The Vanden Plas 1800 prototype is one of the better-known near-misses in BMC and BL history, and it proved to be something of a showstopper in one of its rare pubic appearances. It’s certainly good news that the Vanden Plas Owners’ Club (VPOC) has showcased the car at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show in Birmingham.
The Vanden Plas 1800 was based on the Austin Kimberley, and was one of several mid-sized proposals that never saw the light of day. This one was cancelled by the management of British Leyland. Fortunately, it escaped being scrapped, and it went on to serve as a factory runabout before living in semi-retirement for many years. The Vanden Plas 1800 now resides in Scotland.
This one-off certainly looks better in the metal than any of the other ADO17-based cars built by BMC and BLMC. The Vanden Plas nose and tail treatments are particularly classy, while the interior is a masterclass of wood and leather in a way that few other manufacturers have been able to master in this sector of the market.
Other cars displayed by the VPOC included a 1978 1500 saloon, which has been in the same family since it was nearly new, and a 1989 Rover 216 that has less than 10,000 miles on the clock.
The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, returned to Birmingham’s NEC and for more information about the show, and its star exhibits, visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com.