2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Preview

August 7, 2005




TCC's Auto Show Index by TCC Team (8/1/2005)
Our coverage of the world's major auto shows, year to year.

2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (8/10/2005)




The trickle of Frankfurt Auto Show teasers is growing into a steady stream, with an even further upmarket sedan from Jaguar, confirmation of Audi’s allroad replacement, a new small coupe/convertible from GM Europe, Honda’s next generation Civic for Europe, new trim and technical add-ons for Maserati’s Quattroporte, a new iteration of Fiat’s Punto hatchback, and the fastest-ever production Skoda.



Dashing Daimler revived by Jaguar


The new Jaguar range-topper for all markets except the U.S. follows the pattern of the company — which we shall now have to learn to stop describing as “Coventry-based” since production has now officially ceased at the Brown’s Lane factory — in carrying the Daimler badge. For most people, the Daimler name causes confusion because of the fact that it is part of Mercedes tradition. There’s no confusion in Britain, however, for the British Daimler company, which started life in 1896, was named only because it originally exploited Daimler patents.


In the early days of the last century it was already a completely British operation, and in the first half of century it built a fine reputation for luxury cars and counted the Royal family among its most regular customers. After the Second World War it lost impetus and in 1960 it was bought by Jaguar, who wanted Daimler’s Coventry plant to help satisfy its soaring sales.


Daimler’s own designs did not last long under Jaguar’s ownership, succumbing to a bad attack of the “not invented here” syndrome on the part of Jaguar’s engineering staff. In the 1970s the Daimler nameplate was taken over for the top of the range Jaguar sedans, and that was the way it stayed until the introduction of the latest aluminium-bodied XJ range, when a Daimler version was notably absent from the lineup.


Now, after seven years, the Daimler label is back, in the shape of the Daimler Super Eight, a car that, like other Jaguar-built Daimlers, takes the most luxurious full-size Jaguar sedan and adds an even more luxurious interior. It will also have the traditional mark of a Daimler, the fluted top to the radiator grille. This design feature goes back to Edwardian times, when Daimlers had prominent cooling fins on the radiator. The fins became a recognition feature, and they were maintained as a styling element when the radiator disappeared under a grille in the late Twenties.

Every Daimler since then has had the flutes, and this is the only Daimler feature to have made it across the Atlantic. In the late Eighties, Jaguar’s U.S. management took the fluted grille and grafted it onto the Vanden Plas luxury models, to the dismay of traditionalists inside and outside the company.


The Daimler Super Eight will have all the traditional luxury features: extra box-wood inlays in the dash and door veneers, picnic trays (more likely to be used for a laptop these days, but heritage requires the old description) and even more sumptuous leather.

Power comes from the supercharged 4.2-liter V-8, producing 400 hp, and the chassis is the same as the well-received new generation XJ sedans with their advanced aluminium construction. The combination of power and lightweight technology means the Super Eight will cover the 0-60 mph sprint in 5.0 seconds, which isn’t bad for a royal barge. The car will go on sale in Europe and the Far East, but not in the U.S., in November.

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