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Norwich man’s treasured classic car could be one of a kind

PUBLISHED: 16:40 11 June 2011

Nigel Fairweather of Costessey, is a classic car collector and restorer who has the only Diamler DB 17/1 left in existence. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Nigel Fairweather of Costessey, is a classic car collector and restorer who has the only Diamler DB 17/1 left in existence. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Archant © 2011

It is a car from a by-gone era; a motoring beauty which ferried the rich and royalty between high-profile engagements in 1930’s London.

The Royal Family and Daimler cars

Daimler cars have been a popular choice for the royal family for decades.

Currently, three Daimlers are used as a part of the royal fleet, which also includes eight state limousines, two Bentleys as well as a number of Volkswagen people carriers.

On the Sandringham estate a 1900 Daimler bought by Edward VII is on show as part of their historic car collection.

The Queen drew the attention of the regional and national media in March 2010 when she put her Daimler Majestic V8 up for sale. The car was designed specially modified to cater for her handbag and her corgis. It also included a secure telephone link to Downing Street and the Home Office, which was removed before sale.

And now the sumptuous curves and polished bodywork of a Daimler DB 17/1 have been resurrected by a car enthusiast in Norfolk.

Nigel Fairweather, of Costessey, spent months restoring the decades-old saloon, which he claims maybe one of the last of its kind in the country.

The 45-year-old, who provides a classic car recovery service, helped transform the vehicle from a pile of parts into a road-worthy summertime cruiser.

“I first heard about it when someone came up to me at a classic car convention and said, ‘I know where there is a really nice car which you would like to have’,” Mr Fairweather said.

“At first I did not pursue it, but my friend Phil did. I remember we could not believe it at the time. There was this car, which had barely been used, all packed away in apple crates.

“But Phil never got round to finishing it, so I waited and got it from him. For me, restoring this car was the ultimate pleasure.”

The Daimler Motor Company Limited was an independent British motor vehicle manufacturing firm which was founded in London by H J Lawson in 1896.

The Daimler DB 17/1 was built for only one year in 1937 before being replaced with a newer model.

The company’s philosophy was to give the best to customers who expected the best.

However, Mr Fairweather’s car, which has a 2.2cc six-cylinder engine and can do a top speed of 70mph, still needs a few finishing touches to the interior before it is in pristine condition.

The classic car enthusiast said one of biggest surprises about the vehicle was the fact it had only done 18,000 miles from new.

He added: “This car has a totally different style of driving from what you expect.

“It has a pre-select gearbox, which I had to teach myself to
use by driving the car up and down the drive back at my old house.

“I think that every family should have a classic car in their yard because it is our heritage and someone needs to protect it.

“The majority of classic car owners are men in their 70s and 80s, we need to get the younger generation interested otherwise we will lose these beautiful cars forever.”

The Daimler DB 17/1 is one of a collection of classic cars owned by Mr Fairweather, which he uses for his wedding car hire business Carriages for Marriages.

Do you have a rare collectible? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk.

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