29 years later (a sticker on the windshield identifies that the car was last registered in Arizona in 1981) the engine on my 1962 Daimler SP250 roared to life. It has been quite a journey to this point. I received the car from Los Angeles in May 2009, stripped it down to the chassis and started restoring all of the parts. I am now 85% of the way there. The engine sits on the completed chassis and is mostly assembled.
Last week, I brought together my friend (and auto mechanic mentor) Harvey (and his wife Carol) and my favorite professional mechanic Eric Tolman from Rockport Machine to start the engine. We hooked up an oil pressure gauge, wired in the coil and the battery, jimmy rigged a fuel bag to the twin SU carburetors and connected the starter. As this was my first time rebuilding an engine, I asked what we were looking for as the engine fired up. I was told to “look for minor or major oil leaks and low oil pressure, and to stay away from the front of the car where the fan could fly loose,” maybe they were kidding. After a few “coughs”, the engine fired up and ran well, needing only a few minor adjustments to the tappets. My heart was pounding as fast as the car engine was running. It was 4 degrees F. outside so we kept the doors to the garage closed and the fumes eventually got to the smoke detectors, adding more drama to the event.
The body is sanded and primed, just waiting for the final paint coats. Hopefully we can attach the body to the chassis by mid March and get the car on the road by early spring. Click here to watch a short video I shot while starting the engine.