Van­den Plas 1500

EN­GINE 1485cc/4-cyl/OHC POWER 69bhp@5600rpm TORQUE 80lb ft@3100rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 90mph 0-60MPH 16.7sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 20-24mpg TRANS­MIS­SION FWD, five-speed man­ual MoT Fe­bru­ary 2018 ODOMETER 50,371 miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - Chris Hope

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The 1485cc en­gine starts on the but­ton and de­liv­ers what lit­tle power it has smoothly. How­ever, this is an Austin Al­le­gro at heart, so it’s the Hy­dra­gas ride qual­ity that colours your first im­pres­sions, not the per­for­mance. It’s de­light­fully smooth, with lit­tle of the wal­low you might ex­pect in the cor­ners. The Van­den Plas 1500 could be spec­i­fied with a four-speed au­to­matic gear­box, but this one has the stan­dard fivespeed man­ual and it’s no chore to change ra­tios once you’ve ac­cli­ma­tised to the long throw over to first gear. The trans­verse Maxi-style over­head-cam en­gine of­fers suf­fi­cient rather than scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance. You’ll find your­self short-shift­ing be­cause there’s enough torque in re­serve to al­low you to travel ev­ery­where at low revs.

BODY­WORK CHECK

It was com­pletely re­sprayed as part of a full restoration last year and has since been fully Wax­oyl’d un­der­neath. At the front, there’s not a stone chip in sight and there’s no bub­bling paint­work in com­mon rot-spots such as the base of the A-posts and door bot­toms. The thor­ough­ness of this car’s restoration can be seen in de­tails such as the use of fresh rub­ber seals around the front and rear screens – the orig­i­nals were re­moved as part of the car’s re­spray.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

The brown leather, wal­nut ve­neer dash­board and door cap­pings, and black vinyl dash­top are in gen­er­ally fine or­der. The car­pets and head­lin­ing are new while the brown leather seats have been re­fur­bished rather than re-up­hol­stered. There are some creases and scuffs – patina, not dam­age – while the door cap­pings have faded around the edges. Again, age-re­lated wear, not dam­age. If there is a neg­a­tive in here, it’s the pres­ence of a mod­ern stereo head unit, some­thing the pre­vi­ous owner spec­i­fied dur­ing the car’s restoration. That said, the speak­ers are dis­creetly po­si­tioned un­der the seats, so at least the door cards haven’t been butchered.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

The en­gine bay is im­pres­sive – not a cor­roded part to be seen any­where. The en­gine was re­moved com­pletely and given a fresh coat of paint while the body­work was re­ceiv­ing at­ten­tion, and the al­ter­na­tor and most of the other en­gine an­cil­lar­ies were re­placed at the same time. More re­cently the me­chan­i­cals have seen a full ser­vice with fresh ig­ni­tion parts, so this is a car you can just get in and en­joy.

THE CCW VIEW

The his­tory folder in­cludes MoT cer­tifi­cates and ser­vic­ing in­voices dat­ing back to the late 1980s, all of which sug­gest that this car’s low mileage is gen­uine. Its metic­u­lous restoration has also been fully doc­u­mented and the car is well known to Al­le­gro Club In­ter­na­tional. Some may ques­tion the ap­peal of an Al­le­gro with pic­nic tables; but if you count your­self among those who de­light in such de­tails, then this is eas­ily one of the best ex­am­ples in the UK. It’s not the cheap­est 1500 we’ve seen, but it’s well worth it for this car’s qual­ity.

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