This strange looking object is an adjustable air-bladder lumbar support which would have provided a comfortable ride for Queen Elizabeth II during her 1954 tour of Australia. Our conservators found two of these supports incorporated in the rear seat of the Royal Daimler, during our treatment and documentation. This support is just one of the luxury features of this 1948 36hp Daimler landaulette. It also had electric windows, and electric sunroof, silk interior blinds, heating, a radio and an intercom. The lumbar support uses a Schrader valve and a foot pump to control the pressure and subsequent comfort. The cushion was found inside a neat calico pouch.
In the last six months we have been working on the body and interior of the Daimler – involving a lot of dismantling, a lot of close inspection and a whole range of decision-making.
The Royal Daimler is a coach built vehicle – the chassis, engine and running gear were built by Daimler, while the body, interior and final fit out was carried out by the coachbuilders Hooper and Co.
Just as much painstaking detail has gone into dismantling the Hooper-built component, as has gone into the original build. As we have peeled away the layers, we have gained a detailed understanding of the construction method and materials used to create this vehicle, as well as insight into the demands faced by Hooper and Co. to make vehicles fit for a Royal tour.
Some of the components are in really good condition, others in really quite poor condition. This is partly due to the materials used and their inherent durability, but it has also been affected by the life history of the vehicle. Faced with such extremes in condition, we have had to really balance our options for retaining original materials (the preferred course of action) and replacing components that are badly deteriorated, with a view to creating a coherent whole in the end. Quite challenging at times! At each decision point we carefully weigh up significance, condition, functionality and the availability of the skills to do the work.
We have been making great progress and will be sharing before and after treatment information on the:
Dash panels Armrests Seats Carpets Wiring Interior lights Handles Switches Window motors Doors
Shortly after the installation of the engine’s crankshaft, the team here at the National Museum got busy bolting on the auxiliary engine components with the aim of reuniting the vehicle’s engine to the newly treated chassis.
But before the engine is installed, we need to carry out a few leak tests and pressure tests.
The much-awaited test fit of the crankshaft has happened. Ian Stewart has fitted it, checked and blueprinted the bearing oil clearances and the thrust clearance. All clearances have been set to standard Daimler specifications. The new main bearing has been line bored to suit these specifications. Continue reading “Testing, testing”→
In 2012, we set out to raise $60,000 by July 2014 for the Royal Daimler Project. It might have looked like a blue-sky target back then, but I am happy to say that due to the overwhelming support we have had from our Royal Daimler Conservation Partners, and all the Royal Daimler Project followers, we have not only reached our target, but we have exceeded our goal and have raised $61,863.80. Continue reading “Thank you”→
The excitement is building as we prepare the Daimler chassis for a public viewing for the Queen’s birthday weekend. And the Daimler is getting its bling on!
We decided to keep as much of the original chrome work as possible – we discovered a good polish brought it up beautifully. There is some evidence of pitting but as there was no underlying corrosion, the chrome work is sound and important as a record of the original craftsmanship. Unfortunately there were some parts that had underlying corrosion and needed treatment. The ongoing corrosion would have resulted in continuing loss of chrome and deterioration of original parts. For these reasons we had to treat the metal and have it rechromed. Continue reading “A little bit of bling and some very fine work!”→
On the 7-8th April, Ainslie Greiner and Ian Stewart travelled to Melbourne to visit Crankshaft Rebuilders. They took the original block from the Royal Daimler with them. The idea was to get the block line-bored and the new crankshaft test fitted to the block – this allows for finalised fitting to the bearings. This also provided Ian with the necessary information to manufacture a new rear main oil seal carrier on his return to the Museum.
The Royal Daimler Project is speeding along and we are getting close to our fundraising finishing line.
We have developed a video documenting some of the work we have been doing with the support we have received from members of the public. This video includes interviews with the National Museums’ automotive engineers and conservators and gives a sense of the work involved in bringing the Royal Daimler back to its former glory.