The UK's online marketplace for classic cars & enthusiasts

Hillman Hunter

From Classic Car Life

Jump to: navigation, search

Rootes Arrow was the manufacturer's name for a range of cars produced under several badge-engineered marques by the Rootes Group (later Chrysler Europe) from 1966 to 1979. It is considered by many to be the last set of true Rootes designs, since it was developed with no influence from Chrysler.

The models sold – not all concurrently – were, alphabetically by marque:

   * Chrysler Hunter
   * Dodge Husky
   * Hillman Arrow, Hillman Break de Chasse, Hillman Hunter and Hillman Minx
   * Humber Sceptre
   * Singer Gazelle and Singer Vogue
   * Sunbeam Alpine and Sunbeam Rapier fastback coupés
   * Sunbeam Arrow, Sunbeam Break de Chasse, Sunbeam Hunter, Sunbeam Minx, Sunbeam Sceptre, and Sunbeam Vogue

The most prolific model within the Arrow range, the Hillman Hunter, was the Coventry-based company's major competitor in the medium family car segment. In its 13-year production run, its UK market contemporaries included the Ford Cortina, Morris Marina and Vauxhall Victor, although model positioning within the range meant competition with some larger cars as well, including the BMC ADO17.

The Arrow range extended to several body styles: saloon, estate, fastback coupé and a pick-up (sold mainly in South Africa as the Dodge Husky). Depending on the model, they had two doors or four doors. Not all marques were represented in all body styles, with the coupés being reserved for Sunbeam.

Models and market positions

In line with Rootes's fondness for badge-engineered derivatives, and keeping alive the names and reputations of the companies it had purchased, the car was simultaneously aimed at several slightly different market segments.

Hillman

The first models, launched on the domestic market in October 1966 with a 1725 cc engine, were given the Hillman Hunter name with the respected name Hillman Minx (for the cheaper 1496 cc version), following in January 1967.[2] Hillman would remain the British group's most prolific marque, as over time some of the lesser brands faded away. The Hunter model name was not in fact entirely new for a Rootes-related car, having been used for one year's production of the Singer SM1500.

Sports models included the Hillman GT, which was based on the Minx trim, but was a model in its own right (not a "Hillman Minx GT" nor "Hillman Hunter GT"). Later came the Hillman Hunter GLS with a specially-tuned twin-carburettor engine (by Holbay) shared with the Sunbeam Rapier H120 model.

The Hunter supported the image of the whole range when one driven by Andrew Cowan won the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon rally.

The range was soon simplified with trim levels: the Hillman Hunter "DeLuxe" or "DL" replaced the Minx, and above that was the Hunter "Super". The "Hillman Hunter GT" eventually replaced the Hillman GT, and the "GLS" was positioned at the top of the range.

A Hillman Break de Chasse was marketed in French-speaking markets, based on the Minx specification. (Also offered was a similar Sunbeam Break de Chasse; "break" being a French term for an estate, and the phrase "break de chasse" translating roughly as shooting-brake.)

testing