The cars : Princess/Ambassador development history

The cars : Princess/Ambassador development history

The Princess never actually started out as such – but a marque-confused midliner to replace the slow-selling Landcrab. However, BL’s wedge-shaped odyssey didn’t sell that well, either, although that was more down to the poor reputation of the company that built it – and early build niggles – than any weakness in the product itself. […]

Video : 18-22 Series development on video

The wedge Princess development story

Keith Adams It’s a shame that car manufacturers rarely release videos like this – ones that follow the design process and engineering development of a new car from its conception. Okay, so the Post-Ryder British Leyland Motor Corporation was doing its best to stay afloat in 1975, but this video clearly shows that the Princess […]

Tested : Princess vs Granada vs Renault 20


After the Princess received its O-Series engine in 1978, it was finally capable of battling with the rest of the best of the full-sized European opposition. The main target was the base model Ford Granada, but the Europeans were strong in this sector, too. Keith Adams compares the Renault 20 and Ford Granada against the […]

Technical : Hydragas explained


Hydragas suspension was one of the quiet achievements pioneered and refined by British Leyland – and yet, it never received the praise it deserved. KEITH ADAMS briefly explains how the system works. Pioneer that led nowhere… SINCE the introduction of the Mini in 1959, BL’s predecessor, the British Motor Corporation (BMC), had been right at […]

Blog : New openings, 30 years on

Austin Ambassador: not a Y-reg...

Kevin Davis It may not be the most revered product from Austin-Morris, but this month the Austin Ambassador celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Back in 1980 the marketplace was changing. Vauxhall’s next Cavalier would be a hatchback and Ford’s Cortina replacement, the Sierra, would also be a five-door. Austin-Morris realised that the lack of a fifth […]

Blog : Clubbed to death

Neglected and sorry looking Club 100.

Kevin Davis The Princess Club 100 Special is surely the rarest of rare Princesses, rarer, even, than the much sought after Wolseley. The Club 100 was an internal Austin-Morris product brought about by the need to provide a car for their top 100 performing dealer principals, known as the ‘Club 100’. Rewards typically included holidays […]

In memoriam : Austin 1800/2200HL

Dan Nichols' Austin 1800HL

Keith Adams The continuing series of features about cars on the endangered list in the UK, according to data supplied by the brilliant How Many Left? website based on DVLA data. 10: Austin 1800/2200HL One of the most enjoyable aspects about researching the In Memoriam series of articles is searching through lists and lists of […]

Engines : O-Series

The O-Series was designed to act as the company’s mid-range engine mainstay for the late 1970s and beyond. If at first you don’t succeed… The formation of Austin-Morris from the ashes of BMC in 1969 allowed BLMC’s product planners to focus on the demands of the middle market, without worrying too much about the more […]

The cars : Princess 1.8D missed opportunity?

Princess 1800HL - also offered (to a select few) in diesel form.

BL’s most important mid-sized car for a decade was a mid-1970s technical tour de force, but what the Princess lacked was a diesel version. But 50 were built, and went out testing. The diesel Princess The Princess went on sale in March 1975, it wasn’t actually called a Princess at all. The wedge shaped saloon […]

Tech : Recharging Maxi spheres

The main problem with Hydragas is that over time, the sealed units would lose gas and become less effective. Alexander Boucke describes the steps involved in getting your Hydragas suspended car back into rude health From 1977/78, Maxis leaving Cowley no longer used the Hydrolastic suspension system, having been upgraded to the more advanced Hydragas […]

Timeline : Princess/Ambassador

The Princess saw many detailed changes during its life – and here, we catalogue them for your enjoyment. This timeline, compiled by Chris Bird, has put the car’s production history in the UK into factual order. Developing the beast Year Month Details 1975 March 18-22 Series 4-door saloon range introduced. Available as Austin 1800, 1800 […]