Royal Daimler up and running

The National Museum of Australia’s Royal Daimler was officially launched on August 20 after a 10-year restoration period. 

When purchased by the Museum in 2009, the 1948 vehicle was in a very poor state, having been stored in a barn in South Australia, for many years.

The upholstery was rat invested the body paint was worn and faded the engine required a virtual rebuild. 

Perseverance and the assistance of many people and organisations both within Australia and overseas bought the laudaulette back to the condition it was in when it was used by Queen Elizabeth 11 and the Duke of Edinburgh during their 1954 Royal Tour. 

It is one of only two surviving Daimlers that transported the Queen through capital cities and rural towns around the country.

Some of the more challenging components were recreated using techniques such as 3D printing and by reverse-engineering the vehicle’s intercom system.

The Daimler is one of six originally commissioned by Prime Minister Ben Chifley for a tour of Australia by King George VI in 1949, which was cancelled due to the King’s ill health.

Two were sold on to the Maharajah of Mysore in India and the remaining four became part of the government’s car pool.

They were refurbished for the Queen’s 1954 visit.

Following the tour, the Daimler was sold to the Governor of South Australia.

It was then owned by several private collectors before being purchased by the museum in 2009.

The DE 36hp Royal Daimler will be on display in the main hall of the Museum for a couple of months, before it joins the rest of the Museum’s ever growing historic vehicle fleet.

During the launch ceremony the opportunity was taken by Museum Director, Dr Mathew Trinca, to announce the formation of a museum car club under the Museum Friends umbrella. 

Benefits of being a member include viewing of the Museum’s historic car collection, not currently on public display, priority access to any vehicle related events, exclusive behind the scenes tours of major exhibitions, subscription to the Museum magazine, access to the Friends lakeside lounge and reciprocal rights to other museums.

Membership details available here

David Burrell is the editor of

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