• Austin A135 Princess

The Princess is a luxury passenger car produced dall’Austin 1947-1959 in different series. The first three were in the name, but the initials A135. From 1960 to 1968 more cars were marketed with the name Princess, but without the reference name in Austin, but with that of Vanden Plas.

The name Princess was also used for other models Austin. Since October 1959 he applied for a luxurious version of the Austin A99 and A110, and the same month of 1962 was used on a version of the same characteristics of the Austin/Morris 1300. Since 1975, the name Princess was used for a car British Leyland ( that is, the group that owns the trademark Austin), the Leyland Princess.

The first Austin Princess, which had code A135, was launched in 1947. Was the most expensive model in the range offered dall’Austin, and represented the "jewel in the crown" of the British car production. A contemporary model and was similar to the Austin Sheerline, which was based on the same chassis of the Princess. The engine of Sheerline however produced 10 hp less than the Princess, since he had installed a carburetor single. Both cars owned car bodies heavy and imposing. In particular, the Princess had a body that was built by Vanden Plas, and was available in two versions, sedan and limousine services, both four-door. The model was offered with two internal fittings, which were related to the type of bodywork. In fact, this was the setting up DM, which was offered on the limousine and included a glass separator between the front passengers and the rear, along with a table for the picnic for passengers accommodated in the rear, and DS, which was available on the sedan. The sedan got a good success, and many Princess and Sheerline, both versions were intended to hire for ceremonies.

The Princess was updated over the years, with the launch of four series, Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and Mark IV. The first three were in the name, but the initials A135. The biggest change was the introduction in 1950 of a longer seven-seater car body: on this occasion, with some modification in relation to the bodywork and mechanics, the car was not changed much. For example, the six-cylinder in-line remained virtually unchanged. The radiator had a rather vertical shape with a retro style, while the front fenders of the car had separated. Overall, the Princess had a more modern style than the equivalent cars manufactured by Rolls-Royce and Bentley, which was in competition. In addition, the sedan version, however, had a price that corresponded to two-thirds of that of a Rolls-Royce.

In August 1957 the name of the Princess was taken despite the reference to the Austin continued to be produced by the aforementioned car, and thus began the distribution of the car dealers in the Nuffield Organisation. Since 1960, the model was added the reference to the Vanden Plas, and then the car was renamed the Vanden Plas Princess 4 Litre Limousine. Subsequently other cars were marketed Vanden Plas who had Princess word in the name, the last of which remained in production until 1968.

Later, the name Princess relived in another model produced by British Leyland (ie, the group that owned the trademark Austin), the Leyland Princess, which was produced from 1974 to 1984. Initially it was also sold by dealers in Austin, and despite this, was never marketed in the UK under the name of the aforementioned British car manufacturer. But that was for some export markets, although in most cases the model was known simply as Princess.

In 1947, the Austin produced two virtually identical frames, one for the Austin A110 Sheerline (later to become A125), built entirely by Austin at its plant in Longbridge, and one for the A135 Princess, used by Vanden Plas to produce the model in his workshop Kingsbury (North London). The Vanden Plas in fact belonged to Austin. Although many parts of the mechanical and instrumentation were in common between the two models, the Princess was the flagship model of the range offered dall’Austin. The Princess did in fact possess extremely refined interiors made of leather, wool and walnut, and its line resembled that of the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.

Princess on the original (the Mark I) composition were known as DS1 and DM1, depending on whether they belonged to the sedan and limousine. The main distinguishing feature was that the second specification, unlike the first, a separator provided between the front and rear passengers.

In 1950, the Mark I was replaced by the second series, the Mark II. The changes were minor, and were introduced two new outfits, DS2 and DM2, which were homologous to the earlier and were also differentiated by the presence or absence of the separator between the two parts of the car. Both DS1 (DM1) and DS2 (DM2) were often made to order. Customers could choose the color, the budget and the features of the design. In addition to this, the Buyers could also choose the mechanical equipment of the car, for example, could have installed a single or triple carburetor body, or the exhaust system single or double. The version with multiple carburetor body, however, had the best performance, although recorded a fuel consumption of between 4.25 and 5km/L, compared with 7.78 to 9.56km/L of single carburettor version. Considering the large size of the model and its resulting in weight, the performance was very good. The maximum speed reached by the model was 145km/h, while acceleration from 0 to 97km/h was only 20 seconds. On the limousine, the length of the frame and the passenger areas were extended to allow a pair of folding seats to be mounted immediately behind the front seats. In 1953 was launched the Mark III; the new series showed no significant differences compared to the generations earlier, and was produced until 1956.

The Princess is now a very rare model, especially the sedan versions. Many sedans were converted into a taxi at the end of the fifties. These specimens were equipped with diesel engines Perkins.

During the marketing of this model (1952), the Austin became part of the British Motor Corporation.

A limousine version was tested by The Motor magazine in 1953. During the test was recorded a top speed of 127km/h and acceleration from 0 to 97km/h in 23.3 seconds. The fuel consumption of 18.7 L/100km. The model used in the test cost £ 2,480 including taxes.

All three series had installed a six-cylinder in-line and overhead valves from 3,995 cm ³ displacement. This power unit delivered 130hp.

The back of un’Austin A135 Princess

A special version by Vanden Plas

In 1956 was introduced the fourth generation of the car, the Austin Princess Mark IV. The new generation was completely redesigned, and it was expected to line a little ‘more modern. The venerable Austin Princess with long wheelbase, however, in the configurations sedan and limousine, changed and evolved little in the complex. They were in fact made the front fenders more integrated according to a more modern style, but from the point of view of mechanical changes were few. The In fact, the engine was essentially the one to 3,993 cm ³ displacement of the previous series, although it was boosted to 150hp.

The goal was to replace the previous series and the Austin Sheerline. He remained in the catalog until 1959, meeting only a few buyers. It is believed that they are produced only in specimens of pre-series. The last units of the Mark III had a price that was five times what the Austin A30. The new Mark IV instead had a price that was 6.5 times that dell’A30, and then did not find much demand among potential customers.

In August 1957, the car lost in the name, the reference Austin, and was therefore marketed simply as Princess Mark IV. In 1959 the model was removed from the list Austin, and was replaced, in the range of British car manufacturer, dall’A99 Westminster, which cost slightly more than 40% of the Princess Mark IV.

In 1960 the vehicle was added to the name in the name Vanden Plas, and consequently the car began to be produced with the name Vanden Plas Princess 4 Litre Limousine. Following other models were marketed Vanden Plas Princess who had the word in its name, the last of which remained in production until 1968.