Hillman is a British automotive brand created by the Hillman Motor Car Company, founded in 1907. The company was based in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, near Coventry, England. By 1907 the company had built bicycles. Although the company was acquired by Hillman, Humber, in 1929, Hillman was used as the main brand of the Rootes Group in 1931, following the acquisition of Humber, until 1967, when Chrysler, in turn took over Rootes. The brand continues to be used at Chrysler until 1976.
The original company named Hillman-Coatalen was founded by William Hillman with Coatalen Louis Breton as chief designer and engineer. However, Coatalen left in 1909 to join the Sunbeam car company and the company re-registered as the Hillman Motor Car Company in 1910.
The first cars were large 9.76 liters with a 6-cylinder or 6.4-liter four. A smaller car, 9 HP, 1913, with a 1357 cc side valve four cylinder engine, was the first to sell a significant number and was re-introduced after World War 1, HP's 11, having grown to 1600 cc. The big seller was the 14 HP introduced in 1925, and the only model that did until 1928. After the fashion of the time a Straight Eight of 2.6 liters and the first use of overhead valves Hillman arrived in 1928, but soon earned a reputation for high-end problems.
The Rootes era
In 1928, Hillman took over the Humber and both were acquired by Rootes in 1931. Hillman became the dominant brand in the Rootes empire, along the Humber, Sunbeam and Singer.
The 1930s saw the return to the valves on the side of the first 2.1 (over 2.6) liter 6-cylinder Assistant in 1931 and in 1932 the first car to bear the name Minx. This had a 1185 cc four-cylinder and passed through a series of changes 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 Falcon with 2576 cc (later 3181 cc) side-valve straight six. This car was later sold as a rebodied and Humber.
After the war the Minx was reintroduced with the same 1185 cc engine. She went through a series of models given Phase numbers and Phase VIII of 1954 saw the arrival of an engine overhead valve. The Deluxe version of this model was called the "Gay" model that 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 the old side-valve engine is also new for 1954. The floor of this model was later to form the basis for the Sunbeam Alpine, Sunbeam also be part of the Rootes empire. A total departure in 1963 was the Hillman Imp using a Coventry Climax all alloy, 875 cc rear engine and built a new factory in Linwood, Scotland. The site was chosen under the influence of the government to bring employment to a depressed area. A fastback version, the Californian, and a new state with the name of Husky also made. A new car called the Hunter was introduced in 1966, in 1967, a standard version with a smaller engine with the old name Minx. These are often due to its factory code of the arrow, but this name was never officially used in marketing.
Chrysler had assumed complete control of Rootes in 1967, and the first model of Hillman, whose development was funded by the American giant was the avenger of 1970.
1972 Hillman Avenger Saloon
The Avenger and Hunter ranges were renamed Chrysler Chrysler until 1979 when it sold its European division to Peugeot. At this point, Hunter's production was shelved and the Avenger was renamed Talbot, until it was finally withdrawn from sale in late 1981.
Hillman Ryton factory closed in January 2007 assembling various Peugeot models for the European market.
The French company still owns the rights to the name of Hillman.
Click here for more information on the History, Design and Meaning of Car Logos The logos are registered trademarks. Use of the logo here does not imply endorsement of the organization by this site.