At a glance.
Introduced in spring 1975 as a replacement for the Landcrab, Came in three flavours: Austin with squarish headlamps, Morris with twin round lamps and raised centre section to bonnet, and the last ever Wolseley.
After six months, the whole range lost their marque names and was re-branded simply as the Princess.  All had Austin bonnet and grille, but with four lights on the 1800s and square ones on the 2200.
Re-worked again in 1981 an branded as an Austin once more, only this time as an Ambassador. Looks the same, but only the doors remained un-altered. Boot finally replaced by a hatchback.
From 1975 to 1978, the 2200cc E-series straight six engine (E-6) was fitted alongside the four pot B series 1800, both carried over from the Landcrab.  From 11978, the four cylinder option was powered by the OHC engine in either 1,7 or 2.0 litre form instead.

Servicing.

Drain and re-fill the sump at least every six-thousand miles or six months, and be sure to change the oil filter at the same time.  As with any engine, changing the oil filter twice as often will help to improve engine life.
B and E series engine will be perfectly happy on a diet of 20W/50 mineral oil. but a 10W/40 oil is the "O" series tipple of choice.
The O-Series engine has a cambelt which needs regular changing.  From 1979, it could take unleaded fuel, although the jury is still out on how well it actually can cope. No such luck with the other engines, though, because they need to be run with either an FBHVC-approved additive or have hardened valve seats fitted.
Service items can still be obtained from motor factors, via the Owners Club, (see page 206) or from one of the specialists such as wedge autojumbler Terry Miller (telephone 01775 767999).

Cooing - Fuel Systems
If neglected the 2200cc E6 engines cooling system can overheat, especially in traffic after a run.  A hose is more likely to blow than the cylinder-head gasket.
Regularly drain, flush and refill the system with a good antifreeze. If it's not already fitted, source a second radiator cooling fan from another wedge, or an Allegro, which should bolt onto the optional pick up points on the radiator.
The fuel pump is housed inside the fuel tank on cars equipped with the "O" series engine.  If it needs attention, access to the tank is via a panel held in place with a steel ring, which rusts.  These panels rarely come out or go back in properly, so its best to leave the defunct pump in the tank and fit another (from a Leyland Sherpa) outside the tank.
There is no choke cable attached to the Ambassador twin carburettors.  The auto-choke can fail when the bimetal strip dies.  Rather than repair it, owners resort to a single carb manual choke.

Steering - Brakes.
The brakes are adequate and they do not present any problems unless they have been left - in which case, the front four-pot calliper pistons can seize, as can the rear wheel cylinders. Don't confuse binding pistons with a collapsed rubber hose, however,
Pre 1978 cars used engine oil in the power - assisted steering (PAS) circuits, not automatic transmission fluid (ATF). The oil seals are more prone to rotting out which is detectable by checking the driver's side carpets for oil contamination - brand new PAS racks cost only £9, but are available solely to club members. Remember to use engine oil when refilling these early systems as it's necessary for pump lubrication.
After replacing the rear brake shoes, the auto-adjusters optimal positions can be obtained by driving the car gently and then stabbing the foot brake.

Hydrolastic System.
The Hydrolastic suspension needs TLC. The first check is to see that the car sits level, both side-to-side and for-and- aft.  At the correct height, the width of four fingers should slide between the top of the wheel and the front wheel arch, and four/five fingers between the rear wheel and wheel-arch. If not level visit a garage and have the suspension pumped up with the correct Churchil Hydrolastic tool. Look out for second hand unit (expect to pay around £35 / £50 to buy a new pump. Ron Hart (01598 763572, (millfarmhouse@hotmail.com)can supply£75 (plus £5 P&P) - or possibly make your own using an old brake master cylinder. \contact the club for details (07801 445189) The left-hand Hydrogas displacers (the diaphragm unit on top of the suspension arm are linked front to rear, as are the right-hand ones. Therefore, if a pipe lets go, one side of the car will sink - if this happens on the road, drive the car at not more than 20 miles per hour.
The corrosion inhibitor in the Hydrolastic fluid loses it's potency over time.: Change no later than every five years. A garage should charge between £12 -15 a side for this service.  DIY- a gallon of fluid will cost about £15 from motor factors, and is pumped up to a pressure of about 400 psi to reach the correct ride height.  If the pressure is greater than this (around 550 for instance), the displacers are probably worn. Displacers are getting hard to find, so keep eyes peeled in scrap-yards and auto-jumbles.
Keep an Eye on the suspension bushes at the front, especially on heavier cars such as the Ambassador and auto models.  It's essential they're in top condition.  Failed ones will needlessly stress the Hydrogas displacers, which are under great pressure and could burst.  This problem can be compounded if the rubber rebound straps on the rear suspension have failed, allowing the car to dive forward as the weight transfers from  the rear.  Broken fatigued straps will fail the MOT, but check them regularly to prevent the whole suspension system being damaged in the meantime. A set of replacement bushes cost around £140 from the club.
While under the rear, look at the cross-tube mountings. If they fail you'll hear a clonking noise from underneath.  Around £8 each from Terry Miller.
The Tyres were designed to be part of the suspension, offering an added 'squidge factor', so make sure they're wider than the rim (185-195 for instance), and pumped up to 27 PSI at the front and 24 PSI at the rear.
Alloy wheels and steel wheels can be interchanged.  Swap the fixings too as the alloy wheel nuts have shoulders. not taper,
If you want more Hydrolastic info, Achilles Heel in November issue will show how to drain and refill the Hydrolastic suspension on a Maxi

Rust Prevention.
The Princess and Ambassador is rather good at resisting corrosion, unless it's completely neglected. Rainwater washes leaf debris and general detritus into the heater intake and (hopefully) out under the front wings.  Occasionally remove this muck: remove the wheel-arch liners under the wings, wash everything down and anti-rust wax.  If left to it's own devices, rot can take hold of the top of the bonnet, bulkhead, the wings, and the front of the sill.
Similarly clean the rear underside and inside the wheel-arches, removing debris from around the rear sills. and anti-rust waxing afterwards.  The mounting areas are MOT-sensitive. so pay particular attention.
Clean around the fuel tank and spray plenty of Dinitrol around it, especially on top.
The rear doors can rust at the seams; remove the interior trim panel, clean aand use anti-rust wax.
The paint system wasn't fool proof, the metallic being particularly prone to scabbing.  All you can do is re-spray.

Performance Modifications.
The Wedge was built for comfort, not for speed.  That said, there was an optional twin carb kit for the 1800cc B series engine (although you'd have to look hard to find one in service) and the 97hp 1800/188SS Landcrab is a direct swap.
The B series engine can be as any MGB engine would.   There are plenty of bits and pieces out there to do the job as well as experts to advise,  Likewise, the E-series and O-series should respond to basic modifications to breathing. Roger Parker of the MGOC  (01954 231125).
www.mgownersclub.co.uk) is happy to advise.
The O series also came turbocharged, as fitted to the Montego and Maestro, so it's possible to fit a suitably-blown Montego unit to the Princess.  Similarly, a Rover M16/T16 unit can be fitted
The handling needs to be addressed if a sportier engine is fitted, so consult an expert before doing anything scary.


Driving.
The Princess/Ambassador is like your sitting-room couch, big and squashy. Just remember that and you'll get on fine together.  It'll go well enough in a straight line, but the wallowing in corners will make your buttocks clench, it's simple enough to overcome however - and that is by not driving to fast around corners.
Don't aim the wedge at sleeping policemen at any great velocity either, especially while breaking - the Hydrolastic suspension is starting to become fragile now and you'll run the risk of rupturing a pipe or giving a displacer a hernia.
The Mk11's seat fabric isn't as robust as the MK1's so be gentle with it.  Protect the rear seat backs from harmful UV rays by draping your picnic blanket over the top of them in sunshine.
While the carpets are hard-wearing, if you use a rubber mat in the drivers foot-well, you'll halt unnecessary wear.