1950 Daimler DE36 “Green Goddess”

This particular car is one of three left hand drive cars exported to the USA, and was delivered to Daimler’s agent in New York, Fergus Motors, in June 1950. The original owner was James Melton, an opera singer with a taste for fine cars – he also owned a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. This car was in the private Kughn collection in Detroit until 2000 when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company for display in their World Headquarters. It was subsequently transferred to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and arrived back home in Coventry in February 2002. Four or five other survivors of this model are known, most of which are in the USA.

The DE36 was the largest model in Daimler’s post-war range and was the last Daimler to be fitted with a straight-eight engine, of 5,460cc. Launched in 1945 the car was intended for limousine coachwork, and was supplied by Daimler in chassis form, with bodies available from several coachbuilders, including Hooper. Examples of the DE36 were supplied for the use of HM King George VI, both as state cars, and for the Royal tours abroad. By the time production ceased in 1953, 215 chassis of this type had been built.

Apart from the formal types of bodywork, a few DE36s were also made with bodies intended for the owner driver. In the first post-war motor show at Earls Court in London in 1948, Hooper showed a remarkable five-seater drophead coupe with streamlined bodywork. Painted light green, the car became known as the ‘Green Goddess’ and was later used by Sir Bernard Docker, the chairman of the BSA Group to which Daimler belonged, and whose wife Lady Norah inspired the extravagantly finished ‘Docker Daimlers’, some of which were also built on the DE36 chassis.

A price of £7,000 including Purchase Tax was quoted for the ‘Green Goddess’, although the car was described as an export model. Over the next two years, a further six cars of this type were built, including the three left- hand drive ones which were exported to the USA.

Chassis Number: 51753

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 130/D.42