Rolls Powered 1965 Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R

With some luck, the average car spotter might recognize “Vanden Plas” as a luxurious long wheelbase Jaguar, but this 1965 Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre R spins the clock back to a time when Vanden Plas branded its own luxury sedans. A variation of the Austin Westminster, the Princess reached its pinnacle with the 4-litre R version, produced from 1964 to 1968, according to Wikipedia. A smooth and powerful Rolls Royce engine and a lighter-than-Rolls curb weight made for an elegant high-speed cruiser with an admirable blend of performance and practicality. The Honeoye Falls, New York classic “runs, drives, and operates great,” according to the seller, and a mere $5000 will put this rare British sedan in your driveway. Check out more pictures and details here on Barnfinds.

The dashboard looks slightly less impressive than a perfect specimen on Artcurial, but as long as the original wasn’t replaced with lumber yard scraps, it should be possible to restore that super high-gloss sheen. Other than normal wear and tear, the interior looks ready for an 11 hour run to your favorite pleasure destination. I’ve never driven a Vanden Plan, but I’ll go on the record saying that my late father’s 2002 Jaguar XJ8 (not a Vanden Plas) was softly suspended with soft upholstery, and far from the fastest sedan I can imagine, but you could drive a long day on the highways or even pressing its limits on twisty two-lanes and arrive feeling fresh and satisfied. I’d wager this Vanden Plas can deliver a similar reward.

The aluminum Rolls-Royce FB60 “4-litre” inline six cylinder (actually 3.9L or 239 cid) made 175 HP and 218 lb-ft of torque, not mind-bending in today’s world of 400+ HP super-sedans, but plenty enough to motivate the 3500 lb sedan with satisfactory performance and sustained 90+ MPH cruising.

Here’s a view few of us will see in person, and while it may not get you prime parking at the hottest night club in town, you might get a nice valet spot at your hotel. The seller lists some imperfections, but how many Rolls-Royce- powered sedans in well-running condition have you seen lately for $5000? Have you heard of a Vanden Plas Princess?

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I have never heard of a Vanden Plas Princess. I would think left hand drive makes this one of maybe a handful still in existence. Now I know where Volvo stole their design for the 164e series because they look strikingly similar in the front.

    Like 5
  2. DelBoy

    Yup. A cousin’s greek fiancee’s bought one for pennies back in the early 70s and took it back to Greece to use as a ‘bespoke’ taxi service. The engine was gorgeous,; the body not so much. It really was nothing more than a tarted up Austin Westminster 110 with a leather interior. Its fate was not a good one. Said boyfriend was a lousy, lazy owner with no interest in properly maintaining it. Caught fire one day and burnt to cinders. Same for their marriage.

    Like 6
    • Quidditas

      You are quite right. But they effectively copied they copied the front of the Wolseley 6/99. The Peugeot 404 is even closer in design as Pininfarina designed both.

      My late maintained one that amazingly is still around. Cooling was its Achille’s heel. I remember that he had an oversized radiator custom made for it plus a Kenlowe electric fan for cooling when idling in hot weather. It solved the problem

      The Volvo 164E is just so much superior in every regard.

      The price is very good too.

      Like 1
  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Oh that is very cool. That’s some Brit elegance without the snoot and seems a very reasonable ask

    Like 4
  4. Sam Shive

    E-Bay Ad Says SOLD

    Like 1
  5. Lex

    I’d prefer the Wolseley 6/110 MK II version, which is as nice but has the same engine as the Austin Healey. The Rolls FB 60 engine was initially ment for use in combat vehicles and isn’t that sparkling. The power steering is a bit complicated and has some issues. There is also a Vandenplas 3 litre. The Vandenplas had really very impressive colour schemes, which gave you the impression you had to deal with top notch government officials or royalty. If there is no rust USD 5000 is a bargain.

    Like 4
  6. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    Unfortunately Van den Plas wasn’t confined to Austin Princess 4 litre cars as they even had V d P Austin 1100’s amoungst others.

    Like 1
  7. Campbell L Usher

    Best friend when we were kids , his dad had one & we often went down to the holiday house at Quindalup for weekends , very smooth , reliable & comfortable car , as kids we didn’t really appreciate it but having a Rolls engine was cool. Not sure if I’ve ever seen another !

    Like 1
  8. Reg bruce

    Had one of these back in the ’70s. Typical British car that couldn’t handle hot climates and overheated regularly.
    While it’s true that the engine was a derivative of the version Rolls made for the British military, there’s hardly anything on it — or in it — that’s interchangeable.One thing that did carry over though was the unfortunate concept of having the cylinder head retaining studs pass from the top of the block all the way down to the crankshaft main bearing “bulkhead” area where they were epoxied into the block and, therefore, not removable. Guess what happens when the engine overheats one too many times? The cylinder head surface of the block warps and is not machinable because of the protruding (and non- removable) head studs.
    So now you need a new block. Ask me how I know!
    British engineering at its finest.

    Like 4
  9. t-bone BOB

    Location: Honeoye Falls, NY

  10. Bill McCoskey

    I owned 2 of these, wretched cars, one a LHD, the other RHD. Both suffered from overheating problems, even with new radiators. The LHD car had factory installed A/C in the rear package shelf. Fully charged with R-12, it cooled well as long as the outside temp was under 80f.

    Those in the motoring trade in England have a saying about these cars:

    “Low mileage car” means it sat for years waiting for engine spare parts.

    “High mileage car” means the original engine was replaced with something more reliable!

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