A 1961 Daimler SP250 Dart that was used to chase down café racers in London is one of the stars of Historics Auctioneers’ upcoming 60th anniversary sale.
The car is one of 26 examples bought by the Metropolitan Police between 1961 and 1964 to use as high-speed pursuit vehicles. The flying Darts, which could reach 125mph, were based at special Traffic Garages throughout London and proved to be a major deterrent against the scourge of speeding motorcyclists going ‘ton up’.
The Dart was popular with other forces, and coppers across the country from Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Southend and Surrey all used them to catch speeders. Darts were even employed on the newly-opened M1 in Bedfordshire.
The car offered for sale by Historics came with an optional Borg-Warner DG automatic gearbox which could be locked into second gear, allowing the car to go from a standstill to 85mph without shifting. This particular Dart was also upgraded with wire wheels and servo-assisted brakes. It comes with its original logbook confirming its police provenance, plus a thick folder of press clippings, MOT certificates and bills.
It’s being offered without reserve, although Historics estimate that it will fetch at least £60,000 at the auction which takes place on 22 July at Windsorview Lakes in Berkshire.
Other highlights of this sale include a quartet of exotic modern classics: a 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722, a 2005 Ford GT, a 2007 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Edition and a 2019 Morgan Aero 8.
Under the hammer will also be a 1961 Bentley S2 Continental, an assortment of E-Types, Porsche 911s, plus two cars with Royal connections: a 2009 Jaguar X-Type Estate once driven by Queen Elizabeth II and a royal family-used 2004 Range Rover.