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Vanden Plas 1800. Would you have bought one?
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Ellis



Joined: 07 Mar 2011
Posts: 1148
Location: Betws y Coed, North Wales

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:54 pm    Post subject: Vanden Plas 1800. Would you have bought one? Reply with quote

I think we are all fascinated by car prototypes, concept cars and engineering exercises which never saw the light of day and one in particular has interested me for years - the Vanden Plas 1800.

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I first heard of this during my university days in the mid 1970s. There was an ex Longbridge employee, a man in his 30s, staying in the same hall of residence who was studying history as a mature student. He later qualified as a teacher and he used to fascinate me with his shopfloor experiences. He mentioned a "one off" Vanden Plas 1800 as well as some others that reached prototype only status.

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The next I heard of this Vanden Plas was in Practical Classics in the late 1980s which showed a photo of the car, "K" registered which had been sold to a Longbridge employee.

There are some Vanden Plas enthusiasts locally and for some reason two of them refuse to believe such a car was built, that the car is a hoax and they will not listen otherwise.

I think it is a beautiful car (as far as BLMC 1800s go) and has a presence and dignity of it's own and that interior..............
British Leyland decided not to produce it but I also read somewhere that a Riley version was also mooted but whether one was produced, I don't know.

It's perhaps as well that the intended 1800 Estate was not proceeded with.

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Would you have bought the Vanden Plas 1800?
I would.
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Penguin45



Joined: 28 Jul 2014
Posts: 242
Location: LBA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-worked Kimberley, which was an Oz production 1800 variant.

P45.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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Location: Derby

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent topic, Ellis.

Yes, yes, yes. If it was within my budget I would have bought one new or if not then a good used one. I personally think the 1800 lent itself perfectly to the Vanden Plas treatment but it has to be said that you either like that sort of thing or you don't.

It surprised me that the Austin 3 litre was not given the VP quality because the Farina cars had been pretty good sellers considering their market.

NOTE: They missed out the fold down pick nick tables...?
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Penguin45



Joined: 28 Jul 2014
Posts: 242
Location: LBA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kimberley was a better looking car than the 1800. The Aussies did the re-style because the car didn't sell well in their market. It still didn't sell well because even with the 6 pot demanded of the home market because it was FWD. Given that BMC manufactured fewer than 400,000 ADO17s over an 11 year period, diluting the market even further with a VdP version was never really even a starter.

The estate was never going to arrive with the Maxi in development - principally because the E4 engine was meant to supecede the B. Funny how that didn't happen for many years.

They did prototype a "Wolseley" 3 litre with the 3.5 Buick V8 in it, which was supposed to have been quite a car. As usual though, too little, too late.

Now as a 'Crab man, if they'd gone for Pinin's Aerodynamica build, that would have been some car. Instead, you could buy it watered down as the Citroen GS.

P45.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you know your stuff, Penguin man. Well argued.
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peterwpg



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 2107
Location: New Brunswick. Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:38 am    Post subject: Re: Vanden Plas 1800. Would you have bought one? Reply with quote

.



Not a million miles away in style (Web Image)



The Journey may now come with 3.6L V6 and AWD but times have changed. An 1800 Estate would have been way in front of the competition at the time.

The Journey isn't perfect, what is, but we are on our second. AWD and good ground clearance, ideal in snow. Largest carrying capacity, rear doors that open 90 deg. Rear seats, fold, slide, split.

I lived through Austin/BMC, call it what you want, era. Good ideas wasted on a "sticking plaster" attitude.

I never had an 1800, I preferred the Ford range, but they did have some good features.

Perhaps with different management, work attitudes and without the idea that a change of name would bring salvation, maybe the UK auto industry would have stood a chance.

Ford have built their share of "dogs" over the years but never hid their failures behind a new name thinking it would fool the customers into thinking it was a new company.

Austin/BMC/Leyland/ same dung, different piles.
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Last edited by peterwpg on Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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47p2



Joined: 24 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spotted this a few years back at the Fraserburgh Show




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badhuis



Joined: 20 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I quite like it. Never have been a fan of the 1800 / 2200 or Maxi, I think the VdP grille and front looks good on the car. Not so sure about the rear.

For the big Farinas, I think the 3 litre VandenPlas is the best looker. Much better than the (interesting otherwise) 4 Litre R, which share more or less the horizontal rear lights of this 1800 VdP.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.vpoc.info/prototypes.html

Frontal view of the 3 litre Austin here doesn't quite carry off the VP treatment.

I could never understand why Austin changed the rear view when they brought out the 4 litre Vanden Plas. If they thought the horizontal rear lights were an improvement on the original Pinin Farina design, I am afraid they were sadly mistaken. Interesting then, that the later 3 litre car reverted to a vertical design. It looked very good and would have been incorporated in the Vanden Plas version if it had ever materialised.

The original 1800 design with the light cluster nestling in the corner is an interesting feature. To my mind it makes the car look wider than it is - something that would have been lacking if the VP version had gone into production.
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