Vanden Plas Princess 3 Litre MkII (1961 - 1964)

When BMC facelifted their Austin A99/Wolseley 6/99 models in the autumn of 1961 (at which time they became Austin A110/Wolseley 6/110 respectively), they handed on the same mechanical improvements to the Vanden Plas derivative.

Visually, therefore, the Vanden Plas was virtually unchanged from the original Mk1, but because it had significantly more power than before it had become a genuine 100mph car. Road-testers suggested that it offered 'luxury at a very competitive price', which was exactly the right sort of image which BMC had hoped to develop for the car.

Like the Austins and Wolseleys, the Mk II version of the Princess 3-Litre had 120bhp from its retuned 2.9-litre engine, a longer wheelbase and suspension changes to add to the stability, and it was made even better from mid-1962 when power-assisted steering became optional.

The way to pick the Mk II from its ancestor, incidentally, was to observe that the rear bumper overriders had been moved outboard to be in line with the tail-fins.

Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre mk II specification

As for original 3-Litre model except for:

Produced: Kingsbury, 1961-64. 7,984 cars built.

Engine and transmission: 120bhp at 4,750rpm; 163lb ft at 2,750rpm. Centre-floor change for manual-transmission car; optional power-assisted steering from mid-1962.

Chassis: Rear suspension with transverse anti-sway hydraulic damper, no anti-roll bar.

Dimensions: Wheelbase 9ft 2in; height 5ft 0.5in. Unladen weight (approx) 3,660lb.

Typical performance: (Automatic-transmission version) Maximum speed 105mph; 0-60mph 16.9sec; standing 1/4-mile 21.4sec; overall fuel consumption 18mpg.

Launch Price: £1,626

Distinguishing features from previous models: Longer wheelbase, rear suspension changes, centre-floor change for manual-transmission car and facia changes.

Derivatives: Car itself was derived from Austin A110/Wolseley 6/110 design. Princess R of 1964-68 was derived from the 3-Litre Mk II.

Fate: Discontinued in summer 1964 in favour of Princess R model.

Trivia fact: A small number of Estate versions were built using these cars as a base, including one for HM The Queen. At least one very elegant 2 door version was built as well.

Source: "The Cars of BMC" - Graham Robson (Motor Racing Publications, 1987)