Daimler 48HP Manchester Phaeton

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48HP Manchester Phaeton





Attracted by the possibilities of the "Silent Knight" engine Daimler's chairman contacted Charles Yale Knight in Chicago and Knight settled in England near Coventry in 1907. Daimler bought rights from Knight "for England and the colonies" and shared ownership of the European rights, in which it took 60%, with Minerva of Belgium. Daimler contracted Dr Frederick Lanchester as their consultant for the purpose and a major re-design and refinement of Knight's design took place in great secrecy. Knight's design was made a practical proposition. When unveiled in September 1908 the new engine caused a sensation. "Suffice it to say that mushroom valves, springs and cams, and many small parts, are swept away bodily, that we have an almost perfectly spherical explosion chamber, and a cast-iron sleeve or tube as that portion of the combustion chamber in which the piston travels."


The Royal Automobile Club held a special meeting to discuss the new engine, still silent but no longer "Wholly Knight". The Autocar reported on "its extraordinary combination of silence, flexibility and power." Daimler stopped making poppet-valve engines altogether. Under the observation of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), two Daimler sleeve-valve engines were put through severe bench, road, and track tests and, upon being dismantled, showed no visible wear, earning Daimler the 1909 Dewar Trophy. Sales outran the works' ability to supply

Daimler's sleeve valve engines idle silently but they left a slight haze of oil smoke trailing behind them. These engines consumed oil at a rate of up to an Imperial gallon every 450 miles, oil being needed to lubricate the sleeves particularly when cold. However, by the standards of their day they required very little maintenance.

Daimler kept their silent sleeve-valve engines until the mid-1930s. The change to poppet valves began with the Fifteen of 1933

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