- An acquired taste?


2y ago


As regular readers will know there are a fair few classic car fans up here on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers with a surprising number of staff also supporting those marques served poorly by history (and reliability!) The following news, shared by the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, was very well received then as one such badge is surely now deserved of recognition?

The name of Vanden Plas is one of the oldest in motoring history and the Owners’ Club is delighted to be showcasing five of its key models at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery – including one of British Leyland’s rarest prototypes.

The undoubted main attraction of the VPOC stand in Hall 4 will be the famous one-off ‘Landcrab’ prototype. In 1971 a Wolseley 18/85 was transformed into an elegant four-window saloon but the project was sadly cancelled by the management of British Leyland. Fortunately, it escaped being scrapped, the fate of so many project cars, and it went on to serve as a factory runabout before living in semi-retirement for many years. The Vanden Plas 1800 now resides in Scotland and will be starring at Birmingham’s NEC from 10-12 November.

It’s been explained to MotorMartin that the club’s oldest car on show is a Richmond Red Austin A105, one of just 500 Westminster saloons that in 1958 and 1959 were sent to the Kingsbury Works to receive a decadently luxurious new interior. The result was a car to compete with Rover and Jaguar and the club is very proud to be displaying one of only three known surviving models.

By 1960 Vanden Plas was a BMC marque in its own right and the handsome Pininfarina-styled 3 Litre Princess Mk 1. It would have been the perfect car for a businessman to power steer himself along the M1.

For enthusiasts of 1970s classics, there will be a 1978 1500 saloon that has been in the same family since it was nearly new – a fascinating and still-controversial blend of a traditional walnut and leather-trimmed cabin and very distinctive radiator grille with the Austin Allegro’s body.

The youngest vehicle is a wonderful legacy of the junior-yuppie era in the form of a 1989 Rover 216 that has less than 10,000 miles on the clock.

No aficionado of British classics should miss the opportunity to appreciate such an exclusive collection of fine cars – including one that so nearly ‘might have been.’

The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, returns to Birmingham’s NEC from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 November. For more information as well as all the ticket prices and booking details, MotorMartin can certainly recommend you visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com.

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