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Austin Princess Description
Manufacturer : Austin Motor Company       Year : 1947

The Princess was a distinctive series of large (2 tons) luxury cars made by Austin and its subsidiary Vanden Plas from 1947 to 1968. However:

The Princess name was later also used as follows:

* From October 1959 the name Princess was used on a deluxe version of BMC's mid-sized A99 & A110 cars.
* From October 1962 Princess was used on a deluxe version of the Austin/Morris 1300.
* From September 1975 Princess was used as a name for mass-produced family cars in Leyland's 1800/2200 former Austin/Morris/Wolseley range.

The first Austin Princess A120 was launched in 1947 as the most expensive flagship model in the Austin range at the same time as the A110 Austin Sheerline (designed during the war) which body was built on the same chassis at Longbridge, the A110 produced 10 less horsepower being fitted with a single carburetter. Both cars always had bodies that were massive and heavy in appearance. The Princess (model code A120) featured a body by the coachbuilder Vanden Plas and was a large saloon or limousine. The car was offered with two distinct interiors. The "DM" or limousine type had a sliding glass partition between the driver and rear passengers plus picnic tables, and the "DS" was the saloon. The saloons were successful as a top-executive car, many Princesses (and Sheerlines, for that matter) were bought for civic ceremonial duties or by hire companies as limousines for hire. The standard saloon weighed almost two tons, was 16 ft 9 inches long and 6 feet 1 inches wide on a 10-foot 1-inch (the short) wheelbase.

The Princess model was updated over the years through Mark I (A120), Mark II (A135) and Mark III versions, the largest variation being the introduction of the long-wheelbase version in 1950 with a longer body and seven seats: apart from that the bodywork and running gear didn't change much, nor did the 4-litre straight-6 engine. The radiator was fairly upright in old-fashioned style and the car had separate front wings but these cars were always more modern in style than the equivalent sized Bentley or Rolls-Royce and, for the saloon, the price was little more than two-thirds of the Rolls-Royce.

From August 1957 the Austin part of the badging was dropped so it could be sold by Nuffield dealerships. So although Austin was producing a Princess, it was no longer the Austin Princess by name. From May 1960, the Vanden Plas name was added in front of "Princess".

Much later, the Vanden Plas Princess was revived as a single model of the Leyland Princess range, built by British Leyland (BL) in the 1970s and initially sold through Austin and other dealerships; this car was never actually badged Austin Princess in the UK (though it was in some export markets) and is commonly referred to as simply the Princess.

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