As the principal Rootes Group 'marque' going into the Sixties, Hillman focused their attentions on the rapidly growing medium-capacity saloon car market.

Hillman's choice of vehicles was, as ever, thin on the ground, based on a variety of Minx saloon variants as well as the Husky Estate.

In 1960 the current version of the Minx was the Mark IIIA four-door saloon, with its distinctive wrap-around rear screen and slight turn-over on the small tail fins.

The Minx IIIA was powered by a 1494-cc four-cylinder overhead valve engine, which with its Zenith W19 carburettor was capable of generating a healthy 56.5 bhp gross.

Hillman tended to offer a wide variety of permutations on the same theme, and this was the case with the IIIA Minx that came as a Standard, 'Special,' De Luxe in saloon, convertible and estate car versions.

Even early on in the Sixties, despite demand for new cars reaching unprecedented peaks, it was becoming evident that the Rootes Group was lagging behind.

The situation at Hillman was not helped by a long and crippling strike the group at the group’s body plant in 1962 that paralysed production with a terrible knock-on effect on the group finances.

At that point, the Rootes Group were in the advanced stages of building a massive new plant in Paisley, Scotland to produce the Hillman Imp.

The Imp was the Rootes Group’s version of the Super Mini, which they hoped would help to restore their fortunes.

As many industry observers predicted, the vast investment involved in establishing the plant and the lack of income caused by the strike turned out to be too much of a burden to bear.

In financial meltdown Rootes reached out to the massive Chrysler group who took a significant (though not controlling) financial stake to Chrysler of the USA.

Before the takeover became final, Hillman succeeded in developing two new family car ranges — the Hunter and Minx of 1966/67, and the all-new Avenger of 1970.

With these two primary ranges, the small Imp and the medium-sized Hunter models and their variants, the Hillman section of the Rootes Group went into the last year of the Sixties.

During this period, the Rootes Group began to experience financial problems, that became so severe that by mid-January 1967, they had no option but to seek protection through a merger with the American Chrysler Corporation who had become closely linked over the previous few years.

The American auto giant wasted little time in taking full control, from 1970 Rootes became Chrysler United Kingdom.

Hillman as a brand would then carry on as Chrysler UK's entry-level marque until 1977 when the Chrysler name took gradual precedence.

Back to the homepage- and don't spare the horsepower.