Jaguar’s companion brand, Daimler, was acquired in June 1960. At the time Daimler made buses, military vehicles and a range of cars such as the Daimler Dart roadster also known as the SP250 and a large sedan/limousine known as the Majestic Major. Daimler was long the vehicle supplier to English royalty and can trace its beginnings to earlier than 1900. After Jaguar acquired Daimler they began to phase out some models and badge engineer existing Jaguar models as Daimlers. Cars such as the Mark 2 based Daimler 2.5 liter sedan which used Daimler’s own 2.5 liter hemi V8 in place of the Jaguar XK engines. Later there was a whole range of Daimler badged XJ sedans beginning with the Series 1 and continuing through the Series 3.
In 1968 Jaguar introduced the DS420 limousine which was based on many of the mechanical components of the Jaguar Mark X and 420G, at the time, Jaguar’s largest sedan. The DS420 replaced the 4.5 liter hemispherical combustion chamber V8 powered Majestic Major. The DS420 was essentially a low volume handbuilt item. There was always a steady but limited demand for a truly upmarket limousine in the UK and Europe and this car suited that market. Later versions included a landaulet and a hearse. The limousine and hearse are the subject of this model article. The DS420 cars were built for many years and only phased out in the mid 90s. For the technically inclined, mid production the car shifted from using a Borg Warner automatic gearbox to a GM Turbo 400 three speed to suit its considerable weight of over 4700 pounds. This was the only factory application of the GM Turbo 400 to an XK 4.2 liter engine. Also midway in production the car was updated with fuel injection which replaced the twin SU carburettors but they always retained their traditional Mark X type twin fuel tanks.
The models in this review are made in 1:43 scale by the UK based Oxford Diecast who contract the production of them to Chinese diecast model makers. The limousine is a true luxury motor car with a spacious rear seat supplemented by twin folding jump seats for a rear compartment seating for five. The front is for a chauffeur and one extra seating position. Many are custom fitted with special features to suit the owner/passenger such as an in car television and front and rear air conditioning systems. Exterior and interior colors and appointments vary greatly depending on owner’s choice. Cars of this sort were the transportation of Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Governors, Ambassadors, Royalty, Chief Executives and the like.
The hearse is a custom coach work version of the limousine and was provided to the funeral trade. Few cars of this type were suitable for hearse conversion, Mercedes, Humber, and Ford of Europe made some based on their larger vehicles.
The models are nicely painted in glossy white or traditional black with chrome fittings for the bumpers, grill, wing mirrors, and hubcaps. The underside replicates some floor detail, twin exhaust systems and four silencers. In the interior a wood veneered fascia and door cappings are included as well as a medium blue seats including the folding jump seats. On the hearse the interior is black with a wooden platform over the carrying area for the casket.
As a side note, in about 1986, Jaguar Cars of North America did a marketing study about importing the DS420 limo to the USA. At least two cars were made for demonstration. The one I was familiar with on the West Coast was a deep purple with a grey interior. It’s engine was built to full XJ6 Series 3 specification with fuel injection, catalytic converters and all USA safety equipment including a reinforced rear bumper. It contained a television and a rear air conditioning system with controls in the rear console area. The west coast car seemed to generate little interest with potential buyers (but plenty of interest and curiosity from bystanders or other motorists) or was not properly shown to potential purchasers, and except for the writer’s interest in it, it languished at the regional office for the better part of a year before being sold to a Southern California dealer.