Member Only Area.


March 2012



WEDGE WORLD is the magazine of the
Princess & Ambassador Owners Club.


Treasurer/Secretary: Harry Parker, 20 Maxstoke Close, Dosthill,
                     Tamworth, Staffordshire. B77 1NP

If you have a general query /enquiry please send an SAE.
Editor :
Open Position –all copy to

Web site:
Club Email:
Member’s area access. User name: member, Password.  grapefruit

 Club Phone: 07801 445189. (Please respect Harry’s time when calling
 as he is responsible for many aspects of running the club).

 Spares: The Club hold a nominal selection of popular spares, if this does
not forefill your requirement contact Terry Miller on
01775 767999. If Terry
can not meet your needs then try the internet, you like us may be surprised
as to the strange things that come up for offer especially on Ebay.
 This club and its officers reserve the right to edit or not print Articles
submitted to the magazine, and website forum. Content of articles is not
necessarily endorsed by the club and officers but is the license of the article
Next Rally:
Ambassador 30 – Gaydon 25 March 2012.

7th Annual Pride of Longbridge
Rally – Cofton Park, Longbridge, Saturday
14 April, 2012





Contents for Edition 49           March 2012.

4. Editorial:

 5. MGF Displacer Update:

 6.FBHVC Survey:

 7. Ethanol Latest:

 8. Interesting Emails Received:

 10. Ebay Wedges Sold:

12. Winter Petrol Storage Difficulties:

14. Wedge Mart

  Very many thanks to Charles Lyell from South Africa, and member Mike Hickman. for their contributions to this edition. Please forward your stories, with photos to

A Warm Welcome to the following new members.
Antoine Hemard,         Amiens, France, Princess2.2
Chris Collin,                  Yorkshire,            Wolseley.

 Membership Total, 66.

Front Cover image:  Steve Bundy’s Brilliant Ambassador
Rear Cover Image: Club NEC Display November 2004.



Hope you are all well and are surviving this very cold February weather.

Ambassador 30 Years:
This year marks the start of the third decade of Ambassadors.  I clearly remember when the first adverts for the all-new Ambassador appeared on TV in March 1982, my three-year-old son advising me to buy one. Did not do so at that time, but have made up for it in later years – having owned my present (and second) for the past 18 years.  This now makes my son thirty-three, and me a lot older than I was then. To mark this occasion, perhaps we should have a meet up at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon on Sunday March 25th. Anybody interested in meeting up with Phil and me at around eleven am on the Heritage Motor Centre car park? It would be good to get a few Ambassadors together – Princesses also welcome

Suggested Club Meetings – 2012:
 Proposed List for Club Events for this year:-
            Ambassador Day.          Heritage Motor Centre Gaydon              25 March.
            Pride of Longbridge Rally           Cofton Park, Longbridge           14 April
            Avoncroft Museum                     Near Bromsgrove                     10 June
            Peterborough                             Nene Park Peterbough       14,15 August
And perhaps an indoor visit to Coventry Trans
port Museum late in the year.

Mainly to help our overseas members pay their subscriptions, we have opened a club PayPal account. If you wish to use this, please make your Paypal payment to the club email address – Your payment will then go directly into the club bank account.  Unfortunately, PayPal make a charge of 5% for this service, so please add £0.70 to your payment for membership renewals and £0.90 for new membership applications. If you prefer to continue making payments by cheque, no problem with this – just pay as in the past.

NEC Classic Motor Show – 14,15,16 November 2012:
Two of our valued members have suggested that the club applies for display space at the NEC Classic Motor Show in November. 
Historically, we had display space at the NEC in the years 2005/6, when we put on a great display both years – organised by former club member Alex Sebbinger.  In more recent years we have not displayed as a club, as there appeared to be very little interest from members to either display their cars or just attend as a show visitor. At this stage I have the application form ready to return to the organisers by the deadline date on March 5.  However, we urgently need a very nice Ambassador (as this is the Ambassador 30th year) and perhaps another Princess to join the two Princess’s on the club stand. Ideally, cars owned by members who live within the Midlands are to avoid having to pay for accommodation for the three days of the show. Please help if you are able.




MGF Displacers Update:
Further to the item in January 2012 magazine.

 Following on from a discussion I had with Terry Miller, I made contact with Suplex to see if firstly, there were any similarities between Princess / Ambassador displacers and those fitted to MGF models, as perhaps the work they had done for the MGF models could be adapted or extended to suit Wedges.  It seems that the MGF uses the same front sub-frame and displacers as the Metro, and the rear suspension uses a modified Metro rear sub-frame.  Both front and rear Metro displacers are very much smaller than ours, so unfortunately, that idea had to be abandoned.
My next question was, “Could you do a similar exercise to develop a modified suspension system for Princess and Ambassador models”. Answer, how many hundreds of sets of four would we be likely to order at around £800 + VAT per set? Does not look too hopeful. Looks like the MGF spring / damper units are being marketed by X Part and (  . thanks to member Patrick Ingham for the info).

Pride of Longbridge Rally 2012.
Just a reminder  that our first club event for 2012 will be the Pride of Longbridge Rally on April 14 at Cofton Park Longbridge. B31 2BQ.  There are no admission charges to the event, which starts at 10 am and runs until 4.0pm. Lets hope the weather on the day is fine and that we get the usual good turn out of Wedges.


Sunday 3rd July 2011 Burford Wildlife Park,Oxford.
Morris Marina Owners Club and Ital Register
40th Anniversary of the Marina. All are invited to join in to help our club celebrate the 40th. Further details from: Mr Chris Weedon-  01234 407518.



A £4 Billion  Hobby. The title of the report into the findings of our recent survey – and that is the economic value of our historic vehicle movement.

The work underpinning this result was undertaken in conjunction with the Historic Vehicle Research Institute over the summer of last year. Information was actually collected in four different surveys – clubs, museums, traders, and individuals.  The first three groups were asked about what they did, their annual turnover, their hopes and concerns for the future. Individuals were asked about the vehicles they owned, what they did with them, how much they spent and a little about themselves. This gave researchers information about both sides of the equation – what people spend, and what businesses receive.

The four sets of data were analysed during the autumn (this involved four large Excel work books, each with multiple worksheets, the largest of which had over 11,000 rows and 170 columns).  The initial plan had been to announce the results in November, but finding that the River Room in the House of Lords would be available for a reception on 6th December, publication was delayed slightly to take advantage of this rather special venue, which is only available for such purposes by courtesy of the Lord Speaker.

Our president, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, hosted the reception and Baroness D’Souza welcomed our guests who came from both Houses of Parliament (many being members of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group, of which Lord Montagu is also president), the press, trade and academic contacts.
FBHVC vice president, Lord Steel of Aikwood, introduced the proceedings. The headline results were presented by the research project leader, Geoff Smith. These showed an encouraging situation.

Economic Value:  £4.3 billion with nearly £1 billion from exports
Average owners spend £2,900 on their hobby excluding vehicle purchase and restoration
Employment: 28,000 working for some 3,800 businesses.  57% of specialist traders have been in business for over 20 years.
Vehicle Use: 0.24% of total vehicle miles with over 80% used no more than once a month.
There are more than 850,000 pre – 1981 vehicles in Britain.
Current issues: Nearly 70% of vehicles are worth less than £10,000. Over 30% of owners have a household income of less than £25,000.  59% of vehicle owners were in employment and 38% are retired.
Public Interest: 4.5 million attendances at FBHVC club events. 35% of historic vehicle owners perform voluntary work.
The Next Five Years: over half of traders expect their turnover to grow, over 40% expect to recruit new or additional staff, 66% of traders have concerns about business regulations, 68% of traders are concerned about regulations affecting vehicle usage.
This was followed by a question and answer session chaired by Greg Knight, chairman of APPHVG, with the research team of Dr Paul Frost, Dr Chris Hart, Dr Jamie Kaminski and Geoff Smith. Mike Penning, Parliamentary Secretary for Transport commented: We have no plans whatsoever to restrict the use of classic vintage vehicles – not as long as I am in my position. I see them as an important part of our national heritage.
The research findings show that the economic and employment record for the past five years and confidence for the future both buck the national trend, with the economic value of the movement having been maintained in real terms despite the recent difficult
living from the movement has increased by 1,000 since 2006, and reassuring that traders are generally optimistic for the future, with many predicting growth, leading to more jobs




On the downside, many traders are concerned that the burden of regulations faced by small businesses may stifle this potential.
We are grateful to all the enthusiasts who completed the online survey, the trader, museums and clubs who returned the questionnaires. Additionally we owe our thanks to the research team without which this valuable information could not be obtained and to Jim Whyman who tirelessly did the analysis and administration.

Ethanol. The Latest from FBHVC:
Fuel Stability Additive Test Programme:

The FBHVC’s fuel stability additive test programme has been designed to show that additives provide a high level of protection against potential corrosion of fuel systems, including tanks, pipework and fuel metering equipment on historic vehicles using petrol containing ethanol. The test method employs an accelerated aging process which simulates 12 months’ storage of a petrol-ethanol mix, coupled with an industry-recognised corrosion testing method, carried out every two weeks to assess the effects of possible degradation of ethanol in storage. The combined test, carried out by an independent and well-established testing agency, assesses levels of protection provided by proprietary fuel additives for use with petrol containing ethanol.

Unfortunately the testing has been delayed. Delays resulted initially because of unexpected contamination in the corrosion testing process, which forced the abandonment of the test programme about halfway through the 13-week test cycle. The cycle was started again in the late summer/early autumn, but difficulties were then experienced in making the test severe enough to ensure that candidate additives were adequately put through their paces. This unfortunately led to further delays while the test protocol was refined to ensure that the method would select only those candidate additives offering real protection against potential corrosion from petrol containing ethanol. The Federation recognises that these delays are unfortunate, but wishes owners of historic vehicles to be reassured that any endorsement given for a protective fuel additive will be of real value. This important objective is regarded as over-riding the pressing need to issue endorsements at the earliest opportunity.

The current status is that additive testing continues, and results will be announced as soon as they are known, which will now be during the early part of 2012. The Federation respectfully requests the forbearance of members who are waiting for definitive test results.



Original Email from Charles Lyell from South Africa.
Hi Harry
The Austin 2.6 engine is a 2.2 that has a longer stroke. Even when I order a new head gasket on the gasket set there is written Austin/Land Rover 6 cyl, 2.6. 2800 inline 2.6 litre. The Rover SDX in South-Africa had the same engine. The Payen
gasket number for re order is cw930. Made by Payen Kontich, Belgium.

That is why I contacted you guys as parts for these engines in S.A is getting very difficult so if I want to keep the vehicle original. I also have ordered carb parts from Burlen fuel systems, the land rover uses the hu if6 carburetors and I am not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. As you can see the photo's that I send you it is the same engine.
The story I could gather is that in 1979 Land Rover UK have stopped making 2.6 L block engine which the 6 cyl Land Rover used. So they had to came up with a plan as the v8 3.9l was not available for export, and with S.A vehicle building laws, they had to come up with a plan, so at the time New Zealand had thousands of these Austin Princess vehicles standing but were not selling. They say they even started painting the new vehicles windows white to protect the cars. So Australia and S.A. took those engines and re-worked them and made the stroke longer. The Land Rover series 3 stage 1 was available so the longer Austin 6e engine was no problem to fit in the engine bay. They made about 3000 of these R6 Land Rovers as they were called but by 1985 the new v8 and coil sprung body Land Rovers were available, so they stopped making the R6
It is not to brag but there are very few of these vehicles are left in original condition, as the engines with the higher compression were prone to cracking if they were not looked after. The engine I got was the last one at the breaker yard that they had, so I don't know what will happen if this engine goes, then I must look to another type engine, but with God's grace I was fortunate to find the spares for it so far. But I can’t find a new oil pump, that I am going to have to import from the U.K at some time. They also brought out a diesel version that used a Perkins 236 engine, good engines but my Land Rover has the wrong diff gearing other wise I would have gone the diesel route.  Charles Lyell

Iinteresting response from club member Mike Hickman.

Dear Harry
Thank you for the January edition of Wedge World.  With regard to your query concerning the above, you may be interested to know that significant development of the 2.6 litre ‘E’ series engine was undertaken by Leyland Australia.

 In the early 1970s the 2.2 litre ‘E’ series was used in the Austin Kimberley and Tasman range of vehicles (a re-styled Aussie version of the Austin ‘Landcrab’).  However, as John Miller suggests in his article in January’s magazine about his





Ambassador Thirty Years!  March 2012.
The Ambassador was launched in March 1982 and the introduction of a fully opening hatchback was the most striking feature of the new model. Also now with standard folding rear seats, the car was now able to be used as an estate car. The Ambassador was a different car to the Princess, which had preceded it, the front grille was changed, there was a new bonnet, a new rear end style, and an extra rear quarter light window.

Interior treatment was vastly different with a new dashboard and revised seats.  The engines available were the four cylinder O series units (either 1.7 or 2.0 litre capacity as before). With optional Borg Warner 35 automatic transmission. The E series units were not used in the Ambassador. There were several models on offer: -

Austin Ambassador 1.7 L

           Austin Ambassador 1.7 HL

           Austin Ambassador 2.0 HL

          Austin Ambassador 2.0 HLS
Austin Ambassador Vanden Plas models were available with the two-litre O series engine, matched with twin SU carburettors and an Automatic Starter Unit (ASU). The interior treatment was extremely plush with velour seats, headlining, central locking, economy gauge, clock, electric front windows, deep pile carpet tilt and slide sunroof, chrome insert bumpers, alloy wheels, front fog lamps and rear screen wash and wipe

The HLS models had electric front windows, central locking. Rear wash wipe, twin carburettors with ASU, up rated seating, chrome wheel trims, clock and economiser.  HL models were either 1.7 or 2.0 single SU carburettor.  These had velour seating, front door bins, side window demisters and side body mouldings. L models were available with 1.7 engines, and the equipment lacked the door bins, side window de-misters and body mouldings.

Alex Sebbinger – 2002.








experiences in New Zealand, Australians also had a mistrust of large front-wheel drive vehicles.  As a result, the 2.2 litre engine for the Kimberley/Tasman range was modified locally so that it could be installed ‘in-line’, rather than the ‘east-west’ configuration used for the UK market.

Further development of this engine to a capacity of 2.6 litres (by increasing the stroke) was undertaken by Leyland Australia as part of their development of ‘Project 76’.  For the uninitiated, the Leyland P76 was a sadly under-rated and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to compete with the likes of Ford and Holden in the car market down-under.  Although it was only in production from June 1973 to October 1974, some 19,000+ vehicles were produced

In keeping with many cars built specifically for the Australian market at that time, the lower spec/base models were fitted with 6 cylinder engines, whilst the higher spec/top of the range models were fitted with V8 motors.  In the case of the Leyland P76, engine options were the 2.6 litre straight 6 ‘E’ series engine, or a 4.4 litre V8 (loosely based on Rover’s eponymous Buick derived 3.5 litre V8 – it shared the same bore size, but the block was taller to allow a longer stroke).  Performance wise, the 2.6 litre ‘E’ series as fitted to the P76 developed 121 bhp and 165 lb/ft of torque, with a single carburettor.

During the same period in the mid-1970s the 2.6 litre engine was also offered in the Australian version of the Morris Marina.  Whilst the more humble models had to make do with 1500cc and 1750cc ‘four pot’ versions of the ‘E’ series, the Marina ‘Red Six’ was fitted with the 2.6 litre 6 cylinder motor.  Similarly, in 1975 the 2.6 litre engine was an option in the top of the range model of the South African version of the Marina.  Performance figures for the 2.6 litre engine used in the Marina were slightly less than those for the P76, but then the Marina was considerably smaller and lighter in weight.

Charles Lyell’s email regarding his engine is interesting in that he suggests in 1979 a number of 2.2 litre Princess engines were modified to 2.6 litres for use in Land Rovers for the South African market.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the engineering know-how to facilitate this was derived from the development some years earlier of the ‘E’ series engine for the Leyland P76 in Australia and the Marina in both Australia and South Africa

On a related matter, owners of Princess models fitted with the 1800cc  ‘B’ series engine may be interested to know that the Austin Freeway (a modified version of the A60 for the Australian market) was fitted with a 6 cylinder version of this venerable motor.  I believe that this particular development of the ‘B’ series engine was unique to Australia, but that’s another story.

 Best regards, Miks Hickman



Ebay Wedges:

Ambassador 1.7HL 1982.
Sold for £461.37 on January 7th.
Re-listed on January 11.  Seems the
original bidder did not show.
New reserve, £300. Sold for £471
On January 19 after 9 bids




Princess 2.0 .  Many years of
neglect. Sold after eleven bids for
£230.02 on January 2nd




This one offered for sale with a
 reserve of £1,500 with twelve
 months MOT. Recently sold
on Ebay for £1,000.
Seems the purchaser had a change
 of mind, hence the re-listing. Finally
 sold for £1,752 on £1,752 on January






Princess2 HL 1.7 1979. Located Willenhall, West Midlands. First listed 20 January, with one bid of £0.99. Sold for £340.01 after 28 bids on 3 February. Re-Listed on February 5 and sold for £411 after 24 bids.

1984 Ambassador 2.0 HL.
Re-Listed for the third time on January 25. 38 K miles only, and said to be in good condition. Sold on 29 January for £1000 after 12 bids


Princess 1.8 HL. In need of restoration.  Starting bid on Jan 6 - £0.99. Location, Oxford. Sold for £300 on February 2 after 13 bids


Winter Petrol Storage Problems:
Unlike many members cars I hear about, my Ambassador is taxed and insured all year round, but is used very infrequently during the whole year - probably less than one thousand annual miles.  This has been my usage situation for the past fifteen or so years. The car resides outside the front of the house when not in use. My main daily driving machine being my 1983 1.3 Metro, with an annual mileage of around nine thousand. (We do have a garage attached to the house, but this is full of Wedge and Metro spare parts, tools, and many other items that might be needed one day).

All was well up to mid October 2011 when my MOT was due. At this time I started to experience starting difficulties, coupled with blowing back through the carburettors when the throttle pedal was pressed down hard. This was to say the least of things, worrying. So, since this was not the ideal time of year to be working outside on cars, I decided to put the car in or a full service at the local garage / MOT testing station.  My thoughts at the time were that either the petrol in the tank had become stale with standing, had become contaminated with water from condensation within the tank, or there was an electrical problem somewhere in the ignition system.  I supplied all the ignition parts from my private hoard – all in green boxes marked Lucas. The parts fitted were distributor cap, rotor arm, points, condenser, coil, and sparking plugs. I also had the low tension wire from the coil negative terminal to the condenser replaced as this looked suspect, and checked the wire to the positive terminal from the ignition switch to the positive terminal, which was found to be in good condition.

On collection, the car ran great.  No miss - firing, and all seemed well for about one quarter mile, when the engine suddenly and without warning just gave up and the car stopped half way up a hill.  After many attempts to re - start without success, I gave up, phoned the garage, who promptly turned out and towed the car back to see what was the problem. At this stage I suspected the fuel had run out despite a fuel gauge reading of one quarter full, or the in-tank electric fuel pump had given up. I left the car in the care of the garage expecting a phone call to collect, which, had not come after couple of days, so I decided to pay them a visit. Their report that was that they had re-checked the connections to the ignition coil, after which the engine started and ran OK.  So, I paid the bill of £112 and drove away, not very convinced, as, although the engine would start and would Idle quite nicely, when more gas was called for by pressing the accelerator pedal, this was followed by considerable hesitance and miss-firing before the engine delivered the power, and considerable miss-firing was still occurring when running, but thankfully, this time I made it home. Decision time had arrived, so, despite the cold wet weather, my DIY abilities were about to be tested yet again.

 First job was to re-check the points gap, which was about right and all connections in the ignition system, which all appeared to be satisfactory.  So, time to turn my attention to my original suspicions.




              Fuel Shortage,
Water contamination caused by condensation in the tank
             Fuel to air ratio to lean, caused by an air leak on the induction side,
             An intermittent fault with the in-tank electric fuel pump.

Due to very unfavourable weather conditions in mid January, I decided not to attempt an overhaul of the carburettors unless this proved absolutely necessary, as the engine could be started, and would idle, so I decided to run the engine daily for ten minutes until normal temperature showed on the gauge. This would have the effect of drying out the engine and keeping it dry, and would also lower the level of petrol remaining in the tank, which would help should it prove necessary to drain it off.  On the first and second days the misfire was still present when the accelerator pedal was depressed, but thankfully on the third day, it had disappeared, but having experienced so many problems, I decided not to take the car out on the road.   I continued the daily routine of running the engine for ten minutes for a further ten days and am relieved to say that I have not experienced any further problems. Then, on a bright sunny morning at the end of January I found the courage to do a short road run (which later turned into a twenty mile road test).  Again, all was fine, no misfire, and the car seeming to be reliable once again.

The conclusion I draw from these experiences are follows,
It seems likely that my problems were caused by water contaminating the fuel in the tank.  Probably a very small amount of condensed water each day, which had built up over a number of weeks, and settled at the bottom of the fuel tank by the electric pump inlet, which was being pumped up to the carburettors – thus preventing starting and as it cleared, causing misfiring.  By running the engine for ten minutes each day, the small amount of condensed water was cleared daily, allowing the engine to start normally and idle without misfiring. So, to prevent a repeat of these problems, I now make a point of using the car on the road two days every week, and I run the engine for a few minutes most days. 

Although the petrol in the fuel tank was purchased early October, and had stood unused for about twelve weeks, I do not think it had become stale. It seems to me that for a very low annual mileage car which is kept outside during the winter months, wise to keep the tank fuel level low – perhaps around a quarter full, to ensure that this will get used before it becomes stale. To this end, yesterday I put £12 worth of petrol in the tank, which should be used over the next month.  I am advised that a full petrol tank is far less likely to suffer from condensation problems, but at the rate I use petrol, sixteen gallons would last a very long time and would be much more likely to become stale.  Also I would hate to have the problem of removing a large amount of stale fuel from the tank and disposing of it safely.

Incidentally, in recent weeks I have been contacted by two other club members who have experienced similar problems during this winter – one saying that he has not experienced problems like this in the twenty years he has owned and run his Ambassador.  Harry




Wedge Mart - Cars For Sale.




Austin Ambassador Vanden Plas. First Registered 05/83.  Approx 70,000 miles - Three former owners. Many new parts including exhaust, rebuilt gearbox, all brake pipes and hoses, suspension ball joints etc.  Twin carburettor with manual choke conversion.  Silver leaf metallic - paintwork needs minor attention.  £700. Call Pete on 07817 151030 and leave message.





 Austin Princess 2000HL. 90,000 miles  No Tax or MOT. Metallic Bronze; new exhaust & steering rod, some body rust & welding, carburettor and awkward spark plug need attention. Recently reregistered; old plates in photo. Scrap value £150, ONO. East London. Contact Paul on
 020 7377 8817, 07551 685472



Austin Ambassador 2.0 Litre. Manual Vanden Plas
due to loss of dry storage. 32,000 miles, always garaged, long tax and MOT, CD player, recored radiator and recent new clutch. As seen at club meets, Witney,  Bletchley Park anCoughton Court. Some rust bubbling on sunroof panel. Offers IRO 1500 pounds. Dan 07753 610348



Club Spares for sale.

Ambassador Front Disc Pads 
Princess Front Disc Pads
Princess and Ambassador Rear Brake Shoes
Rear Cross tube Mountings
Front Suspension Lower Arm Rear Bushes
Cover Sills (RH Only)
Ambassador Rear Brake Cylinder Repair Kits.
Princess Rear Brake Cylinders (VECO)
Front Suspension Steering Ball Joints (QH)
Thermoststs (0) Series   88 Deg.
Ambassador Twin Carb Air Filter Elements
Cambelts for (O) Series Engines
Ambassador rear Brake Cylinders (VECO)
Front Brake Discs
Factory Recon Outer CV Joints
Lucas CB Points
Lucas Condensers




Wedges at the NEC - 2004.