Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Austin Princess (1975 - 1982)

Last updated 4 April 2013

 
4

Buying Guide

Bodywork:
Princesses do rust, but not as bad as you might think. Check mainly the lower part of the body especially the sills and rear inner wheelarch where the rear suspension arm bolts to the body. Make sure it hasn’t been bodged with filler. Check door bottoms and rear arch finishers. Ambassadors prone to rot on the roof above the rear quarter glass and on the A-pillar. Impossible to repair properly so avoid. Vinyl roof gets tatty, budget £300 for a new one to be fitted – though the correct vinyl can be difficult to source. Front wings rot at the corners below the bumper, new wings are the solution (£150 will buy a new one).

Interior:
On L and HL models, seat trim can fade and disintegrate; especially vulnerable are lighter colours, and later cars (1981 onwards) seem to suffer particularly. HLS trim toughest. Wet front carpets mean shrinking and perished windscreen rubbers and new ones are hard to source, so make sure it’s a good one.

Engines and gearbox:
Of all the engines, the 2200 Sixes are the most fragile, so listen for bearing rumble. 1800 B-Series and O-Series 1700 and 2000 engines are very sturdy, though O-Series engines need a new timing belt every 48,000 miles. It’s very easy to replace on these The four-speed manual gearbox is strong enough but first gear can be particularly awkward to engage – this is normal, though this can sometimes be caused by a worn clutch or slave cylinder.

Suspension and brakes:
Leaking Hydragas displacers cause sagging on the affected corner. £75 will get you a secondhand one. Rear displacers can be troublesome to remove. The non-assisted steering is very heavy; power steering can be retro fitted quite easily but it’s worth hunting down a car with PAS. Powerful four-pot brake calipers are well up to the job, but can seize. Rear wheel cylinders can leak but cheap and easy to replace.

Back: Model TimelineNext: Running
 

Ask Honest John