PRINCESS 2: To Boldly O
1700 & 2000HL
1700 & 2000HLS (from May 1979)
2200HL (until Jan 1979), HLS
It was a case of the same but different for the Princess 2 with the specifications, L, HL and HLS continuing as before. Along with the new engines the Princess 2 received a minor facelift, the Princess script was deleted from the C-posts and grille, new side repeaters were fitted to the front wings, and the coachline continued forward of the wheel arch. Door mirrors were now satin black and all versions, except L (which had chrome hubcaps) wore the plastic wheel trims previously exclusive to the HLS, now with black rubber wheel nut covers instead of solid chrome nuts. Rear badging was modified with 2 smaller badges each side of the boot replacing the original full width badge bar.
The basic model, the 1700L, was offered with vinyl-covered seats, a pair of speakers and an aerial – but no radio! However, late in 1979 a radio was fitted as standard along with cropped nylon seat facings. The 1700L pictured here shows the new rear badge arrangement for the Princess 2 and the bright trim continued around the base of the C pillar and bootlid (the bright door capping was fitted only on previous L models.)
This Princess HLS is fitted with the Dunlop Denovo tyre and wheel option, identifiable by the black and silver wheel trims.
It was business as usual for the interior design wise, but it was usefully upgraded. The dashboard and centre console were now only available in black, and a wooden dash insert was now fitted to all models except the L, which had a matt black finish insert. The graphics on the dials were also improved though the reflective dial glasses problem still hadn’t been cured. The steering wheel received a new centre pad and the rim was now covered in leather. Note that a radio was still an extra cost option except on HLS models.
Late in 1979 further upgrades included nylon seat facings on the L model, and a radio became standard across the range. The warning lights on the dash were now square and, at last, featured graphics informing the driver of their identity.
Sales of the 2200HL were slow so it was discontinued in January 1979 and replaced in May with HLS versions of the 1700 and 2000 - increasing the model range from five to six cars - thus making the 2200HLS the only six-cylinder model in the range. This was later reduced to five models again as the 1700HLS was deleted some months after launch.
PRINCESS 2 FACELIFT
1.7 L HL
2.0 HL HLS
In November 1980 the Princess 2 received its final makeover. Doorframe surrounds were now either satin black or satin brown depending on choice of colour to match the vinyl panels (except L, which were body colour), and bigger door mirrors and new coachlines were added below the waistline, one stripe for L, two for HL and three for HLS. The 1.7HLS model was also dropped. Alloy wheels became available as an option for the first time; the standard wheel trims were now a matt grey colour with a central ‘P’ motif, replacing the Leyland logo and power steering was made standard on four cylinder HLS models. The chrome wheel arch extensions and the crown on the bonnet were also deleted and replaced by the new corporate logo on the grille. Apparently, the logo is a stylised version of the original flying ‘A’ that adorned the grilles of Austin cars up to the late 50’s.
The rear badge arrangement was changed to identify the ‘new’ Princess 2, with chromed lettering and a big blue 2.
Inside the Princess 2 received restyled seats in new ICI fabrics, bringing the trim into line with other cars from Austin Morris, with the new corporate logo in the centre of the steering wheel pad. There was also an improvement in sound deadening inside the Princess 2, especially at the rear thanks to thicker insulation on the parcel shelf trim.
By early 1981 marketing support for the Princess 2 was dropped and the car was left to its own devices. But despite this, its showroom appeal helped improve sales and 15,381 found homes during its 12 months on sale.