Austin Princess is a series of luxury cars manufactured by Austin and Vanden Plas (Austin's subsidiary) from 1947 until 1968. In 1959, Austin used Princess on a deluxe version of BMC's mid-sized A99 & A110 cars and a deluxe variant of the Austin/Morris 1300 in October 1962. In September 1975, it was then used as a name for the mass-produced family cars of Leyland 1800/2200 former lineup of Austin/Morris/Wolseley.
History of Austin Princess
The Princess is a family vehicle built in the United Kingdom by British Leyland's Austin-Morris subsidiary from 1975 to 1981 and 1982 in New Zealand. It was based on the BMC ADO17 series and had front-wheel drive with a transverse engine arrangement. This model was still unique for full-size family automobiles in Europe, and it provided the Princess an interior capacity advantage over comparably sized cars from competitors. The Austin/Morris/Wolseley 18-22 series was the initial designation for the automobile under the code ADO71. In 1975, they renamed the series "Princess." Even though it had earlier been used as an exact model on the Austin Princess limo from 1947 through 1956 and the Vanden Plas Princess, this was a new nameplate developed by British Leyland. The Princess is sometimes known as the Austin Princess, which is wrong. Although not popular in the United Kingdom, it was popular in New Zealand. The Austin Ambassador was a modified version of the automobile only offered in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 1981 to 1984. In 1970, Princess sales began to decline. The Princess lost a fifth door, which several of its competitors possessed, even though Harris Mann had initially built the car with a hatch, and the midrange large-car market was hit hard by the OPEC oil crisis of the time. It sat midway between both the Ford Granada and Ford Cortina in terms of dimension. It is designed to rival more premium variants of the Cortina and entry-level equivalents of the Granada. Instead of competing with their current SD1 and Maxi models, British Leyland added a boot to the Princess. The Princess 1800/2200 from 1975 to 1978 and the Princess 2 1700/2000/2200 from 1978 to 1981 were the last models with the "Princess" nameplate. Even though it was not sold as an Austin, Morris, or Wolseley 18–22 Series in the United Kingdom, it was often mistaken for one since it was advertised as such during the first year of its career. The Austin Ambassador took its place in 1982, bringing an end to the Princess nameplate. However, the Vanden Plas brand remained on the Rover SD1's most expensive car version.
Online used car auction websites offer the Austin Princess prices ranging from £3,000 to £30,000 ($3,918 to $39,179). RM Sotheby's put the Austin Princess of John Lennon of The Beatles up for auction in 2016. At the time, it was a failure. When they put it up for auction through Barrett-Jackson in 2017, it sold for $159,000 ($190,465 in 2022). For the most part, Austin Princesses don't cost much. From 1947 to 1968, Austin manufactured the Princess, including John Lennon's 1956 variant. When new, it would cost around two-thirds of the value of a Rolls-Royce at the time.
Currently, the Princess's poor construction quality was the primary reason it didn't achieve the glory it deserved. Even by the time BL figured out how to fix these issues, competitors installed tailgates on their vehicles, and the Princess style quickly became outdated. There were two distinct styles of grilles available for Morris and Wolseley: a basic chrome rectangular with Morris carved into it and a chromium-based grille with a lighted Wolseley logo. The only options for the four-headlight models were a 6-cylinder engine and a velour-trimmed Wolseley model. Trapezoidal headlamps and a primary horizontally-vaned grille were the Austin model's initial "design objective." The above "hump" allowed Morris and Wolseley cars to have larger, stylish grilles for every model. The only fundamental differences between the Austin and Morris versions were their bonnet and headlight styles and badging.
The 1947 Austin Princess engine delivers 120 hp (90 kW) and 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) torque. Austin Princess accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in 20.0 seconds with a top speed of 90 mph (140 kph). The 1947 Austin Princess has a curb weight of 4,630 lbs (2,100 kgs). Austin sold the Austin Princess as a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) model with a 4-speed manual and automatic transmissions powered by Austin D-Series 3,460 cc and 3,991 cc 6-cylinder engines.
Austin Princess debuted in 1947 under Austin and Vanden Plas subsidiary. Austin discontinued the Princess model to give way to the Austin Ambassador in 1982.