|Headquarters||Ryton-on-Dunsmore, England, United Kingdom|
|Parent||1929 - 1931 Humber|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
1907 - 1929 Hillman Motor Car Company|
1929 - 1931 Humber
1931 - 1967 Rootes Group
1967 - 1979 Chrysler
Hillman is a British car marque created by the Hillman Motor Car Company, founded in 1907. The company was based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Coventry, England. Before 1907 the company had built bicycles. Although the Hillman company was acquired by Humber in 1929, Hillman was used as the primary marque of the Rootes Group from 1931, following its acquisition of Humber, until 1967, when Chrysler in turn took over Rootes. The marque continued to be used under Chrysler until 1976.
The original company named Hillman-Coatalen was founded by William Hillman with the Breton Louis Coatalen as designer and chief engineer. However, Coatalen left in 1909 to join the Sunbeam Car Company and the company was re-registered as the Hillman Motor Car Company in 1910.
The first cars were large featuring a 9.76 litre 6 cylinder engine or a 6.4 litre four. A smaller car, the 9 hp of 1913 with a 1357 cc side valve four cylinder, was the first to sell in significant numbers and was re-introduced after World War 1 as the 11 hp having grown to 1600 cc. The big seller was the 14 hp introduced in 1925, and the only model made until 1928. Following the fashion of the time a Straight Eight of 2.6 litres and Hillman's first use of overhead valves came in 1928 but soon gained a reputation for big end problems.[citation (source) needed]
The Rootes era
The 1930s saw a return to side valves with first the 2.1 (later 2.6) litre 6 cylinder Wizard in 1931 and in 1932 the first car to carry the Minx name. This had a 1185 cc four cylinder and went through a series of updates in body style and construction until the end of World War 2. In 1934 the Wizard was replaced by the 20/70 which lasted until 1936 when the Hawk with a 2576 cc (later 3181 cc) side valve straight six. This car was later rebodied and sold as a Humber.
After the war the Minx was reintroduced with the same 1185 cc engine. It went through a series of models given Phase numbers and the Phase VIII of 1954 saw the arrival of an overhead valve engine. The de-luxe version of this model was called the "Gay" model which shows how words can change and led to the advertising slogan "Go gay, go Hillman". A smaller car, the Husky with van like body and using the old side valve engine was also new for 1954. The floor pan of this model was later to form the basis for the Sunbeam Alpine, Sunbeam also being part of the Rootes empire. A complete departure in 1963 was the Hillman Imp using a Coventry Climax all alloy, 875 cc rear engine and built in a brand new factory in Linwood, Scotland. The location was chosen under government influence to bring employment to a depressed area. A fastback version, the Californian, and an estate re-using the Husky name were also made. A new car called the Hunter was introduced in 1966 with, in 1967, a smaller engined standard version using the old Minx name. These are frequently given their factory code of Arrow but this name was never officially used in marketing.
Chrysler had assumed complete control of Rootes by 1967, and the first new Hillman model whose development was financed by the American giant was the Avenger of 1970.
The Avenger and Hunter ranges were rebadged as Chryslers until 1979 when Chrysler sold its European division to Peugeot. At this point, Hunter production was shelved and the Avenger was rebadged as a Talbot until it was finally withdrawn from sale at the end of 1981.
Hillman's Ryton factory closed in January 2007 having assembled various Peugeot models for the European market for several years.
The French company still owns the rights to the Hillman name.
- Hillman 40 hp 1907–11
- Hillman 25 hp 1909–13
- Hillman 12-15 1909–13
- Hillman 9 hp 1913–15
- Hillman 10 hp 1910
- Hillman 13-25 1914
- Hillman 11 1915–26
- Hillman 10 hp Super Sports 1920–22
- Hillman 14 1925–30
- Hillman 20 1928–31
- Hillman Vortic 1931–32
- Hillman Wizard 65/75 1931–33
- Hillman Minx 1932–66
- Hillman Super Minx 1961–65
- Hillman 16-20 1934–36
- Hillman Hawk 1936–37
- Hillman 80 1936–38
- Hillman 14 1938–40
- Hillman Husky 1954–63
- Hillman Imp 1963–76
- Hillman Gazelle 1966–67 (Australia)
- Hillman Hunter 1966–79
- Hillman Arrow 1967–68 (Australia)
- Hillman Avenger 1970–81
- Hillman Hustler 1971–72 (Australia)
References / sources
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