Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300


The 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300 were another "badge engineering" job from BMC, in this case the plushest and most expensive derivative of the front-drive 1100/1300 series designed by Alex Issigonis along the lines of his trend-setting Mini.

Like the larger Farina-based Princess models, final assembly and trim application was carried out by Vanden Plas, but there was little difference in appearance or mechanical specifications from those of the downmarket models. Features included all-independent suspension by BMC's innovative -- and troublesome -- "Hydrolastic" gas "springs," interconnected front-to-rear on each side, plus a transversely mounted A-series four-cylinder engine and space-saving front-drive body design.

The Princess 1100/1300 were small but roomy for their size, and nicely equipped in this form with a walnut veneer dash, leather upholstery, and full equipment. As expected, this Princess was marked by the traditional V-P stand-up vertical bar grille.

The 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300 was even sold briefly in the U.S., but most of the emphasis was given to an MG version here. Later, the same basic car was sold here as the Austin America. Though the 1100/1300 series was extremely successful in Britain, it bombed in the States, and imports effectively ended after 1969.

Pluses of the 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300:

  • Quality furnishings
  • Nimbleness
  • A certain cuteness
  • Good economy

Minuses of the 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300:

  • Meager performance and an engine-killing final drive ratio
  • A bit small for some
  • A rare bird in the U.S.
  • Parts very difficult to obtain
  • Unreliable suspension
  • Rust-prone

Production of the 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300:
Approximately 39,000

Specifications of the 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300:
Wheelbase, inches: 93.5
Length, inches: 147.0
Weight, pounds: approximately 2,000
Price, new: NA

Engines for the 1963-1975 Vanden Plas Princess 1100/1300:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
ohv I-4 1,098 cc (67 cid)55/58 1963-1967
ohv I-41,275 cc (78 cid)651968-1975

Want more information about classic cars? See:


More to Explore