Had an Austin Ambassador way back in 1985 - replaced a nice Ford Cortina 2.0 Estate. Wax polishing (not T cutting) used to bring off the dark blue paint! Suspension unit failed - lucky to get one off a scrapper. Drivers door partly came off in my hand! Smoke smell came from demister vents at speed (what speed?). I bought Jap cars for TEN years after this, and only now am I satisfied to date with my Frontera and Mondeo. I could afford now a Beamer or Merc. but still like to buy 'Yank Brit.' We might be an awesome nation in battle! We might be brilliant bankers and insurers! But let's forget these awful remnants of the death of the British motor industry and the crazy self-destructing workers who built them. (Sorry).
I would like to say that if there is anyone who wants to buy one of these BL relics, pay a sensible price! The entry above says that the current owner paid £250 for their Ambassador! That's way too much money for a car that was nothing more than a Princess with a hatchback.
Hi, I'm 14 years old and my friend's dad has an Austin Ambassador 2.0L Vanden Plas Auto in Opaline Metallic. It is a great car!!!
My friend and I have worked on it with him (respraying, body repairs, fitting a towbar) and found all this work fairly easy.
In the 2.0L V.P guise it is a lovely vehicle inside with electric windows, sunroof, push button radio/tape and velour trim.
The only mechanical problems are a dodgy auto gearbox that needs fairly high revs to kick in, but other than that it's a damn good car. Anyone who deems it to be anything less than brilliant needs shooting.
This car turns more heads than your Escort RS2000 or your Cavalier SRi, the alloys may be losing their lacquer a bit and there may be surface rust, but that's all cosmetic and can be sorted.
There's not many on the road now and there should be more!!! If you are interested in parts, joining the club or just want to comment on my speech, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all for reading, Byzebye.
Commentator from May 15 again: Talking of the Princess from which Ambassador was born. Had one for a summer in '83 as a 2nd car to my Cortina. Although 2nd gear was more or less gone it performed well on weekly trips from Cheshire to Wales and Blackpool pulling a box trailer.
Just regular top-ups of oil. This cost £250 at the time and prompted me to buy the awful Amb. for £1800!! If you have one then why not just show at classic events? But don't try it as regular transport as a suspension unit WILL fail - you've been warned!
Re Austin Ambassador.
This car is an excellent project and a certain future classic. £250.00 is right for a good example (possibly cheap) and will certainly climb in value. No foreign company such as Ford or GM ever made a car in the UK with such a smooth ride and comfortable seats. After a long journey, cruising at 70mph the driver will have no fatigue. In a modern Cavalier your back will be out of joint.
If anyone thinks £250 is too much to pay, see if you can find one.
I was lucky enough to be in an ambassador (1.7hl) when one morning trying to get to work I managed to loose it on an icy bend. Lucky that I walked away from a car that rolled then flipped, landed on its roof upside down in a drain (dyke).The car was bent like a banana the rear wheels were hanging off the screen was shattered and various other bits had departed company from it. When I show pictures of the wreck that was my ambassador comments of "they don't make em like that any more" and "you lucky bast@rd" are common.
I didn't feel that lucky, but the car I had before the ambassador was an allegro, I don't think that the aggro would have let me off without a scratch.
Austin Ambassador - under-rated and worth a second chance.
My father used to own one in the early 90s, a red 1.7HL, and it was the first car I drove after passing my driving test at 17. I was one of the lucky ones. It was a big and comfortable car to drive. Excellent driving position owing to the wedge suspension set up. Soft seats, lots of hidden extras that made things for convenient. The springless gear box took a bit of getting used to, but made for quicker gear selection in the end. Ours lost a cyclinder, but kept running for MONTHS afterwards, just a little loss in power, but that wasn't saying much. Overweight, but under-rated. I loved it.
I bought a 1.7HL Ambassador, Dark Red, in 1985 for £1800 and ran it as Taxi for a couple of years with many surprised comments about how comfortable and striking it was. The hydrolastic suspension was a problem though - it 'popped' on me 3 times in its lifetime, the first time taking 3 very cold and snowbound days to fix. Another quirk was the speedo drive kept breaking. The blade end that slotted into the final drive shaft kept snapping. It must have been a common problem as most scrapped cars had this part missing!. Mine lost an oil ring on one cylinder which meant regular cleaning of spark plugs - several times on the M25 with passengers on board! I reluctantly parted company with it at auction for £200 which went as a down payment on a 2.5Lt diesel Sierra which was much more functional, but no where near as comfortable or head turning as the Ambassador!
This was the first car I ever drive too, my dad had a 2.0 HLS. It was OK, but it always felt like it could do with more power. I wasn't impressed with the way the interior door handle came off in your hand though, ususal BL build quality. It was a pity they didn't make this car instead of the Princess, the hatch offered far more practicality.
These are seriously rare cars now, only made between 1982-84.
A much underrated British car. My dad had 2 - a Y reg gold 1,7L, and a silver 2.0HL. I learnt to drive in the silver one. The gearbox left a lot to be desired - I remember regularly changing down from 4th to 1st and causing my Dad a lot of worry! However, the ride was awesome - incredibly comfortable and relaxing. This was not a car to be driven quickly anywhere. I always liked the styling - although the interiors could be a little austere. Sadly not seen much now, the Ambassador was a very worthy successor to the Princess. Great load carrying ability too, with the hatchback.
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