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
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.
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.