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Homepage. This page: The 'two-door coupe' version of the mid-1950s Minx, the Californian.

Hillman Minx Californian.

While perusing some of the photographs uploaded by visitors to the oldclassiccar Facebook pages, I came across an interesting pair posted by Dave Miles. They both show his grandfather, photographed alongside OXU 678, his 1954 Hillman Minx Californian MkVII. While there are a number of period photos showing post-war Minx saloon cars on the site, these are the first to turn up showing the two-door coupe version. Thanks to Dave therefore for allowing me to include them here.
The car's registration points to an early life spent on the busy roads of London, and Dave confirms that his grandfather owned it in Lewisham, until 1969/1970. The first of his images shows the car parked outside a row of lockup garages. The distinctive three-piece rear window arrangement, and the two-door coupe styling which both give the model a hint of transatlantic flair, are clearly shown.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size Hillman images.)
Side view of the Hillman
The second of Dave's photos sees the car inside the garage, being worked upon by his grandfather. The bonnet is raised, and a number of tools can be seen spread across the Minx's front panel. Drips on the floor may point to the car's 1,265cc engine recently benefitting from an oil change, or perhaps a change of brake fluid had recently taken place.
Repairing the Minx
The post-war Minxes changed in detail regularly over the years that they were in production, to freshen-up their appearances. The two-door Californian model joined the range in 1953 and sold alongside the Minx MkVI saloon and convertible, not forgetting the related estate car. Whereas the Minx was a solid, slightly dumpy little four-door saloon (one which I like), the Californian, with its two-door coupe roofline, and neat styling (especially when both side windows - and the B-pillar - were rolled down), was altogether more eye-catching. Two-tone paint jobs further accentuated their more daring lines, when compared to the more low-key Minx's look.
The car shown in Dave's photos is a MkVII I believe, the MkVIII of later in 1954 featured, amongst other detail differences, a grille with a distinctive horizontal bar to it (news of a 1956 Californian with just such a later grille can be found on this page of the site's forum). The earlier MkVI had rear lamps that were less flush than those shown here, another sign that OXU was a MkVII.
Does anyone know what became of OXU 678? It doesn't show on any checks of the DVLA database, so either it has long since disappeared altogether, or perhaps resides un-registered somewhere, awaiting restoration to an active retirement?
Return to Page 17 in the vintage car gallery.

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