Developed from the Jaguar S-Type and intended as the ultimate evolution of that platform, the Sovereign 420 was a luxury, compact performance saloon that sat at the pinnacle of Jaguar/Daimler’s model range in the late 1960s.
This particular car has quite an interesting history. First registered in 1967, the car was later purchased in 1970 by a couple who emigrated to the USA. They took the car with them, where it resided until 2015, when it was imported back into the UK.
It was then purchased by the current owner as a restoration project, which was undertaken over the next six years, with extensive and significant work being undertaken both on the car’s bodywork and running gear. Since its return to the UK, the current owner has kept the car garaged and never taken it out in wet weather, which really shows in the condition of the car.
With the restoration now complete, the owner has taken on another project and so is looking to move this lovely old performance saloon on to a new keeper.
A very large file of paperwork and history comes with the vehicle. Included in the file is a dedicated service manual and a parts catalogue - an invaluable addition to any classic car owner’s bookshelf. Also included are a couple of original sales brochures, which is always nice to see and fleshes out the history of the car somewhat.
Unusually for a car of this vintage, there is a lot of paperwork from the car’s early life. With purchase receipts from the vehicle’s second owner in 1970, as well as letters from the Daimler dealer, export paperwork to the US, the US certificate of title and a number of maintenance/service receipts from the car’s time in America.
Present and correct is the numberplate authorisation certificate from when the car was re-imported to the UK, as well as many receipts for the parts that have been fitted and work undertaken during the car’s restoration. The current owner has also acquired a production record certificate from the Jaguar Heritage Trust, which confirms the vehicle’s matching number status and original production specification.
Naturally, the current V5 is also present and correct. As the car is a historic vehicle, it is tax and MOT exempt.
As part of the restoration process, black carpets and mats have been fitted, a new taupe-coloured headlining has been installed and the plush original seats and door cards have been re-trimmed in black leather with red piping to match the exterior. The dashboard is the original walnut veneer item, and is in good condition, as are the matching veneer trims that adorn the door-tops.
All of the switchgear and clocks are original items that wear their patina and history well, adding a nice dose of authenticity to the cabin environment. The large, thin-rimmed steering wheel is in excellent condition and feels lovely to hold. A modern, but vintage styled, stereo has also been fitted, which is a nice touch. We are assured by the owner that everything in the cabin works well and as it should.
At the rear, the boot area is trimmed in black carpet and features the original tool kit, the wheel removal tool, and a full-size spare wire wheel. Underneath the carpet, the floors are in as-new condition - corrosion free and with no signs of damage.
The only issues we identified with the interior is that the rear courtesy light is missing, but the wires are present so this can easily be re-installed. Also, the rear parcel shelf features modern-style speakers, which are a little incongruous. The new owner may wish to source some more appropriate vintage-style units, but again this is an easy fix. Barring these minor issues, overall we would describe the condition of the interior as very good, verging on excellent.
Originally sporting cream paintwork, during the recent restoration process, the car has been resprayed in Jaguar Carmen Red. It suits the car very well, and has been completed to a high standard. The contrasting black vinyl roof is new, and the Webasto sliding roof has been reconditioned. It should be noted that the Webasto does need some adjustment, as at the moment the sliding action is a little stiff and uneven.
From a bodywork perspective, the car is in superb condition. Extensive work has been undertaken externally and underneath the car and all aspects of the bodywork are in excellent condition. The panels are straight and smooth, underneath the car almost looks brand new and the engine bay is in similarly brilliant condition. Try as we might, we could find no evidence of corrosion, damage or poor workmanship anywhere on the car’s bodywork. It appears that all work has been carried out to a very high standard and with a real eye for detail.
Daimlers feature a lot of brightwork, and here it is presented in good, original condition. Solid and well-fitting, it wears its age with pride and gives the car a real sense of originality. All of the other trim elements, grille, badges and lights are likewise in very good order. The wheels are classic wire-spoked items. They’re brand new and in excellent condition, shod in new tyres that should provide thousands of miles of happy classic motoring. One of the few non-original features is a chrome and wood luggage rack fitted to the bootlid, which provides a nice period touch and adds an extra dose of practicality.
Mechanically, the car has been recommissioned and restored just as extensively as it has been cosmetically. All of the mechanical elements have been renewed, refreshed and recommissioned. The 4.2 litre straight-six has been rebuilt and the twin-carbs overhauled. From the factory this unit was rated at 245bhp, and here it sounds meaty and idles with a lovely burble.
The powerplant is mated to an automatic transmission, for smooth and luxurious progress. Other elements of the drivetrain that have been renewed include the suspension, which features new Monroe shock absorbers, a complete new braking system and a new exhaust. We’re told by the owner that the factory-fit power steering works perfectly, and overall the car drives very well.
With the enormous list of new parts and work undertaken, we have absolute confidence that this vehicle is in excellent mechanical condition and should provide many more decades of motoring enjoyment for any new owner.
Daimler has always been the more exclusive, slightly less caddish, cousin to Jaguar. The Sovereign 420 is one of the best cars they produced. Mating the wonderful S-Type platform and that magnificent straight-six to a luxurious cabin and smooth-riding drivetrain was a deserved success.
We think this is a very handsome car, that offers excellent value for money. Barring one or two minor jobs the new owner may wish to undertake, this is a comprehensive and very well executed restoration. Mechanically and cosmetically, it is presented in superb condition. When we say it looks like a new car underneath, we are in no way exaggerating, it really is that good. The current owner has spent thousands bringing this lovely performance saloon back to near-pristine condition. But it’s been very sympathetically done - any original trim or parts that were usable have been retained, preserving the car’s originality.
As a proposition for usable classic car ownership, this is as good as it gets. Having been comprehensively restored over a number of years, it’s ready to use whether you want a practical daily classic or something special for the weekends. Daimler’s offer a great ownership experience, powerful, smooth and luxurious, they’re still great to drive with parts and expertise being widely available too.
We really love this car. It’s ben very well recommissioned, and looks great on the road. It’s a delightful classic, and deserves to find a new home where it will be used, cherished and loved.
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1967 Daimler Sovereign 420
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