Curbside Classic Outtake: 1960/70’s Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300 – The Real Anglophile

(first posted 5/5/2018)      I came across these two on a recent Sunday Tokyo sojourn – one a full-fledged Brit, the other an aspiring impostor.  Let’s first take a look at the distinguished UK citizen hiding under the overhang. 

It appears we have here a late 60’s or early ‘70’s Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300that while mostly intact, unfortunately looks immobile.

I have to admit, trying to identify BMC’s ADO16 models from this era has always been difficult for me – is it an Austin, a Morris, a Wolseley, a Riley, or an MG? A 1100 or a 1300? Or a Vanden Plas? Given most share the same chassis and body shell, it usually comes down to the grille.

Power came from the A-Series pushrod four cylinder – 48 hp in 1100 (1098 cc) guise and 58 with the 1300 (1275 cc).  Note the radiator on the right side of the engine bay.

While mostly described as an up-sized Mini, the suspension on these models was unique and innovative – it was manufactured by Dunlop and named “Hydrolastic”.  Rubber bladders were located at each wheel and filled with a solution of alcohol and water.  Lines connected the bladders front to back.  When a wheel deflected, it would compress the fluid to the opposite (front or back) wheel, to prevent pitching.  The system was fairly reliable, but required a knowledgeable mechanic to service it.

The Vanden Plas Princess was the luxury entry of the group – and could be had with an attractive wood and leather interior.

Hopefully this one will get back on the road again.  Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the Pretender in the top photo.


Related: CC MG 1100 (ADO16): BMC’s Greatest Hit  by Roger Carr