Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Berkeley Street Sighting - 1956 Austin A135 Princess Limousine
But look closer. The grille is indeed a Rolls unit, probably from a Silver Cloud. The rest of it is an Austin A135 Princess DM4 limousine. As with a number of British cars, dating the exact year and even the exact model name is difficult because so few visual changes were made over the production run. These limos were built from 1952 to 1968, yet are exceedingly rare with only 200 made. What did change, was the name. If pre-1957, it's an Austin Princess. If late 1957-1960, it's a Princess IV. If post-1960, it's a Vanden Plas Princess.
822 MUP, suggesting it's newer than the 665 COO on this car. Assuming that the plates are completely original and that the letter characters serve the same purpose as the letter characters on California license plates, the car might be approximately a 1955 model. But the UK has its own significance for letters, corresponding to the area where the vehicle was first registered. If it follows that strategy the CO indicates the Cardiff area in Wales and the third O is random. Update: RegArchive.com says the original registration came from Essex, northeast of London, but the year is not given. The plates are made by Bluemels Bros. Ltd., which has an interesting story of its own. Bluemels had a whole line of number plates produced with different colors, typefaces and styles. This car appears to have the "Pyramoid" style of 3-1/2" characters in satin silver on a beveled plate. Characters are affixed with small lock washers or waterproof adhesive. If anyone has a more accurate date for the manufacture of this car, by all means please let me know.
Photographed July 2013
Thanks to Terry Hastings for kindly informing me that this car is somewhere in the 1956-1963 range, identifiable by a thin, chrome C-pillar between the rear doors and the quarter windows.