On this day in auto history - January 14th

Thu 14th Jan 2021

It was on this day way back in 1896 that the Daimler Motor Co. was founded by the colourful motor industry pioneer Harry John Lawson.

A former bicycle designer, Lawson saw great opportunities in the burgeoning motor industry and sought to enrich himself by garnering a number of important motoring patents. Those included the rights to use the Daimler name which were acquired from the master German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler.

Having set up a manufacturing base in Coventry, Lawson soon became mired in legal problems connected to his numerous patents and was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in 1904 for fraudulently obtaining money from shareholders.

In the ensuing reorganisation of his finances, the Daimler Motor Co - by then renowned for luxury vehicles - was purchased by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) who held the Daimler rights until selling them on to Jaguar in 1960.

Daimler had held a prestigious Royal Warrant to provide cars to the British Monarchy in 1902 but lost that privilege in the 1950’s after being supplanted by Rolls-Royce.