Sam Phraeng is the collective name for the three main roads that run through this area, each named after one of the three princes who had palaces here. Prince Sapphasat Suphakit was the inspiration for Phraeng Sapphasat Road. Prince Narathip Praphanphong lent his name to Phraeng Nara Road, and Prince Bhudhares dhamrongsakdi was the inspiration for Phraeng Phutorn Road, which runs through the middle of the neighbourhood. It was on the latter of these roads that I came across the old Austin cars.
One of the historical quirks of Sam Phraeng is that it was here, on Phraeng Phutorn Road, that Bangkok’s first Driver’s Licensing Office was located, with motorists having to do laps of this road to prove their skill and earn their permit. That office is long gone, as are two of the three palaces built for the princes. Surprisingly, I found the one remaining palace to be in a state of decay. Paint was peeling off its walls and its large balcony sagged under the weight of time. Located on the corner of Phraeng Nara Road and Buranasat Road, Prince Nara Palace is now largely disused and ignored, with its sole tenant being a low office.