When Jaguar showed the world the XJC at the 1973 London Motor Show, it was a car that wowed the crowds. However, it simply wasn’t ready for production, and as such, it took another two years for it to roll into dealerships. And when it did, it was still an unresolved product.
There were issues with window seals, wind noise and so on. The solution, the wanting public shouted, would be to cut the roof off. An XJ would lend itself to being a convertible - the long, flowing design was begging for such a conversion. Jaguar, however, was unwilling to oblige.
Happily for the car, us British are an industrious lot, so when Jaguar said it wouldn’t make a convertible, several companies decided they would take matters into their own hands.
One such company was Ladbroke Avon of Warwick. But they went one step further, and decided that if it was going to cut the roof off something, it may as well be the best.
So instead of ordering a handful of Jaguar XJCs for the conversion, it instead gathered a small number of Daimler Double Six coupes, complete with that magnificent V12 engine.
Only five of the Daimler Double Six Avon-Stevens Convertibles were built. One now lives in France, one in Germany, one in Japan and two here in the UK. And it’s one of those two that you’re looking at here.
This is, make no mistake, a very special and very rare car indeed.
THE HISTORY AND PAPERWORK
Bought on the 1st of March 1976 by Deborah Services Ltd before being sent to be converted into a Avon-Stevens convertible
Originally Green Sand in colour with a black leather interior, and of course, a black hood featured as part of the conversion
On the 30th of March 1982, the car was sold to its next, private owner, who would keep the car until 1994
The third owner - despite keeping the car in roadworthy condition, hardly used it
In 2007, it passed through the hands of a Jaguar and Daimler specialist based in Middlesex and the car was repainted in the red you see it now and a new hood was also fitted
Purchased by the fourth owner, who had been searching for this rare Daimler conversion for some time, who kept the car until May 2021
The fourth owner replaced the fuel tanks, nearly all the chrome, installed a new stereo, new wire wheels and many other parts...
Looking through the highly detailed history, this Daimler has been left wanting for nothing
There is little in the way of documentation to support the car’s life prior to 1995, however, after that there is plenty including old MOTs, invoices for work carried out and evidence of where the car has been – the previous owner in particular has kept fastidious records and this has continued with the current owner and their service records
The current owner, a classic car enthusiast and member of the Royal Automobile Club, purchased the car from auction in May 2021
Since then, the car has been stored in an indoor car park and only been used for weekend drives
Black leather upholstery
Smart wood veneer dashboard fascia
Removable wind deflector
Modern Kenwood CD/radio system
The interior of this Double Six is in pleasingly good condition, and is a testament to how well made they are. The leather seats have been treated and well fed over the years, and as such, are comfortable and supple. There is no excessive wear or damage, though the rear seat squab does have a split in one seam where the ageing stitching has let go. It’s a simple enough repair.
We're pleased to see the door cards are in generally good condition. There are some signs of wear, but nothing of serious consequence other than a small chunk that is missing from the driver’s armrest. Meanwhile, the windows all work as they should and, with the doors open, looking down into the A pillar area reveals clean paint and no signs of corrosion. Both the doors shut well and neither have dropped over time.
Likewise, the controls and dash are all in good condition and function as they should, with all gauges reading correctly. The steering wheel is in excellent order, as is the shifter and handbrake, though of course there is some slight wear - this is a car that has been used for driving, after all.
The carpets were renewed by the previous owner, both in the cabin and in the boot, and as such, present well. There is a complete tool kit in the boot, along with a jack and a spare wire wheel. The boot is dry, and there appears to be no evidence of corrosion.
The headlining of the convertible roof is present, correct and reasonably taut. If you plan to use the roof more often, it might be wise to go over the rubbers and seals just to be safe, though on a visual inspection they seem fine.
Smart red paintwork
Lashings of chrome
Black fabric hood
Chromed wire wheels with 'knock off' spinners
Generally, this Daimler presents well. The red paint looks to have been applied to a good standard and holds up well after 16 years. There is some light swirling in some areas, but nothing a cut and machine polish wouldn’t remove. There is no damage or serious corrosion we could discern, and all the panel gaps seem to be straight and uniform.
There is some flaking/corrosion coming through on the lower edge of one door, and also on the seam line on the lower rear quarters, but this appears to be largely surface rather than anything deeper. As far as we can tell, the lower edges of the car seem solid, especially the sills. In fact, looking underneath the car, we were greeted with a liberal coat of rust-proofing and solid looking structure.
In 2009, the Daimler was unfortunately hit by another vehicle, whilst parked in a restaurant car park. The damage sustained was on the offside rear wheel arch, as covered in the extensive history. However, the car was professionally repaired, and there is little evidence of it today. Furthermore, there didn't seem to be any evidence of patching or plating.
Wearing a handsome lustre, the brightwork is all in excellent order, most of it having been replaced over the years. The window rubbers look good and all the lights are in good condition with the exception of the nearside front fog light, which has a crack in it.
With the roof up, the fabric shows well. There are some stress marks and creases from the long periods during which it has been folded up, and a small hole to the near-side rear area.
We love the chromed wire wheels – they suit the car perfectly and present in fine fettle. They're shod with a decent set of tyres, the front pair having been renewed by the vendor.
On the whole, this Daimler presents exceptionally well. It strikes us as being a solid, well maintained classic that has many, many more miles of life left in it.
5,343cc naturally aspirated V12
Power assisted steering
Twin fuel tanks
Superb history of maintenance and servicing
As you will be able to tell from the incredibly detailed history supplied by the owner, this Daimler has wanted for nothing over the last sixteen years. Suspension components, brakes, cooling system elements – all have been refreshed as required. The car has been regularly serviced by Jaguar specialists, the transmission has been overhauled, as well as the transmission cooler, a stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted, new fuel sender units, new fuel tanks, the list goes on. If this car has needed it, the owners have seen to it.
As you might imagine, the car barks into life without hesitation and the V12 sounds beautiful. We heard no rattles, clunks or taps. It is a silky smooth running unit, soon gets to temperature, and stays there thanks to the cooling system being in rude health.
The transmission selects gears cleanly and without hesitation, being pleasingly smooth in operation. The brakes have been replaced and balanced, and bring the car to a stop without any unwanted drama.
We see from the history file that the suspension has largely been refreshed in recent years, and it sits level and soaks up the imperfections of the roads without banging or complaining. Finally, the steering is as light and effortless as you would expect from a Daimler, with the power assistance being silent in its operation.
There are so many reasons to love this handsome convertible. From the exceptional rarity to the stylish conversion, superbly comprehensive history and well documented service history – it's the kind of classic you can buy with your head as well as your heart.
Make no mistake about it, this is a hugely desirable and very collectible car – an example of British ingenuity and engineering at its finest. If it's wound its way into your affections as much as it has into ours, then make sure you don't miss this opportunity – you may never see its like again...
Notice to bidders
This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.
UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.
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1976 Daimler Double Six Avon-Stevens Convertible
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