Cohort Outtake: Vanden Plas Princess 1100 – When Status Came In Small Packages

Benoît found and posted something a bit out of the ordinary for us to savor. It’s a Vanden Plas Princess 1100, the most luxurious and prestigious member of the BMC AD16 family. Alfred Sloan would have loved the ADO16, as it covered every step of his ladder: An ADO16 for every purse. Or in England: An ADO16 for every class.

Starting at the bottom, there were the Austin and Morris 1100s, the Chevrolets of the family.

The MG, like this one that lives around the corner from me, was the sporty Pontiac.

The Wolseley could play the role of the Oldsmobile.

And the Riley Kestral makes a fine Buick stand-in.

And then there’s the Vanden Plas princess 1100/1300, at the very top of the ladder.

If its big grille and driving/fog lights don’t make that clear from the outside, opening a door certainly will.

It was an interesting time in London, in the mid 60s, as a new generation of snobs tried to upend the traditional status of size, by espousing very small but finely trimmed cars, like this Radford Mini, which cost several times as much as a Mini Cooper. We covered the Radford and its ilk here. Needless to say, this was a rather short fad. Before long, nicely trimmed Ranger Rovers had taken their place.