In 1990, the founder of the Daimler & Lanchester (Jaguar) Owners of New Zealand Spare Parts Club, Gordon Somerville — who, sadly, recently passed away — purchased a 1964 Daimler V8 that had been modified and transformed into a utility vehicle in 1986. However, as is the case with many of these vehicles, time and rust ravaged the vehicle, requiring it to undergo a full restoration. This has taken place over the past four years, with the work being carried out by Tin Rabbit Restorations, located in Kaiapoi.
The Daimler & Lanchester (Jaguar) Owners of New Zealand Spare Parts Club is now manufacturing its own V8 cylinder heads — a project that’s been ongoing for around eight years.
To date, the club has cast 14 cylinder heads — 12 were cast in the first run, with a few issues with the quality of the castings as well as with the subsequent machining. Only two heads from that original batch made it through to prototype stage, and those were fitted to a test engine that has now covered about 5000kms.
Since the casting of the original heads, improvements have been made to the moulds. A further two heads have been cast and are currently being machined in preparation for installation onto the engine of the club’s Daimler ute, pictured at left.
Once these heads have been fully tested, it’s the club’s intention to commission the casting of a further 10 cylinder heads.