Princess and Ambassador Owners Club

Member  Area.
Updated 21 October 2012.

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Membership Renewal Form.    

 

   

                                              November 2012 Magazine. 

 

 

 

 

2.

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

CLUB OFFICER DETAILS
 

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

 If you have a general query /enquiry please send an SAE.
Archivist/
Editor :
Open Position �all copy to info@princessandambassador.org.uk

 Web site: www.princessandambassador.org.uk
Club Email: info@princessandambassador.org.uk
Member�s area access. User name: member, Password.  screwdriver

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.

 Disclaimer:
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 authors.

 Next Rally:

Coventry Transport Museum 28 October 2012.

 

 

 

3

 

WHAT�S IN THE BOOT?
Contents for Edition 53.           November 2012.  
   

 3.  Editorial.

 6. VIN Plates/Numbers Investigated.

 11. Atherstone Classic Car Show.

 12.  Latest Fuel News.

 13. Ambassador test Reports, 1982

18. The Lean Green Machine.

 21. Ebay Cars.

 22.Wedge Mart.

 A Warm Welcome to the following new member.
 Richard Bremner.  Berkhamsted,  Princess 2.2 HLS.

Front Cover Image:
Eddie Deans Princess 2.2 HL

 Rear Cover Image:
Eddie Deans Princess 2.2 HLS

 

 

4

Editorial.
Proposed visit to Coventry Transport Museum
28th  October.
I
n the September Edition of Wedge World, I suggested we had an end of season club gathering at the Coventry Transport Museum on Sunday 28th October.  At this time only one member has expressed any interest in attending, so, no arrangements have been made with the museum.  However, Phil and myself will be paying a visit, and will park on the public car park situated behind the museum at around 11am. It would be great if we could get a couple of Wedges there. Admission to the museum is free, and its postcode is CV1 1JD for sat-nav users.  Hope to see you there!

Club member Eddie Dean from West Sussex has experienced the             unfortunate problem of front displacer failure on one of his Princesses. His problems were compounded by someone selling him what was described as a �new-one� at a total cost of �196.  Following fitting, and to Eddie�s dismay, green suspension fluid was seen to be leaking at a fast rate. Nothing for it but to contact the club.  Fortunately we were able to find a used displacer for him, which he has now fitted and has his smart blue Princess standing proud and level again. Perhaps worth a mention � there is no such thing as a �new one�, they are all now more than thirty years old.  Hope you get a refund Eddie!

As we are talking spares, I have to thank member Gordon Meldrum � long time member from Co. Durham, who has spent a good deal of his time restoring his Princess this year.  Gordon, like many others had the problem of rusty rear wheel-arches and sills.  Only answer � fit replacements.  Unfortunately at the time when he urgently needed these, the club was not able to help, but then his repairer tried fitting a repair panel from a 1990 BMW 3.  See photo.  Not at all bad Gordon, and thanks for the information.

 

 

 

5

Still talking about fixing things, My Metro had a problem for fast approaching MOT - Indicators flashing to slowly, and Hazard flashers flashing to fast.  My early suspicions were poor earth connections, which I checked but found were OK.  I then consulted the local auto electrician who advised that I had a corroded printed circuit board, which was bypassed by fitting a length of wire to supply both flasher units direct. And finally, fitting two new flasher units fixed the problem, leaving all four indicating light flashing at the correct rate. This is a problem that could affect any car that has printed circuit boards, including Ambassadors.

A further problem with the metro was rust on the RH inner front wing � close by the shock absorber top mounting.  To remove this I bought a Sealey Spot blasting gun at a cost of �30. Sad to say I was disappointed with its performance as it will only work with the gun held in an upright position, and as the grit re-circulating action does not work at all well, I ended up with all the grit supplied either in the engine bay or on the ground.
30 years of Ambassadors.
March 1982 saw the launch of the Austin Ambassador.  I remember the TV adverts well. At that time I owned a 1.7 Princess2, which I used to deliver my pottery making products, and I welcomed the convenience of a tailgate.  I bought my first Ambassador in 1992 for �300 - again, a 1.7L, which l found to be a far more practicable tool than my former Princess. In 1998, I took over ownership of my present Ambassador VDP from former club member Paul Knight with 68,000 recorded miles � now 107,500. I note that there are still 83 Ambassador either licenced or sorned, so still a few about. Perhaps we should have had a rally earlier this year to mark the occasion - sadly we did not, but that does not take away from the importance of the Ambassador, certainly to its loyal devoted owners.

Cowley Centenary � 28 March 1913.
So far as we know, no arrangements have been made by any of the Morris clubs to mark the centenary of car making at Cowley in 2013. However, it could be that the Austin Federation will be adding something to the 2013 Pride of Longbridge Rally, to be held on April 13, 2013. As the Federation AGM is taking place on October 20th, perhaps some news will be forthcoming from that meeting. Will keep you informed.  Harry.

 

 

6

VIN Numbers / Plates Investigated.
On one of the many recent wet afternoons, I found time to check out the recently updated Metro Owners Club website, where I found an interesting item on Vehicle Identifying Numbers, and thought we should publish something similar for our Wedges.

 First thoughts were to check out details of Ambassador models from your recent membership renewal forms.  Please see table below, which shows details of Ambassador VIN numbers from nine members who supplied details, including my own � shaded in grey and taken from the VIN plate.
 

Model

Year

Reg Letter

Vin Number

1.7L

83/84

Y

XZ PW L 1 B M 125397

1.7L

82/83

X

    XZ PW L 1 B M 107156

1.7HL

83/84

Y

XZ HW L 1 B M 125156

2.0HL

84

A

XZ HW T 1 C M 139128

2.0HLS

82/83

X

XZ FW T 1 B M 105568

2.0 VDP

82/93

X

SAX XZ TW T 3 B M 110317

2.0 VDP

83/84

Y

XZ TW T 3 B M 114099

2.0 VDP

83/84

Y

XZ TW T 3 B M 132761

2.0 VDP

84

A

XZ TW T 3 C M 142756

 

 

 

 

7

At first I wondered why my vin number started with SAX, which was missing from all others.  At this point I checked further into vin plate details supplied by Princess owners, and found only one with SAX.  However, this car had a Q registration plate and was registered in 1984. My next move was to examine my blue vehicle registration document which was issued in 2004, which gave my vin number as XZTWT3BM1100317 - no SAX up front. I then decided to contact DVLA, who requested a photograph of my vinplate, so that they could resolve the problem. After a further search through my Ambassador document folder, I found more recent registration document dated March 2011 which was coloured red, and showed the full eleven-digit identification prefix, and advised that the blue 2004 document should  have be destroyed.

After careful examination of the details in the table, together with info supplied by DVLA, I came up with the following information �

 All Ambassadors have eleven digit identification prefixes,

 Starting with SAX - the international marque identifier for � BL Cars Ltd

 The fourth and fifth letters (XZ) are Ambassador model identifiers.

The sixth and seventh letters denote the Spec level � PW = L,
                                                                                 HW = HL,
                                                                                 FW = HLS
                                                                                 TW = VDP.

The eighth letter denotes Engine capacity         L = 1700cc   
                                                                              T = 1994cc

The ninth number denotes Transmission type - 1 = 4 speed manual,
                                                                              3 = 3 speed automatic

The tenth letter denotes the Year of manufacture          B = 1982/83
                                                                                          C = 1983/84.

The eleventh letter (M) denotes the Factory (Cowley) where the cars were manufactured

Followed by a six-digit car serial number

                                                                                                                                   

 

8

In addition, the letters SAX, may appear before the eight digits.  This being the World Marque Identifier for BL Cars Ltd. (Later to become Rover), introduced for new models after February 1981.

So, with my VDP as an example, 
                                  SAX XZ TW T 3 B M 110317

                                  SAX                     BL Cars Ltd
                                   XZ                      Austin Ambassador
                                  TW                      VDP
                                  T                         1994cc
                                  3                         3 speed automatic
                                  B                        1982 / 83
                                  M                         Cowley
                                  Car Number        110317 

Ambassador Identification Prefix Details � all models.
 

1700L MANUAL
1700L AUTOMATIC
1700HL MANUAL
1700HL AUTOMATIC
2000HL MANUAL
2000HL AUTOMATIC
2000HLS MANUAL (TC)
2000HLS AUTOMATIC (TC)
2000VP MANUAL (TC)
2000VP AUTOMATIC (TC)
2000L MANUAL  (POLICE)
SAXXZPWL1BM
SAXXZPWL3BM
SAXXZHWL1BM
SAXXZHWL3BM
SAXXZHWT1BM
SAXXZHWT3BM
SAXXZFWT1BM
SAXXZFWT3BM
SAXXZTWT1BM
SAXXZTWT3BM
SAXXZPWT1BM

Also on my vin plate you will also see the number 031005.  This is the Type Approval Number, which changed to 031004T on 12 January 1983.  So far as I can see, this is a number issued by the UK Government on behalf of EU to ensure that any registered product lives up to it�s manufacturers claims for quality and performance. More info can be found on this at https://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/vehicletype/index.asp

Perhaps the time has arrived when I should replace my well-worn vin plate. Unstamped plates are available on the internet from https://www.vin-plate.co.uk  for �10 95.  I will then need to send the new plate away to a
 

 

 

9

company who has equipment to emboss the numbers from it�s reverse side. One company able to carry this out is www.classic-plates.com , who tell me I will need to supply my old plate, and copies of my registration document.

My search for information about vin Type Approval Numbers has also come up with the following info for late Princess2 models.

 

1700L MAN OR AUTO
1700L MAN OR AUTO
1700HL MAN OR AUTO
1700HL MAN OR AUTO
1700HL MAN OR AUTO
2000HL MAN OR AUTO
2000HL MAB OR AUTO
2000HL MAN OR AUTO
2000HL MAN OR AUTO
2000HLS MAN OR AUTO
2000HLS MAN OR AUTO
2000HLS MAN OR AUTO
2000HLS MAN OR AUTO
1700HLS MAN OR AUTO
1700HLS MAN OR AUTO
2000 POLICE MAN / AUTO
2200 POLICE MAN / AUTO
2200HL MAN OR AUTO
2200HL MAN OR AUTO
2200HLS MAN OR AUTO

SAXPP4SGD0O
SAXPP4SGD0O
SAXPP4SGSOO
SAXPP4SGSOO
SAXPP4SGSO0
SAXPT4SGSOO
SAXPT4SGSOO
SAXPT4SGSOO
SAXPT4SGSOO
SAXPT4SGJOO
SAXPT4SGJOO
SAXPT4SGJOO
SAXPT4SGJOO
SAXPP4SGJOO
SAXPP4SGJOO
SAXPT4SGDOO
SAXPN4SGDOO
SAXPN4SGSOO
SAXPN4SGSOO
SAXPN4SGJOO

With thanks to Terry Miller, and the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, who have supplied much of the information required to produce this item, and hopefully we will be able to extend the information to cover earlier models in the near future.  Harry.

 

10

First published in Wedge World � November 2006.
This article is of relevance primarily to Ambassador owners, but may be of interest to Princess owners, if their V.I.N. (Vehicle Identification Number) is incorrect.

Some years ago now, the D.V.L.A. (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency) issued al car owners with a new Registration Certificate (V5C), to bring us into line with the rest of Europe (I think). At this time, John Johnson alerted me to the fact that his Ambassador Registration Certificate (and indeed those of both my two Ambassadors) had the first three letters (�SAX� � the vehicle manufacturer code - Austin) of the V.I.N. had been omitted. Apart from the fact that, technically, the V5C is incorrect, it means that the information held by the D.V.L.A. is also incorrect. This may have been carried over from previous documents � possibly from when the car was first registered. Up until M.O.T. computerisation (last year), this may have been of little consequence. Now, of course, things have changed.

On M.O.T.ing both my cars this year, the tester was faced with a dilemma; should he carry on as before, and use the (incorrect) information held on the D.V.L.A�s database, or �correct� the incorrect V.I.N., thereby giving him hassle? The latter was the choice of my tester (my friend of many years, Paul, for whom I now work as an M.O.T.  tester). Paul �corrected� my V.I.N., as per the vehicle, on the pre test (VT40) paperwork. This however, brought up another anomaly; namely, Austin is no longer on the D.V.L.A. database, as a manufacturer. My cars both passed the test, but now their test certificates had the manufacturer down as �Rover� (incorrect).

Within a few weeks of the test, the D.V.L.A. contacted me, asking for conformation of the V.I.N. as per the data plate on the vehicle (complete with the first three letter � the manufacturer�s code � SAX). I had to complete and sign a form with this information and the vehicle�s registration. Shortly afterwards, a �new� M.O.T. certificate was issued and sent to me at home (by the D.V.L.A. at Swansea), with the corrected V.I.N. and manufacturer (Austin) on it. I was asked to return the incorrect certificate issued by Paul. Some time after this, a new Registration Certificate (V5C) was also sent to my home address, with the complete V.I.N. on it.

So, on reflection, it is vital that all you Ambassador owners check your M.O.T. test certificates and Registration Certificate (V5C), for the correct information. If necessary, contact the D.V.L.A. at Swansea, to remedy any errors. Pete Maycroft
                        
Hopefully with the new red registration documents which all members should now have, this problem will have been resolved, but it would be wise to check that you have received the new red registration document for your car. Harry, Oct 2012.

 

  .

 

 

11

Atherstone Classic Car Show � 16 September.

The Atherstone Classic car show is now an annual event, held in the quite small market square of this small north Warwickshire town. This year there were said to be more than 100 cars of all shapes, ages, and sizes on display, including this �12,500 mini for-sale. Only the one Wedge, which attracted much interest. This was a most pleasant way to spend a couple of hours for Phil and I. Not to far to travel and admission free. Unfortunately not the place for a club event � not nearly enough display space - hence, no owners club displays.  Certainly Phil and I will be visiting again next year.


The only Wedge on View Today.

 

 

12

Latest Fuel News from FBHVC.
 INTRODUCTION OF E10 PETROL
The FBHVC and member clubs have previously been led to believe that the widespread introduction of E10 fuel was unlikely before 2015. However, following a recent Stakeholder meeting at the Department for Transport it does seem that this has changed and E10 could be with us as early as 2013.

The BSI committee (the Federation has a representative on this committee) is working on the E10 fuel specification for the UK which is expected to be in place by the end of 2012 and fuel retailers are to be given guidance over the introduction of E10 petrol. There is currently no planned national roll-out for E10 and not all fuel terminals have ethanol blending facilities, so a piecemeal introduction of E10 can be expected
.

A DfT vehicle compatibility working group will be compiling a list of modern E10 compatible vehicles and this should be in place by early September. There is also a working group subset which is concerned with classic or historic vehicles, including motorcycles, to which the Federation is invited.

We are already well aware that E10 is not suitable for historic vehicles, unless steps have been taken to proof fuel systems for this blend. Members should be aware that E10 may start to penetrate the UK retail fuel market early in 2013, and they should avoid it unless they have adopted measures to ensure compatibility with E10 petrol. Pumps selling this fuel will be clearly labelled E10, and also will carry a warning message. It should also be noted that super grade petrol will continue to be the �protection grade� and will not have more than 5% ethanol.

 LEADED PETROL
 list of garages selling leaded fuel can found on the FBHVC website: www.fbhvc.co.uk/information/  This list has recently been updated and there are now very few places left to fill up with leaded petrol. The list is laid out in post code order.

 

 

 

13

The new Ambassadors are by no means merely Princesses with tailgates. The body shell inherits only the front door skins from Prin�cess and a lower bonnet line front and a lighter looking rear with an additional window, the Ambassadors are altogether sleeker and more attractive.

The 1700L begins the five model range extending to the twin carburettor Vanden Plas version. They incorporate many improve�ments over Princess. And apart from the drastic body changes, suspension, braking and NVH have all received atten�tion. Greater economies in both fuel & running costs have been achieved by extending the servicing inter�vals to 12,000 miles. AD071 in saloon form only and to keep the Maxi in production.

Ever since the introduction of the Princess, however, there has been a persistent demand for a hatchback version, and the up market Rover range has done much to make the big hatch�back respectable. But to build a hatch�back Princess based on the saloon involved far more than cutting a big hole at the back and fitting a door there, for to do so would gravely reduce the torsional rigidity of the body.

When it was decided that the Prin�cess replacement should be a hatchback, the structural problem was fed into BL's computers at Cowley which now play so important a part in the design of new bodies. The modifica�tions then laid down for changing the body shell from a saloon, to a hatchback were so far reaching that the only panels the Ambassador inherits from the Princess are the front door outer skins, for even the inner front door panels are different.

To put back sufficient strength into the rear of the body, the members extending rearwards from the box sec�tion sills on each side of the floor pan have been increased in size: Rising from these longitudinal members and tied in to the rear wheel arches, are rearward inclined towers which act as supports for the rear seat squab and look after torsional loads by tying the body sides into the underfloor area.
 

 

14

 The Princess was a distinctive, even handsome car, but visibility was not its strong point. Forward vision was restricted by the high bonnet line necessary to house the tall, long stroke six cylinder E Series engine. At the rear, the deep boot, while splendid for the accommodation it provided, made reversing a game of chance and/or high skill. Then at T junctions the deep rear quarters were well able to hide fast traffic approaching from the left unless the car was skilfully positioned.

 All these points have received atten�tion in the Ambassador. With the sub�stitution of the E �Series six with the twin carb� 0�Series engine, the bonnet line dropped by a useful two inches. At the rear, the window in the new tailgate is now 1.75 inches deeper than the rear window of the Princess, the actual steeply sloped glass area being extended by four inches. The sideways visibility problem has been taken care of by adding an extra window on each side in the rear quarters, with the result that all round visibility is now an excel�lent 84.3 per cent.

 Ever since the original 1800, this model range has been quite outstand�ing for giving ample legroom, and the Ambassador carries on this tradition, but with the additional advantage that with the new folding down rear seat it becomes a quite exceptional cargo ship. Removing the hinged parcel shelf for stowage gives access to the rear seat squab release levers mounted at the rear of each of the side support rails for the parcel shelf. The levers are linked by cable to the rear seat squab latches which, when released, enable the squab to be pushed forward, while at the same time a parallelogram hinge system automatically swings the seat cushion forward and downward into the footwell. This then leaves a load carrying area with a minimum length of 71 inches and a width between the wheel arches of 47 inches, providing 55 cubic feet of cargo space. A very practical feature is that the tailgate swings up high enough on its two gas filled support struts for a six foot tall man to stand underneath to load or unload, protected from the English cli�mate.

  Lowering the nose and the addition of a steel air dam at the front forming part of the body structure have improved the Cd of the body from 0.426 of the Princess to 0.408, in each case with two big outside mirrors in place. The air dam not only plays its part in improving fuel consumption but is also said to improve the handling yaw in strong winds.

The smoother airflow has played its part in keeping wind noise acceptably low and also helping are improvements to the fit and finish of the body at the very start of its life: much money has been spent on retooling and re-jigging to make sure the body in white is right. Attention to door fit at this stage has also made it easier to secure good sealing of the doors, eliminating a fre�quent cause of wind noise.

 

 

 

15

Before the final series of the Prin�cess range was introduced in February 1981, an intensive programme on the rolling road in BL's anechoic chamber, aimed at reducing the noise level inside the car, was carried out. This pro�gramme has been- carried a stage further on the Ambassador, with noise at source being reduced by attention to road noise, drive noise and gearbox noise, and the addition of further sound insulation in the form of more deaden�ing pads for the body in white, thicker absorption pads under the carpets and additional insulation of the dash.

 The 1695cc four cylinder 0�Series engine that powers the 1.7L and HL models develops 83 bhp and is fitted, with a single SU HIF 44 carburettor incorporating the additional weakening device developed originally for the Metro and designed to create a depression in the float chamber when the throttle is partly shut, thereby reducing the rate at which fuel is dis�charged from the jet.

This carburettor is also employed on the 1994cc 0� Series engine powering the 2000 HL, but the 2000 HLS and the Vanden Plas models are fitted with twin SU HIF 44 carburettors and develop an additional 8 bhp, -100 bhp at 6,250 rpm instead of 92 bhp at 4,900 rpm. The twin carburettors are mounted on a new one piece inlet and exhaust manifold differing from that fitted when the engine is installed in the new Rover 2000, and the carburettors have the new SU Automatic Start�ing Unit, a fully automatic auxiliary carburettor which acts as an automatic choke.

Controlled by engine temperature and load by a hot air pick up on the outside of the exhaust manifold and a jet/needle system acted on by manifold depression, the ASU is claimed to ensure the engine receives the correct mixture automatically from the time it is first started from cold right through to high load-running conditions, includ�ing all stages during warming up, so that the car pulls away from cold with no embarrassing sudden hesitancy or spit-back. A new spherical ball joint connects the twin down pipes from the engine exhaust manifold to the single pipe exhaust system and has played its part in making the car quieter and more refined by suppressing noise and vibra�tion. And due to the degree of flexibility provided it also increases the life of the exhaust system.

Much work has been done to quieten the gearbox and tooth profiles 'similar "to "those used in the latest Metro boxes have been adopted, with a finer pitch with increased helix angle and reduced pressure for the constant mesh gear pair and the third speed gear pair. Although the gearbox and final drive ratios are the same for all models, lower overall indirect gearing for the 1.7s is obtained by a primary drive ratio of 1.000 to 1 instead of 0.935 to 1. The primary gears, too, have a finer pitch than before, and improved manufacturing methods mean a quieter running final drive gear pair. The gearbox internal ratios have also been changed in the search for greater economy and are now as fol�lows:

             Princess  Ambassador
 
1st        3.29        3.545
 2nd       2.06        2.217
 3rd        1.38        1.439
 4th       1.00         1.00

 

 

 

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The final drive ratio stays at 3.722. The result of these changes is that the mph per 1000 rpm in top gear is now 19.0 mph for the 1.7 and 20.3 mph for the two litres instead of 18.8 mph for all the Princess range.

 The Borg Warner Model 35 TA three speed transmission is available for owners requiring an automatic trans�mission and is operated by a new T-handle shift lever actuating improved shift cables.

New Hardy Spicer tripode inner drive shaft joints are now used. One half of the joint consists of three spherical rollers free to rotate and slide on three equally spaced trunnions at 90 degrees to the line of the shaft, and the other half of the joint of three tracks along which the rollers slide. This new joint, which replaces the old fixed cage ball and track joint, gives much freer movement, is more reliable and less noisy and � because it does not tend to stick under load � it also benefits the ride and handling

The Hydragas suspension developed jointly by Moulton, Dunlop and BL is retained but in a refined version, with a new metal damper valve in each Hydragas unit with metal sprung blow off ports instead of the rubber compres�sion blocks previously used. These new valves allow more precise tuning of the damping characteristics of the units for they provide better control of the transfer of fluid pressure between the upper and lower fluid chambers. This modification, together with an increase of 20 per cent in the volume of the nitrogen gas chamber above the damper valve on each of the front Hydragas units, has improved the ride as a whole but has brought particular benefit in eliminating harshness from the ride at low speed.               |

Our tests of the Princess have on occasion complained of too much reac�tion from striking a pothole in the road. This has been attended to by modifying the location of the front suspension lower arms so that under suspension bump conditions, rearward axial loadings are taken by the rear pivot bush instead of the front pivot bush; the rear | pivot bush being located in a much stronger area of the body and thus giving better control of the arm. A transverse stiffener has also been added.

Most of these suspension modifica�tions are aimed at improving the ride rather than the handling, but mounting the 185-70 tyres on one inch wider rims, 51/2J instead of 41/2J, has improved both the steering response and the stability of the car.

With the much heavier six cylinder 2200 engine no longer having to be provided for, plus the additions' weight of the tailgate and the folding rear seat, front to rear weight distribution has altered significantly, from 61-39 to 60-40. The diameter of the rear brake cylinders has therefore been increased from 14.3 mm to 17.8 mm now that they are doing more of the work, but to prevent the rear brakes from locking up if used hard when the car is lightly loaded, a pressure conscious reducing valve is now fitted in the rear brake hydraulic circuit. The twin circuit hydraulic system has also been changed from an L split, which in case of failure

 

 

 

17

provided braking on both front wheels and one rear wheel, to the H-l split, as used on the Metro, in which one circuit operates all four brakes and the other the front brakes only.
The Ambassador, despite being an Austin and not a Morris, is built at Cowley where its body � a product of what used to be the Pressed Steel works � goes through the new �35 million paint plant installed recently for the Rover and the Acclaim and then crosses the main road by a bridge to the main Cowley works where it is assembled on the same lines as the Rover.
Aimed at the upper medium car sec�tion of the market� the top end of the Cortina range, the bottom end of the Granada range � the Ambassador is designed to bridge the gap between the Ital and the Rover, and BL are aiming at 30.000 sales a year. Even the least expensive 1700L are well equip�ped with twin reversing lamps, twin fog guard rear lamps, and a push but�ton radio as standard.
The HL model, in addition, has black body side rubbing strips, a driver's seat adjustable for height, moulded front door bins and a folding centre armrest for the near seat.
The HLS owner, as well as a two litre twin carburettor engine, also gets rear screen wash/wipe, a central locking; system for all five doors, electrically operated front windows, an internally adjustable driver's mirror, a digital clock  and an Econometer to show whether he is driving economically.
The range topping Vanden Plas model has a steel sun roof with slide and tilt mechanism, velour seat and door trim, shag pile carpets and a push button combined radio cas�sette player with additional twin rear speakers in the parcel shelf side supports. From outside the Vanden Plas can be identified by its front fog lamps mounted below the bumper, the alloy wheels and its broad rubbing stripe with bright insert.
Sales of the Princess during much of its life have been harmed by the name it gained, early on, for being unreliable, a reputation it never quite lived down although owners of later models seemed well pleased with them. With a change of name and, more important, with most of the features of the car which have in the past been criticised now attended to, the new Austin Ambassador should stand a much bet�ter chance of meeting its sales targets, especially as it is very competitively priced.
Driving impressions
Having been involved in our long term tests of both the original Austin 1800 and an early Princess 2200 when it was still an Austin, I was very interested in trying the third generation cars.
I first tried a 1.7L, which does not have the 240 adjustments of the driver's seat offered by the more up market models, but nonetheless I was able to settle into a comfortable driving position though I could have done with another half inch or so of rearward travel. The seat itself in its new rede�signed form I found very comfortable , with plenty of support in the small of the back. The instruments, too.

 

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have been redesigned, and gone are all those irritating reflections � but gone too, alas, are those pleasant little finger tip switches. The forward view is con�siderably improved now that the lower edge of the bonnet has enabled that two inch band of black tape at the base of the windscreen to be removed.

First impressions on moving off were of the heaviness of the steering without power assistance, even though it is low geared and requires 4 turns from lock to lock. Once on the move, however, it becomes acceptably light and I was not troubled by the low gearing. On the whole I was pleasantly surprised by this, the basic model, for it did not feel at all underpowered, accel�erated strongly in that excellent third gear to well over an indicated 70 mph and cruised happily and quietly at 80 mph. It felt a much bigger car, in fact, than a 1.7 litre until pushed it to its maximum when it slowly ran out of breath at about 90 mph. Only the rather heavy gear change, which showed some reluctance on the upward change from second to third, marred an otherwise excellent big, comfort�able touring saloon, with the comfort derived from the seats, the air of spaciousness and the excellent sus�pension. 'Sad to say, I found the 2.0 twin carburettor HLS rather disappointing. It had all the expected gain in perfor�mance over the 1.7, both away from the lights and when running fast it seemed a very lively car, keeping going well past the point at which the 1.7 ran out of breath.

The ride, however, was inferior to that of the 1.7, feeling firmer and there�fore more unsettled over small changes in the road surface, though it still compares well with most rivals. The power steering was disappointing � it was rather light and gave the impression it was fighting back all the time, just like the power steering fitted to the earlier 1800, whereas the power steering on my Princess was very pleasant. Nor did the longer stroke engine seem as quiet and refined as the 1.7-litre version.      Philip Turner 1982

The lean green machine by Steve Forde.
Back in July, I decided not to take my Amby A435 OYC for it�s MOT as I knew it wouldn�t pass due to the front of both rear wheelarches and sill ends having disappeared due to rust. I put it in the garage whilst hunting down a pair of wheelarches as well as a few other bits for jobs that needed doing, camshaft oil seal, timing belt, fuel tank sender, front chin spoiler repair, rear door corners, screeching water pump, headlamp washers seized up etc., etc

I found the arches surprisingly quickly, one from Terry and the other from Harry (thanks guys). It was whilst collecting the one from Harry�s place that he told me of a green Amby in his area that desperately needed a new owner as the present one cannot commit the time to resurrect it.

 

 

 

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Let me explain. It was his grandfathers car from new, it�s a light metallic green 1.7HL, has less than 19K on the clock, and is incredibly still on it�s original tyres!  When the grandfather passed away, the car was left to the grandson who is about to become a father for the first time and so his priorities have understandably changed. Harry sent me a few pictures of the car, and after arranging transport and storage, I decided the car was too good to scrap and said I would take it on and return it to the road. Me

and my mate Pete met Harry and his son Phil at the cars resting place, and after pumping the tyres up, it rolled quite freely with us all pushing it out onto the road and winching it safely onto the tow truck I�d got for the day..

The bodywork on this car has no issues at all on the sills or doors, even the jacking points are intact. The rear lower quarters are a bit blistered and the nearside front wing has been sprayed an odd shade after minor repairs in the past, so at least major surgery doesn�t look like it�s on the agenda. The interior is mostly beige with a hint of mildew and something growing in the footwells to complete the aromatic cockpit that needs to be sorted. Anyone got a beige front carpet for sale out there please? Tel -07816 512597.

Now that the car is back here with me I have a bit of a dilemma. It appears bodily more solid than my own car and will need less metalwork to put right. So, do I carry on and repair mine first, or tackle the aromatic green machine first? Steve Forde.


Steve�s first sighting of his green Lean Green Machine

 

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Loading prior to transporting to Steves place in Bristoll.


Steves newly acquired Ambassador resting for the winter.

 

 

 

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Ebay Cars:


Princess 2.2 HLS auto 1980. Classified sale - �1,250 with 58,900 recorded miles.

Sold for �900 on August 19.

 


1979 Princess2 1.7 L,  located Sleaford, Lincs. 85,000 recorded miles. Much bodywork required. Classified sale � asking price �685.

Sold for �575 on September 5.

 Princess 2.2 HLS -offered for sale for the third time.
Located Penzance, with 48,000 recorded miles.

Finally sold on September 10 for �1,070.


1977 Princess 2.2 HLS.  Dry stored since 1985, with only 16,000 recorded miles.

Sold for �2,225 on Sept 20 after 29 bids

 

 

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Another Princess 2.2 HLS �
automatic 1978, showing 10.406 recorded miles.
September 27 �bids reach �2,800
September 28 � auction ended by the seller after 10 days as item became unavailable

 



Club Member Dan Nichols recently rescued 1800 HL, 1975. Offered for sale at �1,495.  Said to be the first 1.8HL produced on 21 March 1975, now showing 63,280 recorded miles.

 

 

 

Princess2 1700 HL.  Has been stored off road since 2009. 62,417 miles. Bidding started at �50.

 

 

Princess 2.2 HLS, Automatic. 66,410 recorded miles.

Sold for �650 after 12 bids on October 12.

 

 

 

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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.
Front Suspension Steering Ball Joints (QH)
thermostats (0) Series 88degrees
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
 
�15.00
�12.00
�15.50

�9.00
�6.00
�20.00
�6.00
�13.00
�10.00
�8.00
�11.00
�8.00
�14.00
�18.00
�24.00
�4.00
�3.00