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The Daimler Majestic Major DQ450 was a large executive saloon made by Daimler in Coventry between 1959 and 1968, using a 4,561 cc V8 engine and offered as a much more powerful supplement to their then current Daimler Majestic.

A substantially lengthened limousine version of the same chassis and bodyshell, the Daimler DR450, was available from 1961 until the V8 engine ended production.

Introduction

Though the Major was announced and displayed on 20 October 1959 at the London Motor Show , the car on the show stand was a prototype and production did not get under way for a couple of years. It was offered as a supplement alongside the slightly shorter 3.8 litre Majestic released in 1958. Both cars used the same chassis and bodyshell, the Major having an extended boot as well as the new engine which was lighter and much more powerful.

The engine transformed the staid Majestic into a high performance executive car capable of 120 mph (190 km/h). It is faster than a Mark X Jaguar up to 80 mph (130 km/h) despite its 1880 kg bulk and it has been said that Jaguar tried a Daimler 4.5 motor in a Mark X and it did 135 mph (218 km/h). External differences from the Majestic were the longer boot and cast-in V symbols in the horn grilles.

4½ litre 220hp V8 Engine

Turner's 4561 cc V8 engine had a head design closely resembling the Chrysler Hemi engine (not his Triumph Speed Twin motorcycle engines), and a crankshaft closely resembling that of a slightly earlier Cadillac. The 4.5 had a cast iron block and alloy hemispherical heads with a bore of 95 mm and stroke of 80 mm. The valves were pushrod operated and the Vee slanted at 70°. Equipped with twin SU carburettors and a free-flowing twin exhaust system the engine produced a conservative 220 bhp (160 kW) at 5500 rpm and 283-foot-pounds (396 Nm) of torque at 3,200 rpm. By comparison a Jaguar Mark X did claim 220hp but used a different scale of measurement.

Chassis and Body

It was built on Daimler's standard massive cruciform-braced box-section chassis with their conventional coil-sprung independent front suspension and a well located 'live' rear axle using semi-elliptic leaf springs. As with the Majestic, there were four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a vacuum servo.

The combination of an imported Borg-Warner DG (Detroit Gear) 12 automatic transmission, power steering and Dunlop's power disc brakes on all wheels made the Major in those respects a mechanically advanced car for its time. Its body, however, was originally designed for the Majestic by Daimler subsidiary, the old coachbuilding firm Carbodies and they provided the bodies in conjunction with Park Sheet Metal. They were finished in cellulose paints allowing a selection of colours not available in the new synthetic finishes used by Jaguar. They were built at Browns Lane on separate hand-moved lines. Its design was already outdated and heavy when the Majestic Major first went into production and seemed increasingly so in later years.

The Majestic Major's turning circle was an enormous 46 feet (14 m). This coupled with the fact that power steering was only an optional extra until 1964, meant that the car was not one for manoeuvering in tight spaces – as even with power steering 4.5 turns lock to lock was required.

Performance

The British The Motor magazine tested a Majestic Major with power steering in 1961 and recorded a top speed of 122.3 mph (196.8 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.7 seconds. A "touring" fuel consumption of 16.9 miles per gallon(imperial) was recorded. On the home market, as tested, the car cost £3166 including taxes of £955.

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