The Daimler Dart SP250 entered our life together in 2001. I knew it existed and it was on my husband’s radar for years before but it didn’t enter our home until that year. My husband was graduating college with a B.S. in computer science. The owner of the Daimler had finally decided his fun was done with the car and my husband was the first name he called to offer it up for sale.
As good couples do before spending a big chunk of money we discussed the purchase. We weighed the pros and cons of owning a sports car/race car and debated the cost versus the amount of joy and opportunity (for fun) it could bring. Obviously we decided to buy the car. We proudly featured it in our Christmas photo card of 2001 like it was the “newest addition to the family”!
Initially we took the Daimler to car shows locally. Being a rare English sports car the Daimler was like the red-headed bastard step-child at the events we took her to that first year. Meanwhile, my husband, nonplussed, began race-prepping the car knowing in 2002 he was going to take the Vintage Sports Car Club of America’s (VSCCA) driving school and embark on an amateur racecar driving career. From here on out I will refer to my husband as “Racer”.
By the time driving school started in spring 2002 I was pregnant with our first child. By the fall of that year, after my husband had a couple of races under his belt, we took our newborn with us. Racer was and is a very engaged father and I have a picture of him changing our son’s diaper while wearing his firesuit. The baby boy became a part of our world. The Daimler played the role of both fun racecar and still street-legal fun car. But I rarely got an opportunity to ride in her.
A second son followed four years later and by then racing occurred about five to six times per year in places like Lime Rock, CT, Pittsburgh, PA for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, Watkins Glen, NY, and Pocono Raceway, PA. We enjoyed taking our family racing and never thought of slowing down.
But then I was expecting another child a few years later and the economy started to tank. Races disappeared from our schedule in order to conserve money and provide for our expanding family. One race, an event that Racer chairs at Pocono, stays on the calendar, but that is all that is left to his racing itinerary.
Racer takes the Daimler to a Friday night meeting, a gathering of dear friends. He may take the children for individual rides to blow out the cobwebs occasionally. But we rarely get to go anywhere together in the car.
During my Birthday Weekend we lucked into two opportunities to use the Daimler because my parents were able to be with our children. The first was on the night of my actual birthday. My parents took our children to the Drive-In Restaurant in my dad’s Studebaker Lark and Racer took me in the Daimler to the same place. We had a blast!
Later in the weekend while my children enjoyed a night at their grandparents home, Racer and I woke early and drove to the Poconos to have breakfast in our new favorite breakfast nook, the Chat and Chew! We, of course, took the Daimler!
What’s so great about this is not plainly evident. The Daimler is our sanctuary, a place where we are a couple, period. We are alone to feel the wind whip through our hair (no windshield anymore, just two tiny Brookland windscreens), to view nature all around us, and to get lost in the drone of the engine. We are left alone to speak our minds, think private thoughts, and luxuriate in holding hands.
Some may wonder why we hang on to a racecar that rarely gets used, is old and is difficult to find parts for, and doesn’t fit our family. It’s a no-brainer for me. One day the kids will be off to their own lives, and Racer and I will get back to the business of amateur racing and escapes on the open road as an intrepid couple who love one another and the Daimler.