Austin Westminster A105 Vanden Plas (1958 - 1959)
The first A105 Vanden Plas was produced to special order for the personal use of BMC's chairman, Sir Leonard Lord. He was so delighted with the result that he then requested Vanden Plas to produce the cars in quantity, and 500 were built in little more than a year. It was more important, however, that this was the start of Vanden Plas' expanding coversion business for BMC, which went on to encompass cars like the 3-litre Princess and the Princess 1100 models.
Mechanically, the A105 Vanden Plas was the same as that of the standard A105, for all the changes were in trim and furnishing. Cars were built at Longbridge, without trim and upholstery, then delivered to the Vanden Plas works at Kingsbury for completion. Compared with the standard product, the Vanden Plas derivative had wood (walnut) facia and door cappings, leather seat facings, thick pile carpet on the floor, and a wood cloth headlining. There were special exterior paint jobs, side flashes and badges, and right from the start the cars could be supplied with centre-floor or steering-column gear-change controls. As with the ordinary A105, Borg-Warner overdrive was standard equipment and automatic transmission was optional.
Austin A105 Vanden Plas specification
As for Austin A105 facelift model except for:
Produced: Longbridge and Kingsbury, 1958-59. 500 A105 Vanden Plas models built.
Dimensions: Unladen weight 3,105lb.
Typical performance: Maximum speed 94mph; 0-60mph 17.8sec; standing 1/4-mile 21.2sec: overall fuel consumption 20mpg.
Fate: Discontinued in 1959 and replaced by the new Princess model derived from the A99 Westminster.
Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)