Video : 18-22 Series development on video

Keith Adams shares this intriguing video which charts the development of the Princess.

The wedge Princess development story

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 (as it would subsequently become known) was a car the company could be proud of.

Follow the story of the 18-22 Series in this two-part documentary produced by British Leyland films in 1975. It’s a corker.

And when you’ve watched these, have a read of the companion article that spells out the Princess development story in all its glorious detail!

Part One

Part Two

Keith Adams


  1. Real Player’s bloody awful – it even used to be the most neurotic computer program I had ever installed on a computer.

    Ah.. that classic shape. Why did they have to faff around with it and add the vinyl roof and that weird Wolseley grille?

    My favourite one this site has to be the Princess with the Rover 827 alloy wheels.. now that really does work. Does anyone know who that belongs to?

  2. Of all the cars I have had I loved the Princess. I had one in late 70s, all black with Gold pin stripes. What a looker, back then, especially the grill and light treatment.
    Mine had the B series based engine, before they intodueced the O. The ride, handling and comfort was superb for the time. My two young daughters had acres of room in the back with the arm rest down there was no squabbling about “Shes in my space”. They sat in the back snobbishly thinking they were Princess and giving their friends the Royal wave. OK it had a few faults, but funnily enough I dont recall the big ones as much as they quirky little ones that I have not seen much written about. Maybe they were unique to mine.
    Odd little things:
    The soft stamped alluminum trim strip across the back of the boot lid, actually extended beyong the vertical plane of the bumper. I watch in horror as a woman trickled back from a hilly parking space and caught it. She was honorable and got out saying I think I touched your bumper. mmmmm. Maybe it was tolerance stack up but they later made it a flat decal.

    The wheel trim on front wheels was hugley sensitive, my local tyre shop refused to accept responsibility for refitting them and handed them back to the customer to refit. On occasion I looked on in fright as mine when down the road ahead of me.

    A big boot but with a letter box opening, so many times I had stuff that fitted easily but could not get it in there.

    Oh yes then there was the gear shift, tyre wear and oil consumption but who cared it was nearly a great great car.

    Actually loved the Wolsley look especially in that dark beige with brown trim.

    Would love one today.

  3. An interesting watch! How time has moved on – door armrests, map pockets etc. Wow!!

    Some of the old world trim and futuristic shape is an interesting mix. In my opinion, the car benefited from late Princess 2 trim – less chrome, more black.
    Also, I always thought the look of the car improved greatly with higher spec trim – inside and out.

    How advanced for its day. Biggest rival? Cortina!!

  4. I am restoring such a car at the moment and I am still looking for two front seats (HLS) in black with armrests, a set of black HLS door cards and a bonnet for the Morris or Wolseley.
    I will collect the items!
    Please mail me if you will know such items.

  5. I really want a Reynard Metallic Wolseley… my first ride in an ADO71 was a Glacier White Wolseley Automatic at Busbys Garage in Fairford, Gloucestershire in the spring of 1975. Knowles senior went on to order a Reynard Metallic Morris 1800HL with optional full vinyl roof (reg NDD 750P)… which when it arrived was a Princess 1800HL. He later bought a Reynard Princess 2200HLS (manual, WFH 451S), followed by an Oyster 2200HLS Auto (BCF 744T I think). He loved them all (despite the driveshaft problems on the manual 2200HLS)but never wanted an Austin Ambassador – but as for me, I always yearned for one of those Wolseleys.

  6. Harris Mann must have been onto a winner in my opinion – Look at the Scirocco Mk1 AND 2.. they’re just gorgeous.

  7. Car adverts aren’t what they used to be, just don’t get a good view of the jack and wheel brace these days, in fact it’s almost impossible to find them anyway

  8. A bit long isn’t it? Who were films such as these aimed at? I presume the dealers as, in those days when VCRs were still a luxury, few customers would have the means to take it home and watch it. Still, always good to hear the music from BBC’s “Superstars”.

    The Princess reminds me of the current Honda Civic tho’: futuristic-looking but I’ve never seen anyone under the age of 126 actually drive one…

  9. Did BMW take the stampings with them when they left, that swage line and bulging arches reminds me of all that Chris Bangle stuff they are making now. Or my cateracts could be getting worse?

  10. @14 Chances are they could have been aimed at the Quota-quickies, much like that ‘I LOVE Birming-ham’ video with Telly Savallas (-that how you spell it?). These were made because the cinemas had to have a minimum amount of UK and/or local content put one for them to be allowed to show movies from around the world.

    @15 No, you’re kind of right but to a lesser degree, because they were using conventional steel pressing systems of the time. – These days to produce sharper but less stressed creasees in the steel, they use hydroform pressing – with much more dramatic results. Look at the rear shoulder line of the XF as an example.

  11. These presentations were shot on “Film” (16mm probably)not Videotape. The style of production and music choice was typical of Industrial Film making in that era. I worked for an Industrial Film & Video Production House for 28 years and our output in the 70s was in a similar vein to these “Princess” films.

    Great to see them again,as apart from having a nostalgic glimpse at the cars, it takes me back to younger happier times!

  12. 17, yes the locking cap that was prone to jamming (well at least mine was) The dealer “fixed” it several times.

    I remember during one of the petrol shortages back then stopping in Scotland when I found a place with fuel. You guess. I had a near empty tank with a Petrol Pump ready to go but couldnt get them connected. Solution was brute force and ignorance, with the filler then wedged back in place.

  13. Marcus my dear fellow, I think your opinion might be fundamentally flawed through no fault of your own – but your age. Actually the Princess was bought by the same trendy set who look for a Citroen or Honda today. The 126 year olds were buying boring stuff like early Jap tinware.

  14. The car is fantastic, a real icon, I prefer it to the mini any day. But, the films are great, where does the music in them come from? Would love to know so I could get it.

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