The car was launched on 26 March 1975 as the 18–22 series, "the car that has got it all together". The number designation 18–22 referred to the engine sizes available carried forward from the 1800 cc and 2200 cc BMC B-series-engined BMC ADO 17 "Landcrab". For the first six months of production three badge-engineered versions were produced: Austin, Morris and Wolseley. The Austin model bore the original "design intent", featuring trapezoidal headlights and a simple horizontally-vaned grille with added "Austin" script to the lower right side. The Morris and Wolseley cars bonnets had a raised "hump" permitting a larger, styled grille for each model; the Morris one was a simple chrome rectangle with "Morris" script in the lower right-hand corner, while Wolseleys had a chrome grille with the traditional illuminated Wolseley badge in the middle, with narrower vertical bars either side set back within the chromed surround. Both of these versions had four round headlights, and the Wolseley model was only available with the six-cylinder engine and luxury velour trim. Apart from their bonnet and headlamp designs, and of course their badging, the Austin and Morris models were virtually identical.
By September 1975, the process of unifying Austin and Morris dealerships was well advanced, while the Wolseley marque was to be abandoned. Thus the policy of selling seven 18–22 series models under three different marques was changed and the range was reduced to four models all sold under the Princess name. The 1800 models bore the twin headlights, with the 2200 models sporting the wedge-shaped headlights Harris Mann had originally designed for the car.
Build quality of the Princess was affected by poor quality control and constant industrial disputes; it gained a reputation for unreliability it could never shake off, even though quality improved in later years. The styling, praised upon introduction, was soon labelled "ugly". To quote a phrase in Parker's Car Price Guide from the 1990s, "an early critic suggested that the people responsible for designing the front and rear of the car were not speaking to one another".
|Vanguards VA10200; Austin Princess 1800HL; Brooklands Green||Vanguards VA10201; Austin Princess 2200HL; Glacier White||Vanguards VA10202; Leyland Princess 2 1.7L; Diplomatic Protection Group||Vanguards VA10203; Leyland Princess; West Midlands Police||Vanguards VA10204; Leyland Princess|
|Vanguards VA10205; Leyland Princess 2 2200HL; Vermillion||
Vanguards VA10206; Leyland Princess 2 2200HL;
|Vanguards VA10207; Leyland Princess 2, 2.0 HL Automatic, Snapdragon Yellow||Vanguards VA10208; Leyland Princess 2200 HL, Sandglow|