katie.rix_263 Oct 05

Vanden Plas Prototype gets its first outing at the NEC

Vanden Plas Prototype gets its first outing at the NEC

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 BL. 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.

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. 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.’