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Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, Bicester, OXON OX26 5HA
Viewing: Tuesday 4th April - 9am to 5pm
1959 VANDEN PLAS PRINCESS DM4 LIMOUSINE
The first Austin Princess was launched in 1947 as the flagship model in the Austin range. Based on the Austin Sheerline, it featured a body by the coachbuilder Vanden Plas and was a large saloon or limousine, most being bought for civic ceremonial duties or by hire companies as limousines for rent.
The Princess was updated over the years through Mark I, II, III and IV versions, the variations being fairly minor: the bodywork didn't change much until the MkIV version with its integrated front wings, nor did the 4-litre straight-six engine. By 1959 production of the saloon had come to an end but the long-wheelbase DM4 limousine version soldiered on until 1968 when it was replaced by the Daimler DS420.
Built by hand in limited numbers, the limousine was luxuriously appointed with lots of polished wood, optional Mohair rugs and radio with controls in the armrest. Among the long list of available extras were monograms and a flagstaff. The driving compartment was separated from the rear of the car by a glass division with an optional telephone for the passengers to communicate with the driver. The driving seat was finished in leather but the rear seats were typically trimmed in cloth, although this one has been reupholstered in more practical vinyl. To increase seating capacity, two occasional seats could be folded out of the floor.
The car had independent coil suspension at the front with semi-elliptic leaf springs and anti-roll bar at the rear. The cam-and-peg type steering gear had optional power assistance. An automatic limousine was tested by The Motor in 1962 and had a top speed of 86.2mph and could accelerate from 0-60 in 23.5 seconds. A fuel consumption of 15.8mpg was recorded while the test car cost £3,473 including taxes.
This very nicely presented DM4 Limousine was manufactured in 1959 and has been in the current ownership since 1990. Used as part of a wedding and nostalgia travel business, it has always proved both reliable and popular.
So reliable in fact that there are few bills on file: one for a new head gasket, new valves, guides and springs and one for an ignition overhaul in 2014. The file also includes 24 old MOTs which indicate that it has covered around 10,000 miles over the last 27 years.
This impressive period piece has served reliably in all areas of the business and still looks very smart to this day. It is due to be driven some 30 miles to the sale and would make a useful addition to any fleet.
SELECTED BY: CLASSIC CHATTER
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