire. As for the steering column, there were a couple of options which I wanted to explore, which was where the fun began.

Initially I thought I'd use a Triumph 2000 steering column ($20 off ebay) but soon realised it was way too short. I then looked at using a Triumph Dolomite column. It had the advantage of being adjustable. I sourced one from a car wrecker for $90, and rebuilt it with new bearings out of the UK. I trial fitted it to the car, with it mounted to a flange bearing on the firewall.

The setup seemed pretty good. The challenge was what shaft to use to connect from the spline at the firewall to the spline on the steeering rack. The shaft needs to kink roughly half way down so it can be angled past the exhaust manifold and the engine mount. I tried two different lower steering columns, one from a Triumph Dolomite and the other from a Triumph 2000. The lower Dolomite column gave good clearance around the manifold, but the problem was what to use to connect from the upper uni-joint to the firewall spline. I tried a few different options / and connectors but all would need to be cut and welded. The same problem existed with the Triumph 2000 lower column, even though ot was longer than the Dolomite. With both setups there would be a lot of angular load on the spline at the firewall end, and I wasn't keen on making / modifying a shaft to connect this all togegther. In the end a put the Dolomite setup aside and sourced a Triumph Spitfire upper column, while retaining the Triumph 2000 lower column.

I rebuilt the Spitfire column with new bushes, and did a trial fit in the car. I used a new flange bearing to suit the new column diameter, and connected it to the Triumph 2000 lower steering column. This all fitted together nicely, which was expected as I understand most conversions use this setup. I did spend some time getting the clearance right between the shaft and the exhaust manifold. In the end I had to rotate the steering rack slightly to give the best angle for the lower shaft. As I am using aluminium rack mounts so I am confident the rack wll remain firmly in position.

Once I had the angle I wanted I then needed to mark the upper shaft / column to get the right steering wheel position from the dash. This is acccomplished on the lower part of the column where the innner shaft slides into the outer shaft. The inner steering shaft is machined flat for part of its length which allows for a small amount of adjustment where it slides and is locked into position. So when I had everything in the correct position it was marked, re-checked, then bolted / loctited into position.

I made a cover for the top of the steering column where it protrudes from the dash out of 90mm pvc pipe. I covered the pipe with mottled black vinyl, so it looks period correct. It fits neatly into the rear recess of the Mota Lita steering wheel and extends behind he dash facia. The end result looks great. No unsightly column and it fills the facia cutout perfectly. I was going to fit a stubby indicator stalk on the side, but this would partially obscure the speedo or the tacho - depending on the side used. In the end decided to keep the 'clean' look and went for plan 'B'. This entailed using a parts-bin Triumph indicator stalk mounted just behind the dash but still with easy reach of the driver. It's out of site and does not self cancel, but I'm not bothered by that. I might see if I can rig up a self-cancelling mechanism in the future if it does annoy me too much.

Although I've not driven the car, the steering from what I can tell feels quite easy with no play at all. It will be interesting to see what it's like on the road but it looks promising do far.

Period looking Moto Lita steering wheel allows for clear visibiilty of instruments.
Triumph Spitfire column bolts into the same position as the original Daimler column. Flange bearing locates the column on the firewall.
Upper column as it protrudes through the flange bearing on the firewall.
Upper and lower column joint angle set to clear exhaust manifold and engine mount.
Upper steering column cover made from 90mm pvc pipe and covered in period style yinyl.