The Austin Ambassador is a big family car released by the British Leyland mass-market car manufacturing subsidiary, Austin Rover Group, and was the heavily updated version of the Austin Princess. Although it served as a connection between the lighter Morris Ital and the Rover SD1, sales of the model were modest, and it was discontinued in 1984 with 43,427 vehicles made.
History of Austin Ambassador
During the time of Princess, it was available in a 6-cylinder 2.2L engine, but not with Austin Ambassador. Austin only sold it as a four-cylinder with either a 1.7L or a 2.0L engine. Available variants were "L," "HL," and "HLS" trims. After the development phase and planning, British Leyland budgeted £29 million (£109 million or $140 million in 2022) to facelift the Princess. Austin used a twin-carburetor 2.0L engine in the HLS and Vanden Plas versions of the 2.2L vehicles. On the 2.0L HL, the company added the twin-carburetor engine in 1983. The two available gearboxes were a four-speed manual, and an automatic, and critics pointed out that the manual transmission lacked a fifth gear (found on later BL models). Only right-hand-drive variants of the Ambassador were made and hence were not marketed to Europe, despite prototypes being created in left-hand drive. Only 23 Ambassadors out of 43,500 constructed are now registered and taxed in Britain, compared to about 225,000 Princesses. With an MOT, there are currently 79 Princesses functioning in the UK. When Austin withdrew the Ambassador in March 1984 (roughly two years later), there was no official successor. A somewhat smaller Montego and a new series of smaller Rovers successfully solved that problem left by Austin-Rover.
Online car auction sites offer used Austin Ambassador prices ranging from £1,000 to £10,000 ($1,306 to $13,059).
Austin shared the same headlights from Morris Ital for the Ambassador. Other key features, including most interior decoration, were also shared with other BL models, such as the Allegro. The interior was usually not an upgrade over the Princess', looking cheap and missing a rev counter, even in the premium HLS variant. As per British Leyland, they directly shared only the front door panels with the Princess. The back half of the chassis was redesigned to allow the opening hatch, and there were windows in the C-pillars that provided for an airier interior.
The Austin Ambassador engine delivers 91 hp (68 kW) at 4,900 rpm and 114 lb-ft (155 Nm) at 2,750 rpm of torque. The Austin Ambassador accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in 12 seconds with a top speed of 104 mph (168 kph) and a curb weight of 2,679 lbs (1,215 kg). Austin offered the Ambassador as a front-wheel-drive (FWD) model with a 4-speed manual transmission powered by 1.7L O-series I4 and 2.0L O-series I4 engines.
In March 1992, Austin released the Ambassador and it was discontinued after a 2-year run in 1984.