Friday, March 20, 2009

1961 Hillman Minx - Barn Find

I've always had a soft spot for the Hillman Minx. My grandmother worked for Rootes Motors in New York. My uncle had a Hillman Minx, which he sold to my father. My father, though, kept it for a very short time and I was very young, so I don't remember much about it.

When I was in my 20s I bought a Sunbeam Alpine. That got me back into the "Rootes Group world" and I started seeing various Hillmans at car shows. If you squint hard they almost look like shrunken Studebakers, which makes sense as Studebaker designer, Raymond Loewy, helped Rootes with the design.

The Hillman Minx was your basic British sedan. Not very fancy, but functional. Of all the small British sedans imported into the US in the 50s and 60s, the cars from Rootes may have been the most durable. The Lucas electrics were a problem, of course, but the cars were tough and known to run forever if properly maintained.

Hillmans never sold especially well in the US as Rootes never figured out how to set up a truly efficient dealer network. Chrysler took over the Rootes Group in the late sixties (The Plymouth Cricket, sold in this country in the early seventies, was a Rootes product), but when they ran into financial trouble, they sold it, along with the French Simca brand, to Peugeot. Peugeot renamed all of Chrysler Europe's cars "Talbot" and the original Rootes brand names were gone forever. (Peugeot didn't keep the Talbot brand alive for very long, either.)

The Hillman Minx being offered on eBay is remarkable to two reasons:
1) It has a claimed 30,000 miles on it.
2) It's complete.
Hillman body, interior and trim parts are becoming very difficult to find and this car appears to have it all. There is a bit of rust on the lower fenders, but nothing serious. A runner, the seller has started the car and driven it "300 miles" in the last few weeks.

With just a few weekends worth of work, this Hillman could become a very nice car, one that would get plenty of attention at any car show.

Click here to find the eBay listing for this Hillman.

Click here to find the "What's a Hillman" site, an enthusiast site that offers all sorts of good information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It looks like the front left fender and door have been repainted.