The Daimler Scout Car, known in service as the Daimler Dingo (after the Australian wild dog), was a British light fast four-wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle also used for liaison during the Second World War.

Daimler Scout Car
Daimler Dingo.jpg
Daimler Dingo Scout Car
TypeArmoured car
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
In service1940–1974
Used byBritish Commonwealth and associated foreign units in Second World War, other nations post war.
Production history
No. built6,626
Mass2.8 long tons (3 tonnes)
Length10 ft 5 in (3.18 m)
Width5 ft 7.5 in (1.715 m)
Height4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)

  • 30 mm front
  • 12 mm sides
.303 in Bren gun or a .55 in Boys Anti-tank Rifle[1]
Engine2.5 litre 6-cyl Daimler petrol
55 hp (41 kW)
Power/weight18.3 hp/tonne
Transmissionpre-selector gearbox, five gears forward and 5 gears reverse
Suspensionindependent, coil spring, Wheeled 4×4
200 mi (320 km)
Speed55 mph (89 km/h)

Design and developmentEdit

German soldiers inspect a Dingo of the Canadian Army abandoned during the August 1942 Dieppe Raid.
A Dingo with a Bren gun, followed by a Daimler Armoured Car and a Humber Armoured Car in 1942

In 1938, the British War Office issued a specification for a scouting vehicle. Three British motor manufacturers, Alvis, BSA Cycles and Morris, were invited to supply prototypes. Alvis had been in partnership with Nicholas Straussler and provided armoured cars to the Royal Air Force, Morris had participated in trials and production of armoured cars and BSA Cycles – whose parent Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) was involved in armaments – had a small front wheel drive vehicle in production.

Testing began in August 1938. All were of similar size and layout – rear engine and all four-wheel-drive. The Morris design was eliminated first – suffering from poor speed even after modification by its builders. The Alvis prototype – known as "Dingo" – could manage 50 mph (80 km/h) over a cross country course but had a high centre of gravity.

The BSA prototype was completed in September and handed over for testing. By December, it had covered 10,000 mi (16,000 km) on- and off-road with few mechanical problems. Policy from the War Office changed to a requirement for an armoured roof. The BSA vehicle needed a more powerful engine and strengthened suspension. It was chosen over the Alvis and the first order (172 vehicles) for the "Car, Scout, Mark I" was placed in May 1939. The actual production was passed to Daimler, which was a vehicle manufacturer in the BSA group of companies.

The potential of the design was recognised, and it served as the basis for the development of a larger armoured car – a "Light Tank (Wheeled)", which would later become the Daimler Armoured Car. The first pilot vehicle was built by the end of 1939, later to be named 'Daimler Scout Car' but already known by the name of the Alvis design - the 'Dingo'.

Arguably one of the finest armoured fighting vehicles built in Britain during the war, the Dingo was a compact two-man armoured car, well protected for its size with 1.2 in (30 mm) of armour at the front and powered by a 2.5 litre 55 hp straight six petrol engine in the rear of the vehicle. An ingenious features of the Dingo's design was the transmission, which included a preselector gearbox and fluid flywheel that gave five speeds in both directions, another was a four-wheel steering system made possible by the H-drive drivetrain, giving a tight turning circle of 23 ft (7.0 m). Inexperienced drivers found it difficult to control so rear-steering was deleted in later production at the cost of increasing the turning circle by 65 per cent to 38 ft (12 m).

The layout of the H-drive drivetrain contributed greatly to its low silhouette, agility and - an important consideration in any vehicle used for reconnaissance, an exceptionally quiet engine and running gear. Power was led forward to a centrally placed transfer box and single differential driving separate left and right hand shafts, each in turn running forwards and back to a bevel box powering each wheel. This compact layout resulted in a low-slung vehicle with a flat plate that allowed the Dingo to slide across uneven ground but made the Dingo extremely vulnerable to mines.

No spare wheel was carried, considered unnecessary because of the use of run-flat (nearly solid) rubber tyres rather than pneumatic types vulnerable to punctures. Despite hard tyres, independent coil suspension gave each wheel approximately 8 in (20 cm) vertical deflection and coil springs all round gave a remarkably comfortable ride.

A swivelling seat beside the driver allowed the second crew member to attend to the No. 19 wireless set or Bren gun. The driver's seat was canted slightly off to the left of the vehicle which, in conjunction with a raise-able vision flap in the rear armour, allowed the driver to drive in reverse and look behind by looking over his left shoulder, a useful feature in a reconnaissance vehicle where quick retreats were sometimes necessary.

The Dingo remained in production throughout the war but to bring other production resources into use, the design was passed to Ford Canada, where an equivalent vehicle ("Scout Car, Ford, Mk.I", also called "Lynx") was built with a more powerful Ford V8 95 hp engine, transmission and running gear. The vehicle superficially resembled the Dingo in general arrangement and body shape, was approximately a foot longer, wider and taller, a ton and a half heavier, less nimble (the turning circle was 47 ft (14 m)) and was louder. While rugged and dependable, it was not as popular as the Dingo, unsurprising given the intended use of covert intelligence-gathering. Total production figures for each type were 6,626 for the Dingo (all marks) 1939–1945 and 3,255 for the Lynx 1942–1945.


The Dingo was first used by the British Expeditionary Force (1st Armoured Division and 4th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) during the Battle of France. It turned out to be so successful that no replacement was sought until 1952 with the production of the Daimler Ferret. Principal users were reconnaissance units with a typical late-war recce troop consisting of two Daimler Armoured Cars and two Daimler Dingoes. The vehicle was highly sought-after with damaged Dingoes often being recovered from vehicle dumps and reconditioned for use as private runabouts. One such 'off establishment' vehicle was rebuilt from two damaged Dingoes in Normandy, 1944, by REME vehicle fitters of 86th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. They operated this Dingo for about a week before a higher-ranking officer spotted it and commandeered it for himself.

Writing in 1968, author R.E. Smith said that all Dingoes had now been withdrawn from British service - except for one used as a runabout at an armoured establishment - but some might have remained in Territorial Army storage at that date.[2] Many were also purchased from Canada by the Union Defence Force after the Second World War, though few South African examples have survived to the present day,[3] and were also procured in large numbers for Commonwealth patrols during the Malayan Emergency. Ten were purchased by the United States for liaison purposes during the Vietnam War, at least one turreted American prototype being tested with the 7th Cavalry Regiment.[4] In the mid-1970s, the Dingo was still being used by Cyprus, Portugal and Sri Lanka. Some may have been in reserve store with other minor nations. Surviving vehicles are now popular with historical re-enactors with reconditioned Dingoes commanding a good price.


Production went through 5 variants, which were mostly minor improvements. 6,626 vehicles were produced from 1939 to 1945.

Mk I
original model with four-wheel steering and sliding roof.
as Mark I but with a folding roof.
reversed engine cooling air flow and revised armour grilles for radiator
As the Mk IB but with steering on the front wheels only and revision of the lighting equipment.
Produced with a waterproofed ignition system. No roof.
Ford Lynx Mk I scout car in the Yad La-Shiryon Museum, Israel
Lynx Scout Car
A closely related vehicle, the Lynx Scout Car, or "Car, Scout, Ford Mark I" was produced by Ford Canada in Windsor, Ontario. The Lynx design grafted a Dingo hull onto a chassis fitted with a conventional four wheel drive and running gear. While the engine was much more powerful the gearbox and suspension were inferior. The type entered service at some time around 1943.
  • Mk I.
  • Mk II - strengthened chassis, no roof. extra storage, revised engine grilles

Another Dingo clone, the Autoblindo Lince was developed by Lancia, Italy. In 1943-1944, 129 cars were built. They were employed by both German and RSI forces.


  1. ^ 11th Hussars used twin 0.303 Vickers K machine guns
  2. ^ Smith, R.E. British Army Vehicles and Equipment. Littlehampton Book Services Ltd, July 1968. ISBN 978-0711000209
  3. ^ Scout Car, Canada - Lynx II (Museum exhibit), Saxonwold, Johannesburg: South African National Museum of Military History, 2014
  4. ^ Icks, Robert. AFV Weapons Profile Vol 1 40 - US Armored Cars. Profile Publications 1972. ASIN: B0007BNFRC pp 21-22.


  • Forty, George (1996). World War Two Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Self-Propelled Artillery. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-582-9.
  • White, B. T. Armoured Cars. AFV No. 21. Profile Publishing.

External linksEdit