Series Minx & Husky


Part Two: Minx, Series III - IIIC & Husky, Series II


Minx, Series III
Minx, Series IIIA
Minx, Series IIIB
Minx, Series IIIC
Husky, Series II


Minx, Series III

"Add 7 1/2% more engine size to an extremely popular model, raise the compression ratio slightly for a further increase in medium-speed torque, and then re-gear the final drive to reduce the engine revolutions per mile by 5%: that, in brief, is the Rootes recipe for a 1959-model Hillman Minx such as we have been able to savour on English and Welsh roads, and whilst the result is not meant to be sensational we found it very well to our taste.

So said The Motor, October 1st, 1958.

There were several changes to the Minx in 1959. Chiefly, it was given a new, larger engine - 1494cc - revised gear and axle ratios, new clutch and steering mechanisms and a revised exhaust system. Some alterations were made to the bodywork: a new, wider grille was fitted with the word HILLMAN on the surround above it, and the Hillman 'wings' motif on the front of the bonnet. Headlamp rims were chrome-plated.

The rear of the car also had a slightly different look. Although the shape of the boot and wings remained the same, the position of the boot handle and number plate light were lowered and the format of the number plate itself changed to a rectangle, like the front plate, rather than a square.

The division between the two colours in the two-tone versions was lowered from the line just under the side windows to the trim-line along the doors, and raised to the same level from the bottom edge of the bootlid to the handle.

Inside, the fascia was redesigned to include all the gauges and controls in one panel, including the radio (now standard on the convertible) and (optional) heater. Provision was made for an ammeter, oil-pressure gauge and clock, although these three were available as optional extras.

Despite these improvements, prices remained the same - indeed, the cost of the estate fell from 625 (938.17s, including tax) to 598 (898.7s, including tax) - the same as the convertible.

The cost of some of the optional extras, including tax (but not fitting), was as follows:

Heater, 16 10s
Electric Clock, 5 10s 3d
Screenwash, 1 17s 6d
Ammeter, 15s 6d
Oil Gauge, 2 15s
Overriders, 4 10s
Central gear change, 9
'Manumatic' transmission, 37 10s
Bucket seats, 15

Other items listed as extras at this time included: cold air ventilator, locking fuel cap, second sun vizor, towing bar, exhaust tailpipe extension, wheel rim finishers, wheel discs, second horn, badge bar, starting handle, tool-kit, normal or long-range fog-lamp, whitewall tyres and accelerator pedal rubber.

This model was designated the Series III.

Chassis numbers on this model run from A1900001 (Sept 1958)


[Go to Minx, Series I / Minx, Series II / Husky, Series I / Minx, Series III / Minx, Series IIIA / Minx, Series IIIB / Minx, Series IIIC / Husky, Series II / Minx, Series V / Minx, Series VI / Husky, Series III / The Hillman Page]

[Image: Series IIIA (or IIIB) Hillman Minx]

Minx, Series IIIA

In 1959 further significant changes were made to the Minx. It was numbered not Series IV, but Series IIIA.

Again, there was a change to the grille, which was now wider and more elaborate, incorporating rectangular rather than round side lamps, and the Hillman wings. The HILLMAN letters appeared on the front of the bonnet. The headlamp rims were not chromed, but painted body colour.

[Image: Series IIIA Convertible Minx]

The windscreen was much larger than previous models (21% larger, in fact), a double chromed strip ran along each side of the car, and the division of the colours in two-tone models reverted to the system used in the Series I and II - bonnet and sides in one colour, roof and boot-lid in the other.

At the rear of the car, large, curved wings were added to all models, except the estate, together with large, elliptical tail lamps.

[Image: Series IIIA Convertible Minx]

The floor-mounted gear lever became the standard and the column change an option, and automatic transmission, available on saloons, convertibles and estates, now used Smith's fully automatic 'Easidrive' in place of the semi-automatic 'Manumatic' system which had been used before. This new system employed a flywheel/clutch operated by a magnetised powder, and the Minx became the first automatic in its class.

Again, despite the many improvements, the price of the Minx De Luxe saloon was reduced to 764 14s 2d, including tax; the Special was 722 4s 2d; the convertible 872 7s 6d, and the estate 858 4s 2d. The Series IIIA was avilable in 6 single colour finishes and 6 two-tone, but the two-tone was 14 3s 4d extra, and the 'Easydrive' automatic transmission option another 124 13s 4d.

[Image: Series Estate]

A variation on the Series II was being made by the Japanese at this time, incorporating some features of the IIIA, under the Isuzu name.

"All in all," concluded The Motor, "the 1960 Minx is the anticipated development of its predecessors in a long line of sensible family saloons. Family motoring on the 1 1/2-litre scale today implies performance which would have been considered sporting not very long ago; the latest in transmission design makes it possible to combine semi-sporting performance with very sophisticated effortless driving."

Chassis numbers on this model run from B1000001 (Sept 1959)

[Image: Series IIIA]


[Go to Minx, Series I / Minx, Series II / Husky, Series I / Minx, Series III / Minx, Series IIIA / Minx, Series IIIB / Minx, Series IIIC / Husky, Series II / Minx, Series V / Minx, Series VI / Husky, Series III / The Hillman Page]


Minx, Series IIIB

Few changes were made in 1960, when the Minx was designated the Series IIIB. The front grille was in the same style as the IIIA, but made not from chrome, but anodised aluminium, which had the advantage of not being subject to rust.

At the rear of the car, a hypoid axle replaced the spiral bevel type previously used. 'Easidrive' continued to be an option.

The Special was now renamed the Saloon Standard, and this was to be its last year of production.

Chassis numbers on this model run from B1100001 (Oct 1960)

[Image: Might be a IIIB]


[Go to Minx, Series I / Minx, Series II / Husky, Series I / Minx, Series III / Minx, Series IIIA / Minx, Series IIIB / Minx, Series IIIC / Husky, Series II / Minx, Series V / Minx, Series VI / Husky, Series III / The Hillman Page]

[Image: Series IIIC Convertible Minx]

Minx, Series IIIC

1961 saw the launch of the new Hillman Super Minx, which meant changes for the Series Minx. The new model, the Series IIIC, was essentially the same on the outside, but somewhat plainer in trim and appearance, more remeniscent of the 'Special' (later, 'Standard') - now discontinued - than the 'De Luxe'. It was distinguished from the IIIA and IIIB by a round profile Special/Husky style front bumper and the letters '1600' on the front doors in place of the 'Minx' script, which was moved to the rear of the boot.

The '1600' indicated that the Series Minx now had the 1592cc Super Minx engine, although not as highly tuned. It was priced at 80 less than the Super Minx, with the emphasis on no-nonsense, value-for-money. In fact, there was quite a substantial reduction in the price of the saloon, even allowing for the fact that purchase tax in Britain had gone up. The saloon was down to 727 9s 6d, with tax (down from 764 14s 2d); the convertible 890 16s 5d; and the estate 873 6s 5d. The two-tone paint scheme now cost 14 3s 4d - because of the tax increase, and the 'Easidrive' option 124 13s 4d - also increased because of tax.

However, as The Motor, June 6th 1962, noted:

"Almost everything else which can be bought new at the same price of just over 700 is either slower or less roomy, if not inferior on both these counts. . . Although it is offered at a popular price, the model under review is quite nicely finished, and furnished in a far from austere fashion."

The external chrome trim was simplified, and there were now no carpets in the rear of the car. A slight fascia redesign saw the speedometer move to the right hand side, nearest to the driver. A mileage trip recorder was added.

"On the score of performance," said The Motor, 6th June, 1962, "there is remarkably little to choose between the Minx and the Super Minx, but there was a feeling amongst reviewers at the time that the Series Minx was becoming rather old-fashioned. "Its performance is up to date," said The Motor, "though its riding and handling qualities are not so modern."

Nevertheless, the Series Minx continued to sell, and a final comment from the review in The Motor perhaps anticipates the feeling of many people today (1996):

"If this car's design is not completely modern in every respect, the availability of a starting handle as an optional extra for only 7s 6d will make some motorists look at it in terms of 'the good old days'."

Chassis numbers on this model run from B0200001 (July 1961)


[Go to Minx, Series I / Minx, Series II / Husky, Series I / Minx, Series III / Minx, Series IIIA / Minx, Series IIIB / Minx, Series IIIC / Husky, Series II / Minx, Series V / Minx, Series VI / Husky, Series III / The Hillman Page]


Husky, Series II

[Image: Series II Husky]

Quite a few changes were made to the Husky for the second series in 1960. The output of the engine had been increased in November the previous year by the addition of inlet and exhaust manifolds from the Series IIIA Minx, and a new Zenith 30 VIG carburetter, but for 1960 major changes were made to the body, engine and gearbox. The front window was greatly increased in size, as it had been on the the Series IIIA Minx, as was the window at the back, and the roof-line was lowered by 1 1/4 inches.

Inside, the bucket front seats were set slightly further back to improve leg-room, and greater comfort was provided for passengers in the back. As before, the rear seats tipped forward to increase the luggage space to the proportions of a small van.

Autocar magazine were surprised at the increased performance over the Series I: "It seems remarkable that such improvements as a reduction of 11.4 seconds in the time for acceleration from rest to 60 m.p.h. and an increase in 5 m.p.h. in maximum speed, should have been obtained while using the same basic power unit."

The Series II Husky was available in five single tone and five duo tone colours, with a choice of red or fawn interior trim. A heater was an optional extra, at 17 5s [17.25], as was a clock.

"Affection for the Husky," concludes the Autocar review, "is formed within a very short mileage. Its responsive controls enable it to be driven in an enthusiastic manner . . . Intended for hard work, it is sturdily constructed, yet the need for rugged simplicity has in no way over-ridden the comfort requirements of the driver and his passengers."

Chassis numbers on this model run from B2000001 (March 1960)

[Image: Series II Husky]


[Go to Minx, Series I / Minx, Series II / Husky, Series I / Minx, Series III / Minx, Series IIIA / Minx, Series IIIB / Minx, Series IIIC / Husky, Series II / Minx, Series V / Minx, Series VI / Husky, Series III / The Hillman Page]


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