Jump to content
phil_lihp

1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Saggy Brown Joy: Road Test!

Recommended Posts

Top purchase Sir.

I was watching this too only because it was just up the road in Herne Bay and was a bit shocked it finally made such strong money as it was stuck at a £360 for days.

In the early 80's my mates dad had a P reg I.8 Princess in a vivid yellow colour with black vinyl seats,it looked epic compared to 99% of family Saloon cars on offer at the time.

Alas at six years old it already looked scruffy,the front arches were rusted through but it was a nice thing to sit in.

I think the 1800 B series engine was far superior to the later wheezy 1700 O series unit.

Back in the 90's i had a customer with a 1700 Ambasador that was a horrid thing it was a slow,thirsty,lumpy running thing that would run weak or rich depending on what day of the week it was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers, yes it was at the top end of what I was prepared to pay but I am hoping that once I have had my fun with it and made a few improvements it would do OK on resale - especially with a better ad & pictures.

I really liked the 2.0 O series I drove but haven't tried the 1.7.  Hopefully the 1.8 is not a complete boat anchor - I would love the idea of an engine swap for something more exciting but I suspect that is well beyond my limited abilities.  I did wonder if, given that it has O-series heritage, a 2.0 T-series turbo would fit but I suspect that would be a hideously complicated undertaking.  Likewise a K-series.

I stand corrected too, I think it's actually a HL, not a base model.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say the B engine would be an advantage. It's well known and tunable so you could have some fun hotting this up but keeping it period original. Lots of books on tuning the B.

Super old car - I saw it for sale so glad it has found a loving owner. Great colour - paint looks ok on the flanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mmmmm, wedgey. Good luck with this :)

PS - What's the story with the white Excel next to it? I hope it's not been left with no sunroof covering, it'll be damp and 'orrible inside!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers - realistically I will never actually change the engine, it was only ever a daft thought, I will settle for making sure the one it's got is in good health.

No idea about the Excel but I suspect you're right and it's probably a bit festive inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BRAVE. Would subscribe if I knew how.

I think I agree about the engine. B is well proven and spares and knowledge are plentiful. You're going to have your hands full enough with the car, but I think being a B it's probably one less thing to worry about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see a series 1 car. My dad had a metallic green 1800 HL on a P plate in the mid 80s. It had a reconditioned engine within months of purchase due to oil consumption I think.  Despite that the B series is probably a good choice. Better parts supply as others have said. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BOOTIFUL

I reckon if I had one of these nowadays the first thing I'd do with it is get that Ian Kennedy guy off facebook to sort me out with a set of regassed displacers. I've had stacks of wedges back in the day and theyve all had wonderful ride quality but now I think that purely from their age at the time of owning, they probably all had markedly depleted gas pressure in the displacers. A refreshed set (something completely non-existent 10 yrs ago) would almost certainly take the ride comfort to new and previously unattained levels. I would LOVE to try one with that job done, I bet it would be a total revelation.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

A rubbish copy - maybe someone has the original?

 

 

 

 

IMG_9081.JPG

IMG_9082.JPG

Probably what it needed in the first place? Dear old British Leyland - a car called a Princess...and a Terry and June image - surely nothing can go wrong. I liked the badge engineered versions which IMHO are cooler (not that the car is not cool)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good buy. A riot of brown 1970's wedge-ness !

I think you've done the right thing getting a B Series instead of O series engined one. As others have said the B Series is uber tunable.

It's funny I didn't used to like the silver dash panel but now think it looks rather cool. I always like the big F*ck off radio speaker that the series 1's had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

A rubbish copy - maybe someone has the original?

 

 

 

 

IMG_9081.JPG

IMG_9082.JPG

My Dad fitted one of those kits to his 1800HL.  Twin 1” 3/4” Su’s and a LCB Fanimold.   I thought it was the Mutts Nuts, my Dad and bolT on go faster bits.

It sounded all-right as well

alright

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good to see you back! Look forward to seeing this one develop. Princesses don't do it for me, but at least it's got a useful boat anchor. If you do get an MGB GT to strip for engine parts, I'd be happy to go in halves for the stash of parts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1700 works hard in the Princess, I'm told the 1800 B is a better engine and there are articles from back in the day questioning why the O series was developed since it was apparently not much of an improvement over the B in terms of performance.  Definitely a series 1 car, you can tell from the dashboard design, stubbier interior door arm rests, and the full width trim on the boot.  Get your suspension checked and regassed at your earliest convenience, I keep meaning to get mine done and things keep getting in the way of it happening.  Don't be surprised if the rear pivot shafts are totally seized in place when you try and remove the rear displacers, TADTS.

Happy to help in any way I can.  OKK did drive remarkably well given the high mileage and general condition of the thing and was surprisingly solid for the most part, a shame it ended up parted out after a couple of ownership changes.  It had extremely comfortable seats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cracking cars. Had rides in quite a few 1800s -all went well- especially a friends who had one about 4 or 5 years old. He would drive it like  a maniac back in the day. He replaced it with an SD1 3500 which he ultimately blew up at 130 mph due to a leaking rad.

Uncle replaced his 1800 with a 2000. Nicer interior but the engine seemed harsher.

Another friends father had a 2200 HLS when said friend was 18. That went very well indeed and handles surprisingly well. I’d love a 2200 but Princesses are now demanding a well deserved premium.

steve

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mr_Bo11ox said:

Yeah thats them. They travel round the country in a LDV Convoy van sorting out folks' leaky hydro problems! 

Living the dream

Love the satisfied customer quote on their website:

"my wife quite likes the car now"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked on these when they were new. Lovely cars. Very spacious and comfortable. The old B series is bomb proof. Very easy to work on and because it is the same engine as in the MGB then spares situation is good. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, glad to hear it's a good motor, not sure where I'd got the notion that the 1.8 B wasn't a very good engine - probably that fake news I've heard so much about.  Nothing much will happen with this until the lockdown is relaxed and I can sort collection but I'll keep you posted once things start moving.

Thanks for the advice and offers of help, I'm sure there will be plenty of questions.  This is by far the oldest car I've ever purchased, in theory that should make things simpler in some ways though.  I'm not sure my ODBC scan tool is compatible with these cars.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Fumbler
      To mark the genesis of my fleet project thread I here present my new car: a 1997 Nissan Micra Shape-


      It really looks that good. There is a reason for this: its previous owner was an old lady who loved the thing so much so she made every effort to keep it in good shape. It originally came from Fleet in the GU postcode which suggests to me it was bought by the present dealer at auction, hence arriving down here in Kent. Before seeing the car I checked its MOT history and its only fails were thanks to broken stoplights, which shows me that it was very well cared for. I suppose an example of this was that on the last MOT, an advisory was a corroded rear silencer. The silencer on the car when I saw it was new. Methinks the lady wanted to keep it as good as possible. It was kept in a garage and so all the bumpers and black trim are very black and the tyres are in very good condition. Spare never used! Also included a free Dettol first aid kit from 1997.
      This car has 15000 genuine miles on the clock. We clocked over 15000 during the test drive! The lady owner really only trundled around her village in it and the MOT shows that it only did some meagre miles between tests. This, of course, came at a price. We saw a cherry red Micra from 2002 at the same dealer. Paint was shoddy and when they washed it the boot had massive sections of bare metal and it wasn't very happy. This car, however, is in fabulous condition and there was no contest between the two cars- it really is that good, inside and out. Immaculate interior, driver's airbag, cassette player... all there and all functioning (apart from cassette thanks to new battery and failed display). This meant that I bought it for £1600, £100 over what was my uppermost limit, but I knew I wouldn't see another like this that was in as good shape for a fair while. It was priced very ambitiously, at £1990, so I'm content in the fact I managed to slash a few hundred off the price. There wasn't that much paperwork though. All the dealership received was the logbook with 3 service stamps from 1998, 1999 and 2000, the radio key pass, a National Trust sticker, and the original paperwork holder. I suspect the old lady died and had her car auctioned, and the massive file of paperwork is now someone's egg carton, along will everything else she owned.

      As always, this car isn't exactly in showroom condition. While the inside is great and the floor is solid, and the underseal is in great shape, the not undersealed parts need a small looking at. Mainly the rear of the driver's side sill. It's really the only bubbling on the car. I suspect a well aimed stonechip managed to fester over the wintery salted roads, making it rust even more. It's around the size of a 5p piece, and will give me the opportunity to spray the insides of the sill with some chain oil to prevent any further corrosion. Behind the fuel tank there are a few rusty joints- places where the spraygun cannot get paint onto- which some Vactan and Dynax should put to rights. Alternator belt looks original because of the cracking and Nissan badges and will need doing soon as well as the front plate. As much as I like the 90's font and original dealer surround, the dishevelled R and general water ingress is a persistant MOT advisory. It could be the MOT station being strict (and most likely is considering there's a Saxo down the road with far worse blackening), however for the sake of peace of mind and all that, I'll get a new one made. The rear has already been replaced indicating this has happened before.
      All in all, I think this is a nice plucky motor. I'll have it by the end of the week; just got to sort out tax, insurance, and it's going to have an MOT. As part of the deal it's getting the MOT and an oil and filter change which will be something ticked off the list. It has some love scratches and chips here and there, but it drives well, is stiff and controllable, and should make out to be a nice summer project!
    • By captain_70s
      Hullo,
       
      I'm a masochist from Leeds who is running two rusty, worn out Triumph Dolomites as my only transport in rural Aberdeenshire. You might recognise me from various other forums and Facebook groups. Realistically I need to buy a modern car of some sort, but instead I find myself looking at £300 Citroen BXs and Triumph Acclaims on Gumtree and thinking "yeah, that'd fit right in with the rest of the broken cars I can't afford".
       
      On to the cars, the main attraction being my 1976 1850HL "50 Shades of Yellow" that I bought for £850 and is currently my daily driver, here is a picture of it before I sanded off some surface rust and sprayed it badly in the wrong shade of yellow with rattle cans:
       

       
      Within a month of purchase I managed to plant it in to a steel fence backwards after a botched gear change on a wet roundabout and ruined the N/S rear wing, although judging by the other dent that's packed with filler it looks like somebody had already done the same. I also managed to destroy a halfshaft and one of my Sprint alloys (good for an extra 15hp) in the incident, so now it's sitting on it's original steelies but painted black (good for an extra 5hp).
       
      It's only broken down on me twice. once with some sort of fuel delivery related problem which may or may not have been an empty fuel tank and once when the thermostat jammed shut and it overheated and blew out some O-rings for the cooling system. It has recently developed a taste for coolant and oil which is rather annoying, although it's done 89,300 miles which is about 80,000 more miles than BL engineering is designed to last, I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines... 
      I tried to keep ahead of the rust a bit by rubbing down the arches and re-painting them, but apparently rattle can paint isn't great when you are spraying it at -5C, it also highlighted how although my car might have been Inca Yellow in 1976 it's now more of a "cat piss" sort of shade. So I ended up with the wrong shade of yellow which has rust coming back through after 5 weeks. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:
       

       
      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
       
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:
       

       
      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
       
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
       
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
    • By Tickman
      First some background:
      I was brought up with no car interest, a car was transport and nothing more which resulted in a selection of poor cheap cars being the cars of my youth.
       
      Fast forward many years (just over 9 years ago) and I have a wonderful* Vauxhall Vectra estate to carry us about. Unfortunately it is crap and throws fault codes at us with nothing being there when it is checked (even at Vauxhall)
       
      As Mrs T is the main pilot of this chariot with the two little miss T's on board, it has to go.
      The hunt is on for the new steed to safely and comfortably carry the family around. I have a company car at the time so big journeys are not an issue.
       
      ebay is my weapon of choice to find the new family car. It has to be good value cheap for no other reason than I am tight.
       
      Weeks of research with lots of cars that are too expensive and too far away for easy collection end up in my watch list.
      Finally a possible is spotted in Fife. I go and have a look and find a poor looking but solid car. One previous owner and lots of history.
       
      The auction was to end on the Saturday at midday, we were going to be out! I decided on how much I was willing to gamble on it and on the Saturday morning I put in my max bid but straight away it went to my max bid, I was winning but it had three hours to go with no room for me to go up! We went out anyway.
       
      I spent the next three hours kicking myself for not bidding more while we were out as it was the first car I had seen that fitted my criteria. Fate was in charge.

      On returning home I go straight on ebay to find 'Congratulations.............'
      For the grand total of £500 I had just won this fine vehicle!
       

       
      It has 5 months MOT and after fitting seat belts in the rear for the girls car seats it is pushed into daily service.
      My gamble and subsequent use results in a perfectly reliable car that actually does what it is supposed to do.
       
      Even more importantly Mrs T loves it so a win all round.
       
      All my cars have names (most are earned over a bit of time) and this one is called 'Gwendolen' ( G reg car and from Wales originally. I hate the name but I am not going to argue)
       
      That sums up part one, more will be along later (probably much later)
×
×
  • Create New...