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phil_lihp

1977 Princess 1.8 HL - Saggy Brown Joy

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Morning chaps, long time no see.

I've not had much in the way of shite to share on this forum of late but I have now gone some way to redeeming myself with this glorious old heap, an eBay purchase which I won last night.  Fortunately the seller seems decent and isn't in any rush for it to leave so there won't be much happening for a  few weeks until collection can be arranged, leaves me plenty of time to clear the decks in preparation.

The essential stats are that it's a 1977 Princess 1.8, I think it's a base model and a Series 1 given it's not got a 1.7/2.0 O-series engine which I would have preferred.  Not sure how rubbish the B-Series is in this thing but I guess we'll see.  It's got an MOT and has been woken from many years of slumber fairly recently, I think it was on eBay last year prior to the current owner obtaining it but I don't have any details.  I think it's a base model and lacks power steering or indeed any equipment to speak of.  It's apparently very solid and has been undersealed, there's some rot above the bootlid and in the doors and the bonnet looks awful but is mostly surface corrosion I think.  It'll be getting a proper going over once I get my hands on it, a full service and brake refurb is likely the first port of call, plus finding someone local who can pump up the hydragas.

My sole experience of these is driving Philibusmo's utterly ruined example (OKK if anyone remembers the ex-Vulgalour one) a few years back and I was so impressed at how well it drove considering the state it was in, I've wanted one for years so this is a slightly weird dream come true.

Feel free to chip in with anecdotes, advice and mockery.  More details will probably surface in a few weeks once it lands.  It has MOT but it's on ancient tyres and has electrical issues (I know, who'd have thought?) meaning the lights and cooling fan don't work.  Given that it's in Kent and I'm in Devon, I am probably going to take the easy way out and Shiply it home.  Plenty of time yet to make some arrangements for that.

Watch this space.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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You have just won the internet. The colour is Brazil metallic, colour code AMD109. It's an HL.

 

I shouldn't really know that, should I?

 

I have a Haynes for the Princess 2 - it's a prize possession but I could copy and paste pages up here.

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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.

 

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10 minutes ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

A rubbish copy - maybe someone has the original?

 

 

 

 

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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)

 

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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.

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1 hour ago, The Mighty Quinn said:

A rubbish copy - maybe someone has the original?

 

 

 

 

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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

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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. 

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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.

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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

 

 

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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"

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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. 

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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.

 

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