There was some serious management shake-up going on at Daimler in the 1950s, and the new team decided that a new sports car would be just the thing to appeal to the American market, that great golden goose that everyone wanted a piece of. The result was the 1959 Daimler SP250 Dart, a clumsily executed attempt at a sports car. The design was awkwardly copied from the Triumph TR3, and the result was, in most people’s opinion, ghastly. Built on a separate chassis, the SP250 had a fiberglass body, with fins, and the overall shape was mocked as amateurish. William Lyons, the Jaguar boss, wasted no time in cancelling it when he purchased the company, as its design ‘offended’ him.
The one good thing about the SP250 Dart, by all accounts, was its engine developed by Edward Turner, known for his Triumph motorcycle engines. It was a 2.5-liter, V8 engine that produced 140 horsepower. It was, in fact, the only thing that Lyons decided to salvage from the car, as he put it into the Daimler 2.5-Liter V8 in 1962.
The 1959 Daimler SP250 Dart lingered until 1964, when it was quietly discontinued, and not replaced. No one was particularly saddened to see it go.