Lot n° 98
8000 - 12000
Result with fees
: 6 720EUR
1963 VAN DEN PLAS AUSTIN
Serial number 9/763
In the same family since the beginning
6 cylinder engine - Manual gearbox
100 000 original kilometers - French registration
The Princess is a version of the Austin A99 Westminster produced by BMC from 1959 to 1968, then under the Vanden Plas brand. The model was launched in October 1959 under the name Princess 3 litres. From July 1960, these vehicles were known as the Vanden Plas Princess 3-litre, with Vanden Plas becoming a badge brand rather than being known as a coachbuilder of other manufacturers' cars. The 3-litre was replaced by the Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R in 1964.
The 3-litre was largely identical to the Pininfarina-designed Austin A99 Westminster and Wolseley 6/99, which used the same chassis and bodywork. The Princess was given its own identity with a special Vanden Plas grille (quite square, with a thick surround and vertical slats), round headlights and horn grilles at the front. The interior was sumptuous, in typical Vanden Plas style, with burr walnut trim, leather seats and panels and high quality carpeting. A partition between the driver and the rear compartment was an option. Initially, it was equipped with a 3-liter BMC C-series engine, developing 108 hp.
A Vanden Plas Princess 3-litre with automatic transmission was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961 and had a top speed of 160 km/h. It could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 16.1 seconds and the test car cost £1,467 including tax.
This model was replaced in 1961 by the Vanden Plas Princess 3 litre Mark II. The styling was similar but the wheelbase was two inches longer and anti-roll bars were added to the suspension at both ends of the car. The engine was increased to 120 hp. Better brakes were fitted, and interior upgrades included built-in, fold-down shelves for rear passengers. Options now include "Smith air conditioning".
Our Van Den Plas (VDP) 3.0l was first registered on 11 July 1963 after being purchased on 29 April of the same year by the present owner's grandfather for 28,092.59 francs with the options of whitewall tyres and Phillips radio.
Very meticulous, the first owner kept the purchase order as well as the original owner's manual and numerous invoices dating back to October 1963. The buyer, getting older, got rid of his precious car in 1992, he offered it to his neighbour against a high end television.
Having grown up in it, the grandson of the first owner did not want him to sell the car and asked the famous neighbour if he could have the VDP back in 1995. Since then, the car belongs to him and he pays tribute to his grandfather by regularly driving the sedan in car rallies and gatherings of enthusiasts in the Ile de France in particular.
For its age, the car looks quite good and the two-tone paint gives it a rather marked status. However, some corrosion (not perforating) is present on the door sills and on the rear trunk, a real disease of this car, the floors seem healthy and, when you lift the trunk carpet, there are no holes.
When you enter the cabin, you are struck by the beautiful patina of the original leathers which are not torn but need to be refreshed as well as the dashboard to be varnished. The large and comfortable seats are equipped with seat belts with retractors added by the first owner in the 1970-1980s.
When you sit in the driver's seat, the large black bachelite steering wheel with chrome rings reminds you that you are in a relatively modern prestige car for its time, and that it is quite sleek. The 3-speed mechanical gearbox is sufficient for the torque that the car provides and allows to quietly reach 100 to 120 km/h in a typically English comfort.
Mechanically, the current owner has driven the car for about a hundred kilometers without any problem or overheating and the 6 cylinders engine seems to be running well. The seller indicates that he recently replaced the exhaust system, giving the car a more roaring sound.
It's a real family story that we offer you with this car whose departure has greatly moved the last owner. Get behind the wheel of a comfortable and affordable sedan made to swallow the miles.
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