17 November 2023 Michael_T-V

Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – 1973 Vanden Plas Princess 1300

It’s a wrap! The 2023 show season is over (at least it is here in the UK)… we take a look back at the cars that were on our stand at the 2023 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show.

Early in 1968, the Vanden Plas Princess 1300 made its grand entrance, introducing a touch of luxury to the iconic ADO16 family. This model was a class apart, featuring a twin carburettor A-series engine that provided a boost in power and performance, perfectly marrying opulence and spirited driving. While the exterior exhibited sophistication, the interior remained largely unchanged from the Mk1 models, carrying forward the luxurious charm that had been synonymous with “Vanden Plas” since they commenced their craft.

Production of the Vanden Plas Princess 1300 continued until June 1974, with approximately 23,453 examples being crafted. This elegant model, while cherished by those in the know, has always been a rare find. Ian Elliott, the Product PRO for British Leyland, Austin-Morris Division at the time, eloquently summed up its scarcity, stating, “The Vanden Plas 1300 is a model which has always been in short supply throughout the country because of the high demand relative to the low volume specialist production facilities.” This quote sheds light on the mystery of why so few of these luxurious classics remain on the road today, although the “luxury” brands of the ADO16 series have fared better than their Austin/Morris counterparts.

Our exquisite showcase on ado16.info belongs to Steve Forrester, proud owner of “Mabel,” aptly named after her first owner, Mabel Vere-Robbins. Steve’s tenure with Mabel began in November 2002, and this remarkable car was registered on the 2nd of November 1973, marking her 50th year. Notably, Mabel retains her originality, never having undergone restoration. The Damask Red exterior and Navy interior, showcased so elegantly, epitomize the quintessential Vanden Plas color scheme. Steve regularly enjoys the pleasure of driving Mabel, a sentiment we wholeheartedly share, recognizing that an ADO16 embodies the essence of its era.

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Michael's interest in cars started from an early age, when he would spend time in his Dad's garage observing many a job being undertaken. Naturally as Michael grew up, cars were firmly a part of his DNA, and as such the interest has gone from strength to strength. Having always had a keen interest in all things British, it probably wouldn't surprise you to know that his portfolio of cars have always been British made.

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