The Daimler Conquest was made between 1953 and 1958 and was renowned for its standards of build and appointment. A front engine drove the rear wheels and the body choices were a four-door five/six-seater saloon, a two-door four/five seater-convertible, a two-door two-seater convertible, two-door two-seater coupe, and a two-door three-seater convertible.
May 1953 saw the debut of the Daimler Conquest, with the first models marked for export only, the company’s first real post-war attempt at appealing to a slightly younger customer base. The steel body was made by Carbodies and was very similar to the earlier Lanchester Fourteen; it was mounted on a cruciform chassis. The suspension was via double front wishbones and laminated torsion bars, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar with rear semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers. The steering was by cam and peg, there was hydraulic front and rear mechanical drum brakes and the lever for the pre-selector gearbox was on the right of the steering column to maximise interior space. The name of Conquest was said to derive from the pre-Purchase Tax price of £1,066.
In October 1953, the Conquest saloon was supplanted by the aluminium-bodied two-seater roadster which had automatic chassis lubrication. Nearly all roadsters had detachable side screens and power was from an uprated engine with an alloy cylinder head and a higher compression ratio. From the spring of 1954, this plant was also available in the saloon and the newly launched four-seater drophead coupe under the ‘Century’ name, which was inspired by the 100 bhp power output. The drophead boasted a semi-power operated roof and the Conquest Century saloon had telescopic steering column, specially fitted suitcases and a rev counter as standard.
The drophead coupe and the roadster ceased production in 1955 and in that same year Daimler advertised a Conquest roadster fixed-head coupe, but this was very short-lived, with only four or five cars constructed. In October 1955, the Daimler Conquest was facelifted as the Mk II, with bumper-mounted rather than integral front fog lamps and greater interior space and a Mark II Conquest ‘new drophead coupe’ replaced the roadster; it featured a more substantial power operated hood, wind-up windows and a sideways facing third rear seat. The new drophead’s body was constructed of steel forward of the B-pillars with alloy largely used at the rear.
By the summer of 1956, the standard Conquest saloon was dropped and fully automatic transmission became an optional extra. Production of the new drophead coupe ended in 1957 and of the Conquest Century Mk II saloon in January 1958.
The Daimler Conquest was powered by a 2,433cc S6 OHV engine with a single Zenith carburettor and twin SU carburettors for the century. Early models had a four-speed pre-selector gearbox while later Conquests were available with three-speed Borg Warner automatic gears.
The Daimler Conquest Century saloon was a bigger seller than its less powered stablemate and despite its stately appearance offered excellent handling by 1950s standards and will happily cruise at 70 mph. The automatic transmission of the later Conquests Century is a desirable fitting. Regarding the open top versions, all are rare, with the early drophead coupe being highly elegant. Daimler made few examples of the roadster and the new drophead (65 and 54 respectively) and both are a very individual form of sports car. Only one example of the Conquest roadster fixed-head coupe is believed to have survived.
Although the running gear of the Daimler Conquest would need to be inspected – especially the pre-selector gearbox - some of the key issues facing a prospective owner will be a chassis in a state of corrosion and an interior in need of restoration. Upgrading the drum brakes might be a positive move while the owners’ club is an excellent source of spare parts wisdom.
Rivals to the Conquest and Conquest Century saloon include the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 234 and 236, the Jaguar 2.4 Mk 1, the Riley Pathfinder, the Rover P4 90, 105R and 105S, and the Sunbeam-Talbot/Sunbeam 90 Mk II and Mk III. The Sunbeam-Talbot 90 DHC is an alternative to the Conquest drophead coupe while the roadster and new drophead coupe were intended to compete against the Jaguar XK140 and XK150.
|Year||Make||Model||Submodel||Body Type||Average value|
|1953||Daimler||Conquest||Base||Saloon||£ 3,000 5,700 8,800 11,500|
|1953||Daimler||Conquest||Century||Saloon||£ 3,100 5,900 9,000 12,000|