RAC Cars News


Sprinkling a Little Stardust

By raccars Published

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A very special Daimler is set to be auctioned this weekend - the Daimler DK400 'Stardust,' one of five spectacular cars made at the behest of Lady Docker, the wife of company chairman, Sir Bernard Docker, in a bid to add some glamour to the firm in drab, post war Britain.

The 'Stardust' Daimler took extravagance and excess to unprecedented levels. The royal blue exterior was hand painted with 5,000 six pointed stars, while the interior upholstery is a mix of blue crocodile skin and hand woven silk brocade - apparently mink was Lady Docker's first choice but was considered too hot to sit on in comfort! Four suitcases were tailored in matching crocodile skin to fit into the car's boot, while electronic double glazing on the windows added to the luxury. Sitting proudly on the front of the bonnet is a silver mascot modelled upon a naked Lady Docker...

Sir Bernard and Lady Docker showed off their creation at the wedding of Prince Rainier of Monaco to Grace Kelly, the invitation to which is included in the sale of the car.

Socialite, Norah Docker, was originally a London showgirl and nightclub hostess, but worked her way up the social ladder by dint of three marriages to successful business executives. These were punctuated by a serious of illustrious affairs. Marriage number three, to Birmingham Small Arms chairman, Sir Bernard Docker, was characterised by an orgy of extravagant living and wild behaviour.

The 'Docker Specials' were a series of five Daimlers built for the show circuit, to Lady Docker's ridiculously extravagant specifications. However, they were unable to find a place in the post war British auto market. The 'Stardust' project alone cost £12,500, which at the time was more expensive than a semi-detached house and nearly sent Daimler into bankruptcy. Sir Bernard was voted out of his job, accused of expenses improprieties and allowing his wife's over reaching ambition to run away with company funds.

Apart from the 'Stardust' in 1954, there was the 'Golden Daimler' of 1951, liberally adorned with gold plated trim and 7,000 gold stars hand painted on the coachwork. 1952 was the 'Blue Clover,' a sporty two door coupe, followed by 1953's 'Silver Flash,' with aluminium bodywork, bespoke solid silver hairbrushes and red crocodile skin luggage. After the 'Stardust,' the series ended in 1955 with the 'Golden Zebra,' cream with gold plated trim plus an interior of zebra skin and an ivory dashboard.

The 'Stardust' is expected to fetch £160,000 at the auction by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival festival in Chichester, West Sussex.

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