Originated in Belgium in 1870 manufacturing wheels, then axle units for carriages. In 1884 moved from Brussels to Antwerp where horse drawn carriages were produced, some of their creations being exhibited at the World Trade Fairs. Manufactured components for De Dion Bouton, Berlier, Germain, Packard and others. Formed a company in England in 1913, building bodies under licence from Vanden Plas in Belgium, going on to manufacture coach-work for the best of British marques such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Alvis
, Daimler and Lagonda to name a few.
In 1946 Vanden Plas became a subsidiary of Austin Motors, and went on to use Austin chassis, although the Austin name was officially dropped in 1960
. Most famous for the 3 and 4 litre Princess models of the early 1960's, the Queen even ordering a special Countryman version in 1963
, this model subsequently replaced by the Rolls Royce powered 4 Litre R, today a highly collectable vehicle. Suffered like most in the British car industry carnage of the 1970's, the Vanden Plas Factory at Kingsbury being closed in 1979
The Princess 1500 production was transferred to MG's Abingdon facility until its closure in 1980
when manufacture ceased. The Daimler models were transferred to Coventry, and from 1980 the Vanden Plas name was added to the most expensive luxury versions of the Austin Metro, Maestro, Montego and Ambassador, as well as the Rover SD1 and 213/216 models. Today the name Vanden Plas continues on the top Jaguar Saloon marketed in the US.
Also see: This History of Vanden Plas (USA Edition)