Growing up in the 80s and 90s, the only thing I knew from the term ‘Vanden Plas‘ is that it was the name of a Jaguar model, in those uncomfortably unreliable years. The 1964 Vanden Plas 4-Liter R was something else entirely, the fruit of a collaboration between Rolls-Royce and the British Motor Corporation, or BMC. Based on the 3-Liter A110 Westminster shell, it sported a Rolls-Royce engine and was designed for a very discriminating clientele indeed. It sported Connolly leather everywhere, and was richly appointed with walnut veneer and all the little attentions that make a good car, great. It was also designed to be particularly roomy, especially as far as hear room was concerned.
The 4-Litre R was also impressively fast, especially for that type of luxurious car. Equipped with a 3.9-liter (yes, I know…) straight-six Rolls-Royce engine rumoured to develop about 175 horsepower, it could motor down the highway at a flat out speed of 112 miles per hour, and was surprisingly adapt at maintaining 100 miles per hour. Acceleration to 60 miles per hour was done in 13 seconds or less, an equally impressive figure.
Unfortunately, the car was not nearly as popular as BMC would have wanted. It remained in production until 1968. Over the years, only 6,555 1964 Vanden Plas 4-Litre R (and its successors) were produced, which BMC had trouble unloading.