ex-British Royal Household
1964 VANDEN PLAS PRINCESS LONG WHEELBASE LIMOUSINE
COACHWORK BY VANDEN PLAS
Chassis No. V-DM4/15703
Engine No. 15764
Black with black leather to front and fawn cloth to rear
Engine: six cylinders in-line, pushrod operated overhead valves, 3,995cc, 150bhp at 4,100rpm; Gearbox: four-speed automatic; Suspension: independent front by coil springs and wishbones, rear beam axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: servo-assisted four wheel hydraulically operated drum. Right hand drive.
In 1946, the Austin Motor Company decided there was room for a formal carriage as imposing, refined and luxuriously equipped as those created by the most illustrious of makes, yet costing far less. They called their new car the Princess and at its heart was a well-tried and powerful 135bhp straight six powerplant. They installed this excellent unit in a massive chassis frame and provided well designed independent front suspension. For coachwork they called on the proven skills of Roland Fox and his craftsmen at Vanden Plas in London, who had executed so many fabulously lovely designs on Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Talbot and other classic marques. The coachbuilders met the challenge, with figured walnut, fine leathers, thick pile carpets over deep underfelt and a host of thoughtful details in the great tradition of London coachbuilders. It was a success. Vanden Plas became a Britsh Motor Corporation subsidiary, building up to ten Princesses a week. From 1958 the complete car was built at Vanden Plas' works and was renamed, becoming the Vanden Plas Princess Mark IV, when that company became a separate marque. Sheer performance is not the yardstick by which eight-seater limousines are measured, but on test the Princess was good for well over 80mph with an easy cruising gait of around 70mph.
The Princess was perfectly suited for State and Ceremonial duties.
The present example was constructed during the winter of 1963/4 to the order of the British Royal Household, presumably taking its place in the fleet maintained in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. The Royal Equerrys were renowned for their exacting, detailed orders. On this occasion they listed no fewer than sixteen specific fittings, including an electrically controlled aerial operated from the right-hand rear seat, rear footrests, electric window lifts and rear floor rug. Additionally, a shield and flag-mast carrier socket was ordered, with a removable blue police roof light. Vanden Plas were asked to ensure that a 'quiet' back axle be fitted and power steering was requested. The car was to be run-in for up to 500 miles and the first service completed before delivery. The Princess name plates, P motif and Coronet were all to be deleted.
Having been used more recently as part of a fleet of limousine service cars, the Princess is beginning to show her age; the car is offered with photocopies of the Vanden Plas Introduction Notes and British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate. It has a California title certificate.