Because it's Monday: Let's Contemplate the Tiny Alternator on Jay Leno's Daimler SP250

The best way to get Jay Leno to show up at your car show is to hold the event close enough to his Burbank, California shop that the car needn’t come up to heat to get there. That wasn’t quite the case with the recent Queen’s English car show where Jay brought his Daimler SP250 (nee, Dart) to show off, but that was okay since the car appears to be sorted out now.
If you’re familiar with the Jay’s restoration blog then you’ll know that wasn’t initially the case, and the former TV host made the point of demonstrating what it took to get the car right when he debuted the finished product on Jay Leno’s Garage. Those shows where a car is restored in like two days, he said, were a bunch of bunk. Prior to coming into Jay’s possession, this 1962 Daimler SP250 spent its life out of doors, and the last ten of those sitting fallow in a yard. It’s now—at least after a couple of false starts and a number of years—a beautifully-running and appearing machine.
Jay doesn’t call the car a “resto-mod” but it does have a lot of updating below its fiberglass body. That includes upgraded brakes, a Tremec five-speed in place of the original Moss box, and a couple of interesting updates to the engine compartment. The SP250 is powered by a tiny hemi-headed 2.5-litre V8 and that was traditionally fed through a pair of SU HS6 side-draught carbs topped with pancake wire air cleaners. Jay has chosen a single 2BBL down-draught with electric choke. With its tiny rectangular air cleaner that looks odd enough, but add to that the seemingly half-scale Japanese alternator where originally a twice as deep generator would sit and you’ve got an SP250 that looks like it’s out of Gulliver’s Travels.
Since it’s Monday and we need something to take our minds off the work week ahead, let’s consider whether these updates are likely worth their comical appearance.
Image: ©2017 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

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10 responses to “Because it's Monday: Let's Contemplate the Tiny Alternator on Jay Leno's Daimler SP250”

  1. Hubba Avatar

    For parts like alternators, transmissions, and air conditioning, usually the only reason to keep the old stuff is aesthetics/authenticity. The original parts usually aren’t a carefully crafted solution; they’re bits off the shelf that fit and work.

  2. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    Everyone replaces the generator with a alternator, except me because I like my lights to dim at idle. Carb changes I don’t know. There are lot of bad Weber conversions on junk British cars. People don’t spend the time or money to do the SU correctly, instead just blame the carbs.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    As Bob Lawrence used to say, “If you’re gonna run ’em, you gotta make ’em run.”

  4. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    Like a first generation RX-7 – it would be super easy to change that alternator.

  5. fede Avatar

    In my case we decided to keep the generator (6v, 1946 DeSoto) just because it was way cheaper and simpler to repair it (it was kind of working, but just to be sure) than to change to alternator, 12v, change the lights, etc.
    But if it ever goes bad for good, than 12v alternator it is

    1. cap'n fast Avatar
      cap’n fast

      it is possible to put a 6Vdc solid state regulator into the 12 volt alternator. saw that trick on a nash ambassador super in western Oklahoma some time ago. did not dim the 6V headlights at idle. neat trick.

  6. outback_ute Avatar

    I wonder whether they gave any thought to relocating the alternator lower down to hide it a bit?
    On the carb side of things, it is a bit of a shame in a way because the original setup was reasonably unique. I probably prefer Strombergs to SUs, otherwise to make things a lot harder but better overall what about EFI? You can get injector throttle bodies that look like Weber carbs for example that would look pretty good.

  7. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    By the way, that SP250 sounds glorious.

    1. Jeff M Avatar
      Jeff M

      ALL SP250’s. One of the most wonderful engine notes aboot.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        Daimler did make a 4.5 litre version of that engine. But that might have brought the car’s performance too close to the XKE/E Type after the Jaguar takeover. So it never happened.
        Some discussion here: