In 1947, Austin produced two virtually identical chassis, one for the A110 (later A125 Sheerline, built entirely by Austin at their Longbridge factory) and the A120 (later A135) chassis used by Vanden Plas to produce the Princess at their Kingsbury works (North London). Although Vanden Plas was by now wholly owned by Austin and much of the running gear and instrumentation was the same in the two cars, the Princess was the Austin flagship, with a higher specification leather, wool and burr walnut interior.
The original Princess was powered by a 3.5-litre straight-six engine. This was enlarged to a 4.0-litre unit without further modifications. The Princess was often built to order. Customers could specify the colour required and a range of different setups were available. These included triple or single carburetors and twin or single exhaust systems. Whilst the sportier multiple carb version performed better, it achieved only 12 to 14 mpg. The single carburetor version gave slightly better fuel consumption. Performance was good for a car of its size, with a top speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) and acceleration 0 to 60 mph in 20 seconds. In 1950, the Limousine version was introduced. The chassis length and passenger area were enlarged to enable a pair of drop down seats to be mounted on the rear of the front seats and a glass division was standard.
These early cars are now extremely rare, especially the saloon versions. Many of the saloons were converted for use as taxis in the late 1950s, fitted with Perkins diesel engines for better economy.
This Austin Princess 2, body number 5831, has been owned by the same family since 1959 and was last on the road in 1966. The car was put into a barn in that year after the engine had been rebuilt, where it has stayed ever since, until recently being pulled out with the tyres still up! The interior, although very dirty, is in remarkably good condition as can be seen in the pictures, and the body has also survived well. The car saw very little use and was used for a caravan holiday once, and the mileage of 4,461 is believed to be correct. Unfortunately no paperwork can be found except for the original buff log book with the current owner showing and the supplying garage. The hand book and some maps from the holiday were found in the car when opened.
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