In 1985, I owned a "farmette", with two garages so it was natural to think about filling the second garage. Dug up the old brochures and pictures of my Hillman, and started looking in earnest. The search included newspapers, collectors magazines and used car rags. Then the leg work began, searching junkyards throughout Maryland and nearby Pennsylvania and Virginia. All this, despite having not even seen one anywhere for at least 20 years. The closest I came to finding a Hillman was one salvage yard deep in the backroads of Pennsylvania. Some of the better examples of what was there are shown below;
1965 Sunbeam "Husky"
1961 Hillman Super Minx Automatic,
It was really exciting to finally find ANY Hillman remnants, but discouraging to see the sill and undercarriage rot caused by ground contact and open windows making these cars pretty unsalvagable.
The Temporary Subsitute:
After months of continuing my search, an interesting ad for a 1974 MGB Roadster for $250.00 appeared in the local newspaper, so I went to take a look. It was surrounded with weeds, sitting on four flat tires with motor in semi dismantled condition. Still, all the parts were there, so I bought it. Later it arrived by flatbed, taking months to reassemble into what you see below:
|Originally a "chrome bumper" car, the front end of this 1974 MGB Roadster had been replaced with 1976 fenders, hood, and bumpers from a donor car early in it's life due to a collision. The give away or it's ancestry is in the lower stance, even after shock replacement and new springs. The yellow paint is a respray over a dark green factory color. The rubber bumpers were retained probably due to the expense and difficulty in getting replacements, so the tail lights and rear bumper were added from the donor to balance the look. The lower black paint was added after sill work, but I liked the way it made the car seem "thinner", and matched the bumpers somewhat.|
I thank Brown & Gammons, U.K. for their assistance in getting proper parts for this car, and shipping them quickly at a time before the popularity of the Internet.
|Once the motor and carburettors were reassembled, battery charged and liquids added, it started on the first try, but a lingering hesitation in the idle was hard to locate. Lessons on fine tuning SU's led to a solution - needle valve replacement and adjustment. It was great fun doing 80 mph in this car routinely, and the cornering abilities really amazed me. Still, it was not the Hillman I really wanted, so was sold to a neighbor just a year after these photos were taken. The hardtop was a rare factory original found fully intact at a local junkyard for only $50 and resprayed.|