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A Hillman Minx owned by a site visitor.
The basic Minx was first introduced by the Rootes Group in 1948, and continued through various updates for 10 years, until replacement came along in the shape of the first of the Series type. Hillman, who built cars in the city of Coventry, were a big name in the British automobile industry in the 1950s and 1960s, slowly fading away following several mergers in the 1970s.
The advertisements of the day, as with many manufacturers, elongated the car somewhat, to give the model an extra injection of grace, probably with a view to catch the eye of the American market buyer.
The cleverest feature of the Californian was the wind-down side windows in the rear, that dropped out of view and didn't leave a frame, creating a sleek open look.
For real dashing good looks, Hillman produced the Phase VIII Convertible, the adverts showing bright young things enjoying days out in their topless chariot ... "Every day in every way you'll be happier in a Hillman".
If flash and dash weren't your thing then the utilitarian Commer Cob van, and Husky estate car for just £398 plus purchase tax, might be more up your street? The 5cwt estate car Husky offered a reasonable amount of carrying capacity, with folding rear seats adding to its flexibility. Pre-dating the MPV fad of today, the Husky is a rare find today. The van is even more difficult to find in preserved circles now, most having been driven into the ground by penny-pinching small business owners.
Whereas some manufacturers were still producing cars with separate chassis, Hillman's Minx was an early example of unitary construction. The basic styling changed little throughout the car's production. Grilles changed from time to time to keep the design fresh, but the basic shell changed hardly at all. In 1955 an overhead valve (OHV) engine was introduced, replacing the earlier sidevalve unit. This increased the car's top speed from 70mph to nearer 80.
An interesting curiosity is the Japanese made Minx, known as the Isuzu PH10, based on earlier sidevalve (1265cc) powered versions.
Also see: Hillman spare parts section.
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