pseudo sporting machinery. All that visible from the outside was a black radiator grille, Rostyle wheels and er, GLS badges. And there was some nice wood and fabric inside.
The GLS received some mixed reviews, not least because Chrysler’s upgrades to enable the car to cope with this awesome performance largely centred around an extra leaf spring in the rear suspension.
Motor praised the ‘excellent performance, excellent gearchange and overdrive,’ and said the car was ‘well-equipped with a beautiful interior finish’ but didn’t like the poor rode, excessive oversteer in the wet and the GLS being ‘noisy when extended’.
Autocar thought the car had fair handling but a tramp-prone back axle, good brakes and a rorty engine. It was excellent value for money and gave ‘pretty exciting performance without looking unduly garish’, but unfortunately concluded that the magazine would expect ‘some attention to suspension and refinement before being able to recommend the car wholeheartedly’.
Even the owner of our Stratford car, Les Oliver, admitted the GLS was not particularly happy about going round corners. He has, however owned his joyful 1972 Inca Yellow example since 1974 and has never come unstuck on a bend. The car cost £900.
‘I wanted a GLS after reading in a magazine that it was faster than an MGB, and after seeing Rootes’ development engineer Bernard Unett campaign a GLS at Mallory Park,’ he says. His Hunter was restored over 1991-2, Les doing everything apart from the paint. It has now travelled almost 160,000 miles, all but 17,000 of those with Les, who is GLS registrar of the Hillman Owners’ Club. ‘We’ve tracked down 38 examples from the 8000 built from 1972-1976, though there must be others out there.’ We hope there’s not going to be one less Hunter after Les hands the GLS’ keys over to us for the Stratford tour. Armed with the ‘74 brochure we begin at Shakespeare’s birthplace, where Chrysler put a Grasshopper Green Hunter GLS in front of the place where the Bard was born in 1564. We find in the introduction to Chrysler’s leaflet that the company felt Stratford to be ‘familiar, full of tradition and well-loved – just like the Hunter’. Er right.
We’ve had special permission to park here and soon half the camera-owning populace of Japan has landed, although it’s an American tourist who proclaims the car is a Datsun, just like the one she had back in the United States.
It was much harder than it looked for photographer and co-defendant in this venture Richard Gunn to put the car in exactly the same position as it was in ‘74. Even the road camber had changed following pedestrianisation.
A quick look around the house revealed, much to the delight of Richard, a copy of the First Folio, the 1623 collection of Shakespeare’s work, a jug that probably belonged to William,