Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Hillman Company History

Published: 24th Mar 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!


Hillman Archive

Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

In Coventry a century ago the first cars to bear the Hillman name were being produced as Hillman-Coatalens, since Louis Coatalen designed the first examples. Early production included lusty four-cylinder 6.4-litre and six-cylinder 9.7-litre models, but the 9hp Hillman (built until 1925) was sold in much greater numbers, and sports versions were competitive in motor-sport. The larger Hillman Fourteen arrived in 1926. Production was increased following the acquisition of Hillman, Humber and Commer by William and Reginald Rootes, who were seeking to build cars rather than just selling them. Their newly formed ‘Rootes Group’ was to become a major player among British motoring manufacturers back in the 1930s. The first mass-produced, family Hillman model was the 10hp, four cylinder sidevalve Minx, introduced in 1932. This model line continued through the following four decades.

The 1933 Aero Minx was an attractive sporting version from whichthe Talbot and Sunbeam-Talbot Tens were developed. After the Second World War (during which the Rootes Group contributed significantly to Britain’s War effort), the Minx was gradually modernised, eventually gaining fully monocoque bodywork, more powerful overhead valve engines and some adventurous styling. From 1962 the Super Minx was an additional model which provided more room for families than the ‘normal’ Minx, and in 1963 Hillman joined the battle for sales of small cars with the arrival of the revolutionary rear-engined Imp, built at Linwood in Scotland.

Advanced features included an overhead camshaft engine, an all synchromesh gearbox and all-round independent suspension. On paper it was as advanced and versatile - as the Mini but never achieved anything like the same success. The new ‘Arrow’ range 1725cc Hunter arrived in 1967, providing generous accommodation and good performance. This was the year that the American Chrysler car-maker finally took full control of the ailing British concern. With the fleet market becoming ever crucial the Rootes group needed a smaller saloon to compete with the likes of the Ford Escort and Morris Marina. The stylish mid-range Avenger saloon was introduced in February 1970, offering buyers in the family saloon market excellent handling and lively performance. The GT was fair but the Tiger versions were especially good and are now sought-after. Avenger production moved to Linwood in the late summer of 1976 (as the Imp was now no longer produced), and the much-revised versions were re-named Chryslers (the Chrysler concern had taken over the Rootes Group in 1968).

From 1977 the old Hunters were also designated as Chryslers. Talbot badging took over from1979 (after the takeover of Chrysler by Peugeot Talbot), and sadly for Hillman enthusiasts the Avenger disappeared (along with the Linwood factory) early in 1981. In the meantime, in ‘77 the compact, Avenger-based rear wheel drive Chrysler (later Talbot) Sunbeam hatchback had been introduced. The Lotus version has always been revered but along with the Simca-derived Alpine and Horizon ranges that signaled the end of one of Coventry’s finest manufacturers.

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%