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Daimler adds Super Eight to royalty's choice

Published Sep 14, 2005


Frankfurt, Germany - Daimler limousines with the unique fluted radiator grille have graced the garages of monarchs and aristocrats around the world for decades.

Now Jaguar has revived the brand with a high-end version of the Jaguar XJ, the Daimler Super Eight - one of the dozens of new models being launched at the Frankfurt auto show this week.

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The name harks back to an agreement made by German inventor Gottlieb Daimler to sell his engine technology to Britain back in 1896. Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII of England, acquired his first Daimler in 1900 and the Daimler Motor Company went on to become the island's most respected maker of stately motorised conveyances.

Jaguar has owned the brand since 1960.

The marque became popular with fellow royals and dignitaries, particularly in countries such as Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. In the 21st century, however, Daimler has its sights on the burgeoning Far Eastern market.

Stephen Perrin, Jaguar'smarketing director, explained: "We have a large following in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Japan. Just as in Britain, many royal families and political dignitaries in the Far East have traditionally used Daimlers and we expect this new model to appeal to them in much the same way as the previous generation did.

"We don't expect to sell thousands of cars - that is not the point of Daimler. We know there is latent demand and will sell them on an individual basis to Daimler enthusiasts looking for renowned British engineering."

The Super Eight is thoroughly British with the emphasis on craftsmanship, authenticity and tradition. The familiar grille carries a swirling "D" badge, there's plenty of chromed trim and two body colours unique to this model are offered - Garnet (a kind of metallic burgundy) and Westminster Blue.

Taking the tried-and-trusted XJ as a basis, the makers have provided the first new Daimler model in seven years with a 300kW, supercharged, 4.2 litre V8.

Performance, Perrin says, is "more than adequate" despite an overall length of 5.22m and an unladen weight of 1.8 metric tons.

The occupants will ride on sumptuous leather seats, their feet will rest on lambswool carpets while their regal eyes gaze across walnut fittings with boxwood inlays - and those in the rear will have nearly a metre of legroom.

The opulence continues: four-zone air-conditioning, a multi-media system with TV and folding business tables and sound-insulating laminated glass.

Customers will also be able to take advantage of a truly regal maintenance package which includes an all-round guarantee.

It means that, for three years, the cost of workshop inspections and all replacement parts with the exception of tyres are included in the price of €112 500 - about R900 000.

The Daimler Super Eight will be in showrooms shortly. For some of us. - Sapa-DPA

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