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Corgi: 1/43 Leyland Princess 2200 HL ‘Sandglow’ – Diecast Model
The Princess modelled can be seen on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, as it was used by Top Gear in an episode looking at BL cars. The team bought three cars, one each, Jeremy Clarkson driving a Rover 3500 SD1 V8, Richard Hammond piloting a Triumph Dolomite Sprint and James May in the Princess modelled. James defended the Princess, quite rightly, as the most interesting and forward looking car BL ever made, but the episode is probably most remembered for the team filling every car's interior entirely with water and attempting to drive the sealed cars around the test track while wearing dry suits; the Princess won with ease.
BL project ADO 71, universally known as the ‘wedge’ Princess, was originally given the product planning name ‘Diablo’ and started development in 1970. Stylist Harris Mann initially envisaged it as a hatchback but internal politics overruled this as the Maxi and forthcoming Rover SD1 used this body style. It was launched in 1975 under three brand names, Austin, Morris and Wolseley, as the 18–22 Series indicating the two engines, an 1800cc 4-cylinder and a 2200cc 6-cylinder. Its initial reception with both customers and media was very promising; the car's daring styling and comfortable ride were much praised. However, within six months it had been re-launched as the ‘Princess by Leyland’ and strikes disrupted both quality and delivery schedules. A total of 224,942 were produced.
Corgi's famous model vehicles captured the imagination of millions of baby boomers and, what were once simply toys for boys, are highly sought-after in the expanding collectables market.
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