1939 Daimler Light Straight Eight E4 Charlesworth Saloon
Ex - Bruce Earlin and Jackon Brookes; offered from a private collection at no reserve; interior damaged by fire; engine starts and runs; desirable Charlesworth body
The early life of this Straight 8 is unfortunately shrouded in mystery. It is thought that the original owner was a Mr.Harper, which was the name, written in chalk, on every part of the custom Charlesworth body and the rear of the seats. Unfortunately though, due to the current damage, we have not been able to find evidence of this.
It dates from 1939 and there is suggestion but little evidence that it could have even been one of the Motor Show cars. The general consensus seems to be that it was originally registered, possibly post-war, in Chelmsford, Essex, on one of the most desirable registrations in the United Kingdom, F 1. (It should be noted here that the car was illustrated in ‘The Driving Member’ in 2000 on the registration 1 F, but also implies that this was incorrect). F 1 is of course a registration that considerably pre-dates the car but one line of thought, based on original Daimler dispatch records is that the car was never registered for the road until after the war, possibly as late as almost 1950, when petrol was becoming more affordable and someone of stature in society decided to purchase the luxury car and allocate an early very exclusive plate. The next phase of its life is unknown until it re-surfaced in the USA with well known Alvis collector, Bruce Earlin, of Pennsylvania, who sold it to Jackson Brooks in Colorado in c. 1990. Early Daimlers were highly unusual to find in the USA and often regarded as archetypal British elegance of the era so it would have been a highly prized part of each collection. Brooks mentions this car in his book, ‘Cars I Could’ve. Should’ve, Kept: Memoir of a Life Restoring Classic Sports Cars, ’ on page 243.
Paperwork on file from Brooks explains what attracted him to the car, in particular the handsome Charlesworth body and that it was the choice of marque for many of the British Royal family of course. Being an early saloon that could handily reach 85/90mph and with the reliable robust Wilson pre-selector gearbox, you can see why he liked it. At the time, the car needed some work as the interior had all been replaced and patched, some of it with vinyl and much of the veneer had suffered. At the tender of age of 78, Brooks set to work in replacing much of the interior with leather work and smart leather bound carpets. The veneer was all sanded down and polished too. He attended to all the brightwork, making it all look as good as the front grill does now.
A huge amount of work was done on the car during this time, spending approx. $19,000 and taking up hundreds of hours by Brooks himself. Shortly after this, it was put up for sale for $47,500, so it must have looked pretty impressive. A rare vehicle though, even in the UK, with apparently only one other being driven on the road these days.
The car was purchased by a UK enthusiast and once again had further re-commissioning work completed, was UK registered and was put through MOTs up until 2011. At some point between then and 2014 it suffered a serious fire, which could have destroyed the car completely but luckily much of the car was saved. The seats are still there, and the picnic tables are still evident, but are sure to need replacing. The ash frame has been badly affected and although unusable, it might be possible to restore with care and patience. As much as the damaged frame has been kept as possible, for this purpose. The exterior has obviously been affected, but there only seems to be one bonnet panel and the tyre cover is missing.
The car came into the hands of our vendor in 2017 and as a keen Daimler enthusiast, he aimed to restore it completely. Sadly he has not had the time repair the car, although bidders should be aware that it runs and drives, even if it does mean connecting some wires and perching on a rather burnt out seat.
A stunning car and surely worth the time and effort to restore, it has such an interesting history and depending where you look, the reg number 1 F or F 1 could even be for sale for between £5m and £30m - rather a shame one of them is not still associated with the car! Oh well…..
Further information - [email protected]
Reg No: WSL851
Chassis Number: 47800
Engine Number: 88668
Engine Size: 3960cc
Docs: V5C, 3 old style Log Books, 7 old MOT's, Photographs, Correspondence, Parts Catalogue, Magazines, Invoices.
Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)
- Put in your highest bid you would be prepared to go to.
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- No bids can be placed once the time remaining ends, therefore do not delay.