Naturally, you might already be thinking that you’re about to learn the secrets of sartorial style from yours truly. I’m sorry to have to let you down, but I’m not yet prepared to divulge the key to dressing for success, save to say that one can tell a lot about a person by their footwear.
No, this is about instinct, in this case for catching a whiff on the air for emerging trends and my prediction is that this summer, we’ll all be looking amazing in… Hillmans.
Well, nothing more than that recently I keep on noticing a lot of rather tasty examples, many have which have been modified to some extent.
Within a very few days, a few former Rootes Group products have caught my eye.
Firstly, I developed a hankering for a loved car lost when viewing a Hillman Imp at Manor Park Classics. Way back, in 2007-8, my first project car for Practical Classics magazine was a Hillman Imp, which ended up with a fuel-injected Ben Boult built engine, front disc brakes, a roll cage and Monte-Carlo spec’ springs. Apart from the multiple layers of rusting steel rear of the ‘B’ posts, standard for an Imp, the whole project was relatively easy, thanks to a little help from some folks who have become long-term friends. It went like stink, but it was one of the cars that I had to sell to make ends meet early on in my workshop days.
Next, a couple of ‘Arrow’ type cars have blipped up on the radar. I noticed another friend making enquiries regarding Sunbeam Vogues, not a combination I’d heard of, but it started me looking at these relatively light in weight cars in a slightly different light, especially if there’s a lovely ‘Holbay’ 1725cc engine nestling under the bonnet.
A browse through this week’s Classic Car Weekly newspaper saw my eyes drawn toward a very fine-looking Hillman GT, another of the ‘Arrow’ group of cars. It looked like it offered the promise of swift (in period) motoring just standing there. The promise of a hot and sticky vinyl interior in summer made it somehow more appealing.
But the cherry on the top of a rather fine Hillman confection was my Facebook friend, Satoshi Kondo’s fast road prepared, 1964 Minx Series V, a type that has never turned my head, until now. The single picture of it in action looked great and its rarity only served to give it greater appeal.
Think; there are still plenty of Hillmans out there. Granted, the market is niche, but should you fancy some 1950s petite-Americana styling, 1960s Sta-Press crispness, or 1970s flare, prices are still relatively affordable. For how long, I’ve no idea and ditto to the question of investment potential. However, one thing that I do know is that there’s a lot of fun waiting to be had in examples from this great lost marque and that’s worth a few quid in itself.
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