Daimler Fifteen from 1934, 1805 cc, 43 HP, max. speed 105 km/h
The Daimler Fifteen, was a saloon car at the low end of this manufacturer’s range, announced in September 1932. It was the first Daimler product for more than two decades with an engine that breathed conventionally through poppet valves.
Conventional valve gear had improved, superseding the former advantages of the Daimler-Knight sleeve-valve technology. The car’s name derived from its tax rating of 15 hp. The design of its 6-cylinder 1.8-litre engine was developed from the 4-cylinder 1.2-litre Lanchester Ten which was installed in Lanchester’s shorter versions of the same chassis and bodies and using the same Daimler semi-automatic transmissions.
The Fifteen was the first Daimler to be offered at less than £500 since World War I. The Great Depression of the 1930s was well established and Daimler, responsible for economical BSA three-wheelers and, from 1931, the mid-price Lanchester range, went downmarket to assist sales in the austere times. Perhaps it took twenty years but this risky strategy with the Daimler name may have lost Daimler its super-luxury reputation and eventually brought about its demise.
In August 1934, in anticipation of the reduction in annual tax charge, the Fifteen was given a larger 2-litre engine. Again in August 1936 the engine was increased to 2.2-litres then another two years later to a full 2½-litres.