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Lot 019: Vanden Plas Princess 4-Litre R

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

During the 1960s BMC and Rolls-Royce worked on a number of projects involving the possible joint venture of producing a small Rolls-Royce motorcar. The only production car to come from this unusual partnership was the Vanden Plas Princess 4-Litre R, launched in 1964, the 'R' signifying the Rolls-Royce engine.

This large luxury saloon car incorporated a modified Farina A110 bodyshell (with a unique tail design) and a Rolls-Royce FB60, 3909cc six cylinder engine. This particular engine was never used in any other passenger vehicle, however it was built to the usual high standard that you would expect of a Rolls engine and gave the car a top speed of 110mph with R-R badging on the rocker cover.

The car's external and internal trim was similar to the earlier 3-Litre cars, with acres of leather and walnut all round, beautifully finished at the Vanden Plas coachworks in Kingsbury, North London, which Austin had acquired in 1946. Production of this unusual car lasted until 1968, with 6,555 built in the four year production run.

First registered to a JL Nicol CMG; OBE of St Brelade, Jersey, in August 1967, this particular car was to spend the next 32 years on the island before returning to the UK in February 1999. As the original Passport to Service book confirms, it was initially registered J594 and was supplied by Cleveland Garage of Jersey who serviced it five times up until 1978 when it had covered 14,787 miles.

Since returning to mainland UK it has had just three further keepers, the second owning it from March 1999 until June 2005 when it was acquired by the current vendor. It has now covered just under 50,000 miles which is warranted by a number of old MOT certificates and maintenance bills, and was last serviced in April 2011 at 49,622 miles. MOTd and taxed until next April, it is said to drive very well with the smooth performance you would expect from such a cultured engine.

Looking most distinguished in Chalk Blue over Black, it is in exceptionally sound and original condition throughout with very little evidence of any previous restoration (although we are told that the bottom half was resprayed black by the previous owner who preferred a two-tone livery to the original Chalk Blue single colour finish). The cream leather interior is also original and nicely patinated with some elegant features such as the chrome cup holders in the rear picnic tables and the glove box lid. The car was Waxoil treated in 1999 which no doubt contributes to its good state of preservation today.

It comes with the aforementioned service book, bills and old MOTs; various old Jersey tax discs; the original owner's handbook, factory workshop manual and BMC Service Parts List plus a box of spare parts and two spare tyres. Altogether a most original and low mileage example with a lovely mellow character.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
Lot Number019
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£4600
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating0
Registration numberXSJ 313
Chassis numberVR536860
Engine number40FBAH6801
Engine capacity (cc)3909
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4