Little Minx! Rot stops play
Nick discovers that his new Hillman is hiding a multitude of rusty horrors
Right. I decided that it was time to remove the rose-tinted spectacles and have a proper look underneath the Hillman Minx I recently bought on impulse, sight-unseen.
Obviously I knew about the ragged rear wheelarches and bubbles on the wings but a careful look under the car confirmed my worst fears – there’s some nasty corrosion on the front and rear chassis rails/outriggers and a hole in the boot, probably as a result of the 1960s/early 1970s’ bracing Skegness sea air. In addition, it turns out that the nearside sill was carefully riveted on, probably in the early 1970s – a fine example of the urban craftsmanship that predominated at the time. If I were an eternal glass-half-full optimist, I might point out that the floorpans seem to be reasonably sound and that the car is probably repairable. I have done some welding before and would love to have another go, but can’t see that happening in addition to my various other tireless toils.
It has been suggested to me by a couple of people – who I was subsequently forced to chastise with an authentic 1950s’ knuckleduster – that the car could be useful for spares, not least its good interior. It would certainly make more sense to have a serviceable Rootesmobile rather than keep this one for years merely as something to sit in and feel sorry for.
Anyone interested? If you’re the sort of optimistic soul – one who thinks that our aforementioned water glass isn’t just half full, but possibly a medieval tankard once owned by Richard the Lionheart – then you might like to know that there’s a tin of Valrex Sahara Beige paint in the boot. You have to take comfort wherever possible in these situations!
Could having a reasonable interior save the Minx? At least there’s some spare paint for touching in where needed!
Larkin puts on a brave face, before repeatedly kicking himself. NICK LARKIN EDITOR-AT-LARGE 1960 HILLMAN MINX
Wheelarch rot is extensive too. Ah, quite a lot of rust, then. Not good.