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Homepage. This page: Classic estates from the Rootes Group - the Hillman Husky, and the Hillman Estate Car.
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Hillman Husky & Estate Car.

This page features photos of the Husky and the Estate Car, station-wagon versions of Hillman's Minx saloon. The first photo shows a late-1950s Hillman Husky competing on the Coronation Safari Rally of 1959. Registered KGD 835, it was car number 30 on the '59 event. Although it was unusual to enter an estate rather than a saloon in a rally, it made a lot of sense using the former due to all the spares that would be carried during the competition. The Husky has obviously been modified to make it suitable for this gruelling East African event. Note the tailored stoneguard fitted over the radiator grille (with a gap for the starter handle), and smaller guards fitted over the headlamps. Extra lamps are fitted to the front, as are over-centre catches to ensure that the bonnet cannot fly up during a high-speed stage. A bug deflector has also been fitted to the bonnet. Visible in the windscreen is an anti-dazzle strip along the uppermost edge, and also a suction hand-held spotlamp, most likely a Helphos.
A Hillman Husky on the Coronation Rally
The Hillman is shown on a ramp, seemingly constructed out of dexion and fitted with wooden planking as a base. Someone has painted "Reduces Friction to a Fraction" on one of the planks - a sponsor's catchphrase perhaps? Can anyone tell me who the driver and navigator were for this event?

2. Hillman Estate Car.

Back to standard road cars now. Below are some interesting old photos sent by Peter (PACresta on the site forum), showing the family's Hillman Estate Car in various locations. The first shows his brother stood alongside their father's car. In the background is another 1950s estate car, a Morris Minor Traveller.
Hillman Estate Car in the 1950s
Two more Hillman photographs
The Hillman Estate Car was one of several vehicles sold by Rootes that were based on the Minx saloon in the 50s. This range included the stylish 2 door Hillman Californian, the Commer Cob van, the Husky Estate/Station Wagon (similar to the Cob, but with extra seats, side windows etc), and the Minx convertible. The final Husky was based on the rear engined Imp saloon.

3. Hillman Estate driving in Africa.

In 2007 Les sent over this interesting little snippet, which shows an earlier Hillman estate car taking part in a 3-car marathon adventure in Africa. Note the garage/general store in the background, and a mixture of old petrol pumps, complete with Shell globes.
"The Hillman Estate was one of three that did a 600 mile treck across Africa to Nairobi in the late 1950s, aside from punctures as seen here, and some overheating the Hillman ran well."
Hillman estate car

4. Hillman Husky.

The Estate Car would go on to be replaced in the Hillman line-up by the Husky model. Les has sent quite a few photos from his collection to me over the last few years, and the following pic shows a young Les sat in front of the family's Hillman Husky, circa 1955.
1950s Hillman Husky estate car

5. Hillman and a boat.

Someone out there is bound to recognise the make and model of the boat being towed by this Hillman Husky surely? The MWH registration series links the Husky to the Bolton area, suggesting registration some time after March 1958. As and when more information relating to the boat arrives, I'll add it in.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Hillman Husky towing a motor boat

6. Caravan holidays with a '56 Husky.

Three photographs now of 1956 Husky registration YPP 597 (Buckinghamshire area code). The first photograph of this neat old car sees it parked at the roadside, with a Ford 100E Prefect (reg. NCL ???) and a splitscreen Morris Minor for company. The first two photographs, printed on the same size of photographic paper, present the Hillman with a roof rack fitted, well laden with suitcases in this first view. In addition to the roof rack, this example has been fitted with two wing mirrors, a large single spotlamp, and an AA member's badge.
Front view of the 1956 Husky
A 1950's campsite is the location of this next photograph, the Hillman at rest alongside a caravan. The peaked headlamp surround of a Ford Consul Mk2 can just be seen through the Hillman's windows, parked a short distance behind.
Parked next to an old caravan
The final photo in this trio is printed on larger, Kodak Velox, paper, and I think is a little later than the two previous shots. The roof rack is no longer fitted, yet once again old caravans can be seen behind the car. The paintwork on the Husky's front panel doesn't look in as good condition, when compared to the other two photos, implying that a few years and several thousand miles may separate this from the earlier pictures.
Two caravans behind the car now

7. Hillman and a Morris parked together.

Judging by the immaculate condition of this next Hillman Husky, reg. OBC 742, it must have been much cherished by its owner(s). This Leicester-registered car dates to 1955, as does the similarly-registered Morris Cowley parked behind it (NBC 541). Were either of the cars' occupants calling into Cissie's gowns and costumes shop I wonder? Other photographs included in this set show people dressed, I think, for a wedding, so outfits may well have been hired from this establishment.
While the Hillman is quite an eye-catching little car, with its two-tone paint scheme and substantial chrome-plated grille, the Morris by comparison looks quite dowdy I think - the latter's purchaser clearly placed value for money over appearance, in choosing the Cowley over the slightly higher-specification Oxford version. Both cars though would make for characterful daily runarounds today, the compact Rootes Group estate would be my choice over Cowley's offering in this instance.
1955 Hillman Husky
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