The Daimler Majestic Major is a five/six-seater, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive saloon that was made between 1959 and 1968. It is famous as one of the marque’s final new products to be introduced before the Jaguar takeover and for its abilities as a luxurious touring car.
The DQ 450 series Majestic Major was a surprise exhibit on the Daimler stand at the 1959 Earls Court Motor Show. In terms of appearance, it was six inches longer than the Majestic, which it supplanted, and a distinctive “V” motif in the radiator grille denoted its Edward Turner designed V8 engine. Beneath the six-window coachwork was a cruciform-braced box-section frame with conventional coil-sprung independent front suspension and a live rear axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs. The brakes were servo assisted Dunlop discs front and rear and automatic transmission was standard with a 'Speedhold' facility to maximise the acceleration.
The seats of the Daimler Majestic Major’s seats were upholstered in Vaumol hide, there were folding picnic tables for the rear passengers and the steering column was adjustable. One unusual fitting was a dashboard mounted hand throttle. Optional extras included power assistance for the recirculating ball steering, and this was standardised in October 1964.
Full production of the Majestic Major commenced in November 1960 and the following year Daimler introduced the DR450 eight-seater, long-wheelbase limousine version, which was two feet longer than the already substantial saloon. Production of the Daimler Majestic Major ceased in April 1968 and the DR450 a month later.
The Daimler Majestic Major was powered by a 4,561 cc OHV V8 engine with twin SU carburettors. The transmission was a three-speed Borg-Warner DG 12 automatic box.
The heart of one of the last individually designed Daimler is the 4.5-litre V8 that Jaguar once seriously considered fitting to the Mk X. The appearance of the Majestic Major is low key, with overtones of the 1950 Lanchester Fourteen, but this helps to make it one of the most discrete and accomplished sporting saloons of its era. For all its considerable size, the Daimler Majestic Major handles as well as nearly any sports car of the 1960s, its top speed is over 120 mph, and the standard of its finish is superlative.
Replacement body parts for the Daimler can be very difficult to obtain and the floor, door bottoms, jacking points and panel seams are all susceptible to rot. the V8 engine can be prone to oil leaks and corrosion of the alloy cylinder heads which might result in a very expensive rebuild and a Majestic Major cabin in a poor state of repair might prove equally expensive.
Daimler Majestic Major alternatives include the Bentley Flying Spur S2 and S3, the Jaguar Mk X, and the Lagonda Rapide.