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Homepage. This page: Photos learning to drive behind the wheel of a Minx, plus images of other pre- and post-war Minxes.
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1. A late 1930s Hillman Minx six light saloon.

Firstly on this 1930s/1940s Minx page, two photographs of the same car, a c1939 Hillman Minx, with 'L' plates attached to it. The first photograph shows JNW 213 parked half on the kerb, and with no-one at the wheel (yet). A metal 'L' for Learner plate is hanging off the bumper, warning fellow motorists that a learner is in their midst. There doesn't appear to be any significant damage to the bodywork so perhaps this learner was doing ok, only the grille shows signs of age, with a few 'teeth' missing near the bottom. It may just be the photo, but the tyres do not seem to be overly blessed with tread. With less disposable income than is usually the case nowadays, owners often ran their cars on a shoestring, and minor details like bald tyres were not of great concern. Helpfully speeds were much lower than they are today mind, although even at 30mph this car would have poor grip if the road was at all damp.
1939 Hillman Minx
Minx on the cover of a 1939 magazine
Photograph number 2 shows a young lady, probably the learner driver, posing with the Hillman. The car has in fact moved since the first photo was taken, it now being parked further over onto the kerb. The suicide doors are clear to see in this picture, the name given to rear hinged doors. I think the reason was that old bodies tended to flex, especially those with a tired wooden frame within, and it was not unusual for doors to spring open when rounding a bend. Given that seatbelts were unheard of in the 1930s, it was jolly simple to fall out of the car while driving along, especially if you were the passenger with no steering wheel to cling on to. The numberplate looks like it has seen a bit of action, which suggests to me that this photograph probably dates to the years following WW2. I don't know where this Minx was photographed, the registration code NW is a Leeds issue, but whether the car was still in its original registration area when this pic was taken is anyone's guess.
The Minx range first appeared in 1932. A note on the back of the photographs suggest that this example is a 1939 model, and as the styling has moved on from the earliest examples of the model, I suspect this is about right. The Minx name would continue to be used after the war, throughout the 1950s (50s/60s Minx advert) and into the 1970s. Pre- and Post-war Minxes could also be ordered as a smart tourer, as this example of a Minx Coupe de Ville, from the 1940s, demonstrates.
A driver with her Hillman Minx

2. A 1936 Minx seen with Chris Bradley's mother-in-law.

This photograph, sent over by Chris, shows his mother-in-law stood next to her light-coloured car. Members of the oldclassiccar forum identified the car as a c1936 Hillman Minx. Chris agreed to me putting the photo on the main site, so I thought this page would be the best place to put it, so that comparisons can be made with the black example of a 30s Hillman shown higher up this page.
A Hillman Minx from 1936

3. Another 1940s Minx.

Leo kindly emailed this photo over, showing a '40s Hillman Minx with his wife sat in the back as a child, circa 1947. In 1948 a revised Minx would be introduced, photos of which can be found on the 1948 Minx page.
Hillman Minx

4. A postwar Minx, registered in 1948.

Next, a cracking old photo showing a post-war Hillman Minx. Perched on the radiator grille is a lady, one foot resting on an RAC badge, clutching her pet dog tightly. MPJ 320 was registered in Surrey, October 1948. That makes this a late example of the immediate-postwar Phase 1 Minx. It was based heavily on the 1939 Minx, with revised front wings, grille and trim to differentiate the two. Note the fine weather - sunroof open, and wipers pushed down below the screen, suggesting that it had been opened earlier in the day.
A Hillman Minx registered in 1948

5. An early 1930s Minx.

As a comparison with the pre- and post-war Minxes already featured, a slightly blurred photo of an early 1930s Hillman Minx. The Minx is parked at the kerbside outside A. Morgan's Electrical Goods shop. Also note on the pavement, a petrol pump with a swing out boom. The shop sign next door I think says Evan Thomas, which suggests that this could well have been a scene in Wales.
An early 30s Minx saloon car

6. Building a pre-war Minx body.

The next two images are factory shots, numbered 2714 and 2722 respectively. The first shows a body side panel during the production process, and hot off the presses. The aperture for the windscreen, and the top edge on the roof, are still to be dressed up at this point.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A side panel used in the build of a Hillman Minx body
The second photo shows the car's production at a more advanced stage. The main body has been welded together, the trim has been fitted and the glazing installed, ready for the mechanical components to be bolted on. A similar style of photograph, number 2724, features the bare bodyshell of a c1937 Hillman 14, and that can now be found on this page.
The Minx's bodyshell now welded together

7. A 1936 Minx Magnificent.

Tracey emailed over this next photo in August of 2010. Researching her family's history, she was hoping that the car in this photo could be identified. It's a pre-war Hillman Minx, probably a 1936 Minx Magnificent. The registration - CGT 447 - confirms that it started out life in the London area, sometime after September 1935, which ties in nicely with the version of the Minx on display.
Also of interest is the delivery lorry in the background, its driver is seen unloading wooden packing crates from the rear. Two old bicycles can also be seen, propped up against the kerb. Thanks to Tracey for allowing me to use the photo on the site.
1936 Hillman Minx car

8. 1938/1939 Minx.

Keith took time out to email over the following couple of photos, both of which are of the circa 1939 Minx (reg. ATH 713) that his father purchased as their first car. The car at the top of this page caught Keith's attention:
"I was particularly taken by the above photo since this was our "first" car, a 1939 Hillman Minx. I also noticed you mentioned the missing teeth on the front grille. May I suggest that this could have been caused by someone trying to start the engine by using the starting handle but missing the gate and therefore, in their enthusiasm, removing a few of the front grille sections, just a thought, since I can remember trying my hand at this as a youngster. I can still see our Hillman Minx (I think it was a 4 cylinder) being driven away by the car salesman, leaning heavily to the left (the car not the salesman) but that was in 1956. It had been a true and faithful servant for 17 years. Its replacement was a Morris Isis, it lasted 5 years.
A couple of other things I recall is that on a journey to Wales (to Llanelli my father's home town) from Wigan where we lived, it rained very heavily practically the whole way, unfortunately the windscreen wipers did not work. However, Hillman had obviously prepared for this eventuality by allowing the driver to make them work by hand, all they had to do was to twist a knob set on the dash - easy enough - but not for 5 or 6 hours!
The front windscreen could also be wound outwards to allow fresh air, not so good however if your tax disc was not secured properly since, as on one of our hot summer day outings, it promptly fell out onto the road.
Finally the glories of remotely controlled indicators - however a good bang on the car pillar usually did the trick of freeing it to allow it to do its job of showing we were about to turn left or right. It was so tiresome that hand signals were more reliable, trustworthy and less hassle."
The first of Keith's pictures is a head-on view of the Minx, with Keith stood to the left, along with a friend.
Front view of the 1939 Minx
The second photo is a side-on shot of the Minx, with Keith's father stood holding a neighbour's child. This was in the early 1950s. My thanks to Keith for sending these over, as scanning them proved to be a bit more involved than he'd expected.
Side view of the Hillman saloon

9. 1932 Hillman Minx.

Leo kindly forwarded over the following set of Minx photographs, they belong to a friend of his (Emile) who bought the car in 1959. The car (registration PX 70 96) survives to this day in The Netherlands, but its whereabouts are (or rather were) unknown The great news regarding this Hillman is that since these photographs were added in (November 2012), Emile has tracked it down and paid his old car a visit, see further down this page...
The photographs were taken during a holiday to France. The first image was taken at a campsite, note the old caravan in the background.
1932 Minx
Next, a rear view of the pre-war Hillman parked at the side of road, interestingly the Minx is righthand drive. The "NL" country plate can just be seen, affixed to the rear bumper.
Rear view of the car
The Hillman's owner can be seen demonstrating his car's large sunroof in this next shot, the open windscreen offering added ventilation.
The Minx' sunroof open
A fabulous camping scene now sees the Minx parked alongside a small tent and a large collection of camping accessories. A large river - the Seine perhaps - is in the background.
Period camping scene
The final photograph in this set is great, and my favourite of the lot. The owner peers beneath the bonnet of his venerable old Hillman in this scene, pondering its workings, while in the background the towering presence of the Eiffel Tower looks on. A much more modern Renault 4CV speeds by. My thanks to Leo and his friend for permitting me to share these fabulous images on the site.
The Hillman has broken down

More news on this Hillman!

Just two months after publishing these photographs on the site, Leo got in touch again with the news that not only has Emile tracked down the whereabouts of his old car, but he's now been to visit it, and took some photographs of the immaculate car with its former owner. My thanks to Leo and to Emile for providing not just the original photographs, but this very welcome update :-)
Rear shot of the preserved Hillman

10. A 1933/1934 example.

Following on from the 1932 car shown above in some detail, are the two following photos emailed over by Henry of his 1934-registered Minx. Unusually, Henry still has the old-style buff logbook for the Hillman that he owned in the 1950s. This confirms that YJ 1126 was finished in two-tone black and green, was rated at 9.8HP for tax purposes when new, and was registered on 4th January 1934, and therefore built towards the end of 1933. The first photo shows Henry, with a young lady, stood alongside the Hillman saloon. Some of the details from the logbook are also included.
The 1933/1934 Minx
The second of Henry's photos has the car and its owner, stopped at the side of a road. Although a little grainy, older photographs such as this can help identify and date so many cars that are found in these older views, so my thanks to him for sending these over. Recollections sent over by Henry of running this car in the late 1950s, may now be found on this page, within the Motoring Memories section of the site.
Parked at the side of a road

11. Coronation year, with a pre-war Minx.

Henry also turned up this great photo of his grandfather, Mr Alexander Carle, stood with his pre-war Minx in Coronation year, 1953. Registered ESM 275, the car first saw use in Dumfriesshire in late 1938 / early 1939. Thanks for the photos Henry.
1938/1939 Minx seen in 1953

12. Four photos of 1937 Minx reg. ELP 394.

Finding multiple photos, taken over a period of several years and all featuring the same car, doesn't happen all that often. The following four photos though record a single, London-registered, 1937 Minx, namely ELP 394. Each photo is printed on different paper, and clearly they were taken over an appreciable period of time. First up is a three-quarter view of ELP, parked on grass and looking in very tidy condition. The paintwork gleams and the chromework glistens in the sun. Either it was new at the time, or alternatively in very good order and with an appreciative owner. It was a warm day too, if the open sunroof and screen are anything to go by.
1937 Minx
The second photo is dated 5th October 1950. Petrol rationing was still blighting the life of the post-war motorist, so rides out in the countryside were events that all the family would want to share in. The car's parked in a field in this image, and this side view shows the ageing Hillman looking significantly grubbier than in the first photo. The hubcaps no longer glisten, and the paintwork is either filthy, or in dire need of some spit and polish by jove.
Side view, parked
Next, a rear view of the same car. Production of this era of Minx continued following WW2, although one post-war revision was the addition of a curved rear boot, offering extra storage space when compared to the pre-war iteration. An old boy I used to know, sadly no longer with us, told me of how after the war he'd take in pre-war Minxes and graft on the extra hump, to reflect what was at the time the current Minx styling. In this view, a gent in a fine hat stands alongside an equally well-dressed lady. A picnic blanket can just been made out, on the grass behind the car. Time for a cup of tea and a freshy-made sandwich perhaps?
Rear view
Of the four photos in this set, the last is probably my favourite as it shows what was once a typical suburban street scene. Three ladies are with the Minx, two alongside and another in the front passenger seat. By now the chromework is in very poor order, as is the paint - just look at the condition of the paintwork on the front wing, when compared with photo #1. With the supply of new cars severely restricted, creative owners simply had to do whatever it took to keep their older cars in serviceable condition, cosmetics would often take a back seat to more important maintenance tasks. The sun's out, and the position of the windscreen wipers below the screen, suggest that they'd soon be winding out the window (or had recently done so) for added interior ventilation. The rear view interior mirror also appears to have vanished, although the stem is still in place.
Photos such as this often reward closer inspection. A lady on a bicycle speeds towards the camera, while on the opposite side of the road outside a shop rests a motorcycle and sidecar. A bicycle has been left leaning against a wall, just visible to the left of the Minx's roof. I wonder what this particular road looks like today? Sadly no notes are available to give any clues as to the likely location of this post-war scene.
A post-war street scene

13. A crashed 1938 Minx is pulled from a hedgerow.

Jenny sent scans of the following three photos, from a varied collection of original photos that she has from the days when her father owned and ran Welland's Garage, in Burnham-On-Sea. This trio document the recovery of Hillman Minx registration EOK 324 (Birmingham reg., 1938) from a Somerset hedgerow. In the first, the very poorly Minx is shown partially on its side, parked nose-first into the undergrowth. Clearly the car's occupant(s) would have climbed out through one of the nearside doors.
Whether the car ran off the road due to a mechanical fault, driver error, or perhaps after involvement in a shunt, isn't known, but the end result is clear.
The crashed Minx in a hedge
Photograph two shows the recovered Minx after being towed and man-handled into an upright position, back on all four wheels. The bonnet can be seen on the grass close to the car, so it's looking like the old Hillman did not get away lightly with the impact. Another car is parked close to the Hillman, I wonder if it was involved in the accident, or belonged to a fellow motorist who had pulled over to assist. The Minx has been fitted with what look like aftermarket metal and rubber bumper overriders.
Recovering the smashed-up Hillman Minx
Ah yes, the Hillman did suffer badly in the crash, as this head-on view of the badly-mangled saloon reveals. The bumper, grille, and lamps all show evidence of their altercation with the undergrowth. The aforementioned bonnet is nowhere to be seen, what's that sat on top of a Heinz 57 baked beans box? the gearbox? The offside bodywork is knocked about and plastered in mud. Repairable? Possibly, especially given that the supply of new cars was strictly limited to the domestic market in the years following the war, so there's every chance that this mangled Minx did return to the road - so long as that open rear door is just open on the catch, and not disfigured to the extent that it refuses to close.
The Minx no longer shows as being registered, so survives only in sepia photographs now. Note the recovery vehicle parked in the distance. Thanks for those Jenny, it's really interesting to see these less conventional images of post-war motoring!! (From the same source came a couple of photos of an equally-distressed Ford Prefect drophead coupe, which can be seen on this page).
Front view of the crashed Minx
Return to the old transport photos - Page 5.

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