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a fish called wanda movie poster
Promotional Movie Poster

old Daimler ad
Classic Daimler Advertisment

80 at Pittsburgh VGP
#80 at Pittsburgh VGP

"Wanda" got her name thanks to co-owner Bill Holland describing his newly-acquired Daimler SP250 to his cousin, a sports car enthusiast who was unfamiliar with the car, saying "It looks like a cross between a Triumph TR-3 and a Sunbeam Tiger with a grille that resembles the mouth of a fish." Cousin Jim recalled the Jamie Lee Curtis/John Cleese movie, "A Fish Called Wanda" and the moniker stuck.

The Daimler SP250 was originally called the "Dart," but at the car's 1959 debut at the New York Auto Show it became known that Chrysler had already trademarked the name in the U.S. and "SP250" it became. Only 2,648 of them were produced in Coventry, England between 1959 and 1964 —with about half coming to the U.S. (the market for which it was developed). Its most unique feature is a tiny 2.5L Hemi V-8 engine designed by Edward Turner, best known for his work on Triumph and Ariel Square 4 motorcycle engines. The body is fiberglass, the frame a "ladder" design with leaf springs in the back and A-arms up front, and the transmission is a 4-speed. Jaguar purchased Daimler in 1960 and further development of the SP250 was shelved due to Jaguar's pending XKE launch.

Wanda was originally raced on the East Coast, and sat from 2006 to 2013 —when she was purchased by Holland and Steve Sanett and brought to California. A year-long frame-off restoration/rejuvenation ensued at Penta Motorsports (Canoga Park, CA), including repainting the car its original factory color, "Mountain Blue."