Hillman Minx

Hillman Minx

Infobox Automobile

name = Hillman Minx
manufacturer = Rootes Group
production = 1932-1970
predecessor = Hillman 14
successor = Hillman Hunter
Hillman Avenger
body_style = saloon
standard estate
short wheelbase estate
van derivative
engine =
transmission =
length =
width =
height =
weight =
wheelbase =
track =
related = Rootes Audax
designer =

The Hillman Minx was a series of middle-sized family cars produced under the Hillman marque by the Rootes Group between 1932 and 1970. There have been many versions of the Minx over the years, as well as various badge-engineered versions which were sold under the Humber, Singer, and Sunbeam marques.

For most of the 1960s the Minx and its derivatives were the greatest-volume sellers of the "Audax" family of cars from Rootes which also included the Singer Gazelle and Sunbeam Rapier. The final version of the Minx was the "New Minx" launched in 1967, which was part of the "Arrow" family and essentially a basic version of the Hillman Hunter. Generally the Minx was available in four-door saloon and estate forms, with a 1496 cc engine.

The Hillman Super Minx was a slightly larger model offered during the Audax era.

Throughout the life of the Minx there was usually an estate version, and for some time there was also a short-wheelbase estate, the Hillman Husky, and additionally a van derivative of that, known as the Commer Cob.

The Minx brand was revived briefly – along with the "Rapier" model name, as applied to the Sunbeam Rapier version of the Audax family – as a special edition late in the life of the Talbot Alpine / Talbot Solara cars, produced by Chrysler Europe after the demise of the Rootes Group.

Pre WWII Minx

The original Minx was introduced in 1932 with a pressed steel body on separate chassis and 30 bhp 1185 cc engine. It was upgraded with a four speed transmission in 1934 and a styling upgrade, most noticeably a slightly V-shaped grille. For 1935 synchromesh was added but the range was otherwise similar.

The 1936 model got a new name, the Minx Magnificent, and a restyle with much more rounded body. The chassis was stiffened and the engine moved forwards to give more passenger room. A Commer badged estate car was added to the range.

The final pre-war model was the 1938 New Minx. There were no more factory built tourers but some were made by Carbodies. The car was visually similar to the Magnificent but now access to the luggage boot (trunk) was external, that on the predecessor was accessed by folding down the rear seat.

Wartime Minx

During the war, British car companies produced simple Utility load carriers, the "Car, Light Utility" or "Tilly". For Hillman it was the Hillman 10HP a Minx chassis with two person cab and covered load area behind. The basic saloon was also produced for military and essential civilian use from 1940-1944.

Postwar Minx

The Minx sold between 1945 and 1947 had the same 1185 cc side valve engine, the same wheel base and virtually the same shape as the prewar Minx. This postwar Minx became known as the Minx Mark I (or Minx Phase I). Between 1947 and 1948 a modified version, known as the Minx Mark II was offered.

A much more modern looking Minx, badged as the Mark III, was sold from 1948. This was the first Minx with a protruding boot / trunk which effectively respected the "three box" saloon style by then replacing the 'flat back' look, inherited from models that had made their debut in the 1930s. Three different body styles were offered initially, these being saloon, estate car and 'drop-head coupé' (convertible). Beneath the metal, however, and apart from updated front suspension, little had changed: the Mark III retained the 1185 c side-valve engine of its predecessor. Claimed power output, at convert|35|bhp|1|abbr=on, was also unchanged. However, in 1949 the old engine was bored out and compression ratio increased, for the Mark IV Minx, to 1265 cc, and power output increased by 7% to 37.5 bhp. A Mark IV saloon tested by The Motor magazine in 1949 had a top speed of convert|67|mph|km/h|abbr=on and could accelerate from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 39.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of convert|32.1|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus was recorded. The test car cost £505 including taxes, the price including radio (£36), over-riders (£5) and heater (£18). cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The Hillman Minx Road Test| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = 1949]

Further minor facelifts followed. In 1953, with the Minx Mark VI, a fourth body variation was added, being the so-called Hillman Minx Californian, a two door hard-top coupé with, slightly unusually, a b-pillar that wound down out of sight along with rear side window to give an unbroken window line when all windows were fully opened: the rear window assembly was of a three piece wrap-around formcite book |last=Gloor |first=Roger |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Alle Autos der 50er Jahre 1945 - 1960|year=1. Auflage 2007 |publisher=Motorbuch Verlag |location=Stuttgart |id=ISBN 978-3-613-02808-1] . The wheel base and overall length of the car remained the same as those of the four door saloon and convertible permutations. For the Mark VIII, in 1954 a new ohv 1390 cc engine was installed. This was the engine which, two years later, would be carried over into the first of the new "Audax series" Minxes.

Audax design Hillman Minx (Series I to Series VI, 1956–67)

The Audax body was designed by the Rootes Group, but helped by the Raymond Loewy design organisation, who were involved in the design of Studebaker coupés in 1953. The car went through a series of annual face lifts each given a Series number, replacing the Phase number used on the previous Minxes; there was no Series IV. The engine was new for the model with overhead valves — a first for a post war Hillman. Over the years the engine grew from 1390 cc (in the Series I and II) to 1725 cc in the Series VI. A variety of manual transmissions, with column or floor change, and automatic transmissions were offered. For the automatic version, the Series I and II used a Lockheed Manumatic two pedal system (really only a semi-automatic), the Phase III a Smiths Easidrive and the V/VI a Borg Warner.

A Series III deLuxe saloon with 1494 cc engine tested by the British magazine "The Motor" in 1958 had a top speed of convert|76.9|mph|km/h|abbr=on and could accelerate from 0-convert|60|mph|km/h|abbr=on in 25.4 seconds. A fuel consumption of convert|31.8|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus was recorded. The test car cost £794 including taxes of £265. cite journal | authorlink = Unsigned |title = The Hillman Minx Series III| journal =The Motor| volume = | pages = | date = October 1 1958]

There were Singer Gazelle and Sunbeam Rapier variants of all these Hillman Minx models, and the names were again used on derivatives in the later Rootes Arrow range. Some models were re-badged in certain markets, with the Sunbeam and Humber marques used for some exports.

Minx Cabriolets



External links

* [http://www.rootes-chrysler.co.uk/ Rootes-Chrysler website]

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