Spotted this article below about a VP1300 in Germany, on AROnline which was featured as their 'Car of the month' some time ago, the restoration was apparently carried out in Poland back in 2006.
This particular car, owned by Karin Lukaszewicz from Aachen in Germany, features an additional novelty BMC had to offer at the time – the AP four-speed automatic gearbox. Even if the price-tag of this extra was quite hefty, it nevertheless proved quite popular, in particular with the upmarket Vanden Plas Princess.
ALEXANDER BOUCKE describes how, following a thorough restoration in 2004, Karin’s Princess looks almost identical to how it rolled out of Kingsbury in 1968.
MIDNIGHT blue was not this car’s original colour. The last owner, who also imported the car from the UK to Germany, changed it from a rather dull Almond green to the elegant combination seen now. One wonders why Midnight Blue was not available with Champangne beige seats from the factory. More changes applied to this car include the addition of a 1300GT brake servo and a large, colour-coded folding roof.
The car was originally purchased in a rather run-down condition, and it featured the usual ADO16 rust. It was decided to give the car a full restoration, while keeping the colour chosen by the car’s last owner. Fitting the engine and gearbox from a donor car left the mechanicals in a good order, so that little work was needed in this department.
So how does it drive?
When BMC’s engineers started thinking about fitting an automatic gearbox to the Mini and the 1100 range, they knew that using a typical two- or three-speed gearbox, little of the cars’ good performance would be left, due to the limited torque available. To overcome this, a compact four-speed box was developed in conjunction with Automotive Products (AP) which shared the engine’s oil, just like the manual transmission did. The Mini and 1100 engines received a larger carburettor and small changes in tune to compensate the power loss in the torque-converter of the new transmission. The more powerful 1300, as fitted to this Vanden Plas, was denied this treatment. Slightly shorter overall gearing compared to the manual transmission was choosen to get lively performance, but on the other hand the twin-carb setup, as featured on the manual Vanden Plas and other plush ADO16 variations was dropped.
From the inside, the most obvious difference over more conventional automatics, is the collection of unusual markings found around the gear selector. The usual parking lock is missing, but in addition to ‘R’, ‘N’ and ‘D’ the positions ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘4’ are found. These allow the manual selection of every gear, just like on a modern Tiptronic gearbox. It is even possible to tow-start the car in ‘2’ as an additional oil-pump has been fitted for this purpose.
Selecting ‘D’ after starting the engine proves quite jerky, as the gear moves in very spontaneous manner with a hefty bump. Once driving, the experience is completly different from most other automatics: This gearbox reacts with real alacrity! No slurring gear changes, no seconds of thought before changing into kick-down…
When floored at lower speeds, a lower gear is selected instantly. The same happens when lifting the foot off the pedal, a sudden change up one or several gears will occur. Together with a rather short gearing and the four close ratios, this behaviour of the transmission makes driving in town or on twisty country roads hugely enjoyable and entertaining. Once the driver knows the car a little bit, control of the gearchanges using the right foot is easy, so that the manual override of the automatic changes is rarely used. On the other hand, the car’s performance leaves a bit to be desired above 50mph, when the engine runs out of breath in third.
Although a top speed of 85mph will eventually be reached, the natural cruising speed is more around 65-70.The full VP 1300 article & photos here:-http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/va ... uary-2006/
......and for more on the interesting story of sending a classic car (Rover SD1) to Poland in 2007 for restoration:-http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/our-car ... d1-part-1/AROnline Update 2015:
"as this story is now over 8 years ago, it needs a little re-evaluation: It was already apparent when having the Rover SD1 restored, that labour rates (and standards of living) were raising steadily in Poland against those in Germany or the UK. This trend has continued, while it is relatively safe to assume that the work will still cost less there than in the UK, the margin will be much thinner. If you count travel into that, it may be that there is hardly any money saved compared to a local workshop."