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Austin Ambassador
Austin Ambassador Front.JPG
Austin Ambassador Rear.JPG
Manufacturer British Leyland
Production 1982-1984
Predecessor Princess
Successor Austin Montego
Rover 600
Class fullsize car
Body style(s) 4-door hatchback
Engine(s) 1.7 L O-Series Straight-4
2.0 L O-Series Straight-4
Transmission(s) four speed manual
three speed automatic
Wheelbase 105 inches (2670 mm)
Length 179 inches (4550 mm)
Width 69.5 inches (1760 mm)
Height 55 inches (1400 mm)
Kerb weight 2784 pounds (1263 kg) unladen

The Austin Ambassador was a medium-to-large hatchback automobile introduced by British Leyland (BL) in 1982. The car was a heavily updated version of the Princess, an ageing model which lacked a hatchback. Only the doors and inner structure were carried over, but the slightly wedge-shaped design betrayed the car's Princess origins, and it was not considered a truly new model.

To some extent a competitor to smaller-engined models of the Austin Rover Group's own Rover SD1, sales were low and the model was discontinued in 1984.

Unlike the Princess, there was no 6-cylinder 2.2 litre version; the Ambassador was initially offered in 4-cylinder 1.7 litre and 2.0 litre (single carburettor) variants, in "L", "HL" and "HLS" trims. Instead of the previous premium 2.2 litre models, there were the HLS and later Vanden Plas trim levels, both with a twin-carburettor version of the 2.0 litre engine. In 1983, the 2.0 litre HL was upgraded to also use the more powerful twin-carburettor engine. A four-speed manual gearbox (and automatic) were the only transmissions offered, with commentators citing the lack of a fifth gear for the manual tranmission as one of the car's drawbacks.

The Ambassador was built in right hand drive only and thus was never exported, and few remain on the roads of Britain today (approximately 250 out of 43,500).

The Ambassador was discontinued in 1984, with no official replacement. The gap it left in the Austin-Rover range was effectively filled by the slightly smaller Montego, and by the new generation of smaller Rovers.

UK engine and trim options L HL HLS Vanden Plas
1.7 Black check.svg Black check.svg
2.0 Black check.svg
2.0 twin carb Black check.svg Black check.svg Black check.svg

Contents

Special versions

As with the Princess before it, Ambassadors were converted by specialist coachbuilders into hearse and limousine variants.

Parts bin components

The headlights were shared with the Morris Ital. Other minor components including much of the interior trim was also shared with other BL products.

Media appearances

  • A fleet of red Austin Ambassadors were shown on a production line in a 1982 Not the Nine O'Clock News skit - all the actor employees on the line, including Rowan Atkinson, were known as Bob. The end of the skit proclaimed "The BL Ambassador - Hand Built by Roberts"
  • The Austin Ambassador was the subject of the song 'My Austin Ambassador Y Reg' by comedian Graham Fellows in which he speaks of how great the car is.

References

External links

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