1978 Austin Vanden Plas 1500 *SOLD*

MODELVanden Plas 1500
INTERIORCream Leather

1978 Austin Vanden Plas 1500 *SOLD*

  • Just 32,000 miles, backed up by MOT certificates
  • Factory fitted 5 speed gearbox
  • First registered 10 November 1978
  • Waxoyled from new
  • Later upgraded Mk II model
  • Large folder of documents with the car
  • Click here to see the Sold price

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  • Just 32,000 miles, backed up by MOT certificates
  • Factory fitted 5 speed gearbox
  • First registered 10 November 1978
  • Waxoyled from new
  • Later upgraded Mk II model
  • Large folder of documents with the car

Classic cars are not simply objects of function or convenience. For all us enthusiasts, classic cars fulfil unique roles in our lives. Classic enthusiasts feel a massive connection with their cars for reasons that are not always rational. The emotional, experiential and social aspects of owning and driving a classic car cannot be set aside.

This beautifully preserved Vanden Plas 1500 (VDP 1500) proves the point perfectly.

When one of the previous owners sold this VDP, he regretted it so much he bought it back. For our vendor this VDP 1500 occupies a special place in his life. Read on and you’ll see why.


The Vanden Plas business began in Belgium. Carrosserie Van den Plas to give the firm it’s full name was formed in 1898 by Guillaume van den Plas and his three sons.

Like many, the business struggled during and after the Great War of 1914-18. So much so, it collapsed in 1923. A British senior manager at Van den Plas factory, Edwin Fox managed to salvage something from the wreckage. With his brothers he formed Vanden Plas (England) 1923 Limited.

Building an enviable reputation for quality the new team forged tight bonds with high end manufacturers such as Alvis and Bentley in particular.

World War II intervened again for the Company. VDP made a valuable contribution to the war effort, but in the post war years they too began to struggle.

Serendipity came calling this time. Austin Motor Company were searching around for a partner to take their models up-market. The boss of Austin made an offer to the Fox brothers. They became a subsidiary of Austin. Saved again!

A period of tremendous success followed for the VDP team. In 1960, what was now BMC, launched the VDP business as a separate and distinct brand. More success followed in the sixties and seventies with names such as Princess, Daimler and Jaguar.

The VDP 1500 was launched on 17 September 1974. This particular model, the Mk II,  was built between 1975-1979, only 7,318 were produced. Few survived. Even fewer in this condition.

History and documents

Our vendor has an exceptional reason for finding, purchasing, owning and loving the classic VDP 1500. When he first embarked on a career in the motor industry, like many of us, his dad gave him a steer. Not just a steer, to be fair, more a shoe-in as he worked there as a coachtrimmer. He managed to get Phil – our vendor, a job at the Vanden Plas manufacturing plant in Kingsbury, north London.  His affinity with the brand had started and never really waned. When this VDP 1500 came on his radar he had to have it.

We understand one previous vendor, had this particular VDP 1500 for over seven years and loved it so much that he owned it twice.

Over the years, this VDP 1500 has come to be known as ‘Flossy’ and why not.

We’re told Flossy has a “whole sheaf of bills, invoices and documents in a file”. This includes some rare and original handbooks and brochures, plus, crucially the MOT certificates that back up the 32,000 miles.


The hallmarks of Vanden Plas coachbuilders is there in spades in the VDP 1500. Highly polished burr walnut was used on the fascia and door caps, you can see the condition from the images.

The seats were trimmed in Connolly leather covers. Deep, plush Wilton carpets over extra sound deadening covered the floor. The cabin roof was trimmed in West of England cloth.

Internally the later Mk II VDP 1500s were altered to provide more space. The rear seats were changed and moved rearwards giving extra legroom all round. Plush fold-down picnic tables, finished in burr walnut were fitted as standard to the rear of the front seats.

In a good few of the surviving VDP 1500s we’ve come across over the years, the interior space has been neglected or modified and items are simply no longer there. This VDP 1500 is all there.

The observant among you may note the next point from the video, and our vendor wants to be clear. The cloth headlining has sagged slightly in the middle. The West of England cloth covering was attached with adhesive to the board and the whole unit fixed in place. We suspect over time that adhesive has simple decided enough is enough and given up it’s sticky properties! It’s a small point, easily fixed, we didn’t want it over-looked.

Engine & Transmission

The VDP 1500 utilised BMC’s E-series OHC engine. The new unit was intended as a replacement to the venerable A-series used widely across the range. BMC invested heavily in the new unit constructing a purpose built factory, just south of Longbridge. Due to its simplicity and robust construction, the little E-series, pushing out 69bhp was a big success for BMC.

Our vendor says the engine in this Mk II VDP 1500 “drives lovely”. He went on to advise us it is all original, has not been modified and runs well, using basic additive to the fuel. He also tells us the engine is in sound “dry” condition.

When the VDP 1500 was sold it came as standard with a four-speed gearbox. Thankfully, the first owner of the VDP 1500 chose the factory only option of a five-speed gearbox. It is not just that extra ratio that makes all the difference. The five-speed option had a different set of ratios to the four speed and that, together with the extra cog makes a big difference.


Undoubtedly the reason this charming VDP 1500 looks so smart is due the fact it was treated to a comprehensive Waxoyl treatment from new. The superb preserving qualities of Waxoyl need no explanation. Just take a look at the pictures. We did ask the vendor if, in his opinion, the paint work was original. He was keen to stress he is no expert, but he relayed he could see none of the usual tell-tale signs of the classic car having been improved. If it is original, it is remarkable.

There is one fly in the otherwise pure ointment. The bottom of the off side rear door appears to have had suffered a scratch or something at some point. A previous owner has put a repair patch over the scratch. The vendor has provided two very clear honest images of that small area. The repair patch shows signs of age, but there appears to be no significant deterioration around the area. Have a look and judge for yourself how well a four decades old car has coped.

Our view

Personality, charm, persona, is how we’d sum up a VDP 1500. As well as spectacular value for money.

This VDP 1500 has clearly been cherished by all its owners, not least the current one who worked at the Kingsbury VDP factory, so he should know a good one when he sees one. Facts like the headlining is made from West of England cloth on to board. Who knew that!

Added to that is the genuine mileage of 32,000 backed up by MOT certificates. There are 23 years of MOT tests with the VDP. Since 2007, it has covered just 3,000 miles.

We’ve watched prices of these rise in recent years. We’d expect the scarcity, condition and genuine mileage of this one to attract considerable interest, for two reasons. They are great value for money right now, but that won’t last. The main reason is our vendor has put a very realistic reserve on the VDP 1500. We’d expect bidding to end around £3,500-£5,000. Don’t miss it.


Vehicle Location: Northants NN13 – it’s the responsibility of the winning bidder to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor

Have a question about this vehicle? Please contact the Evoke team at auction@evoke-classics.com and we will speak to the vendor on your behalf.

Tedious but it’s vital you read this, please.

We will always strive to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available. However, we can’t claim to be perfect. Your own analysis is very important and we are here to help and also answer any and all queries you may have prior to purchase.

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As with all vehicles of a certain age, localised paint repairs are common. This specifically applies with classic cars.

So, please, unless we state explicitly to the contrary, please assume that classic vehicles on our platform could have had remedial bodywork of any kind at some point in its life.

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Finally, finally, finally. Please note that vehicles are sold as seen and a returns policy is not applicable. This is the norm for used items acquired at auction.

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Bidder Bid amount Bid time
r***********************k £4,900.00 2022-02-20 22:51:33
r***********************k £4,800.00 2022-02-20 07:59:17
j***n £4,800.00 2022-02-20 22:28:58
s*********1 £4,600.00 2022-02-20 10:43:34
s*********1 £4,400.00 2022-02-15 14:31:29
d**********s £4,200.00 2022-02-14 14:55:11
s*********1 £4,100.00 2022-02-14 12:39:19
d**********s £4,100.00 2022-02-14 14:54:25
s*********1 £3,900.00 2022-02-14 04:53:23
d**********s £3,900.00 2022-02-14 14:54:05
d**********s £3,700.00 2022-02-14 14:53:29
d**********s £3,500.00 2022-02-12 19:16:03
s*********1 £3,000.00 2022-02-12 11:43:19
d**********s £2,800.00 2022-02-11 21:23:55
s*********2 £2,500.00 2022-02-11 20:44:12
s*********1 £2,300.00 2022-02-11 20:21:44
d**********s £2,100.00 2022-02-10 18:21:47
s*********2 £1,800.00 2022-02-10 16:46:15
d**********s £1,700.00 2022-02-10 10:33:49
t****2 £1,600.00 2022-02-09 19:42:35
d**********s £1,600.00 2022-02-10 10:33:25
Start auction £1,500.00 09/02/2022 12:00 AM


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