FIVE TRI­ALs

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page -

We en­joy the Hill­man Minx Se­ries VI and put it fully to the test

1 DAILY DRIV­ING

A Hill­man Minx Se­ries VI would be per­fectly happy with a spate of every­day use. This au­to­matic ver­sion has more than enough pace to cope with a daily com­mute, its self-chang­ing gears are a use­ful as­set in traf­fic and there’s plenty of ac­cel­er­a­tion. The brakes are good and the con­trols gen­er­ally user-friendly. The cabin is very com­fort­able and the good vis­i­bil­ity and guid­ing tail fins aid park­ing, though the lack of power steer­ing be­comes painfully ob­vi­ous when you’re try­ing to ease into a tight park­ing space or ma­noeu­vre on a nar­row street. Many of the Hill­man’s ri­vals are much worse in this par­tic­u­lar re­spect, though.

2 IN THE SER­VICE BAY

An ex­cel­lent point in favour of later Se­ries VI Minxes is that you don’t have to at­tend to nu­mer­ous greas­ing points ev­ery few thou­sand miles – never an en­joy­able task. The car is sim­plic­ity it­self to work on – we can’t think of any­thing that’s in such a silly place as to make it dif­fi­cult to work on or ex­tract.

En­gines are ex­tremely rugged. The rel­a­tively few Rootes spe­cial­ists are ex­cel­lent, parts are fairly in­ex­pen­sive and you can get most things. The Minx shares com­po­nents with its sis­ter car, the Singer Gazelle, and in many cases the larger Su­per Minx and other Rootes (and later Chrysler UK) cars.

3 ON THE SHOW CIR­CUIT

Aww, what clas­sic car show worth its salt wouldn’t wel­come a good old Hill­man Minx into its ranks? Yeah we know, Peb­ble Beach, Villa d’Este and… no need to go on. There was a time when Hill­man Minxes were on just about ev­ery street – and they were cer­tainly in use well into the early 1980s – so ex­pect many a ‘I used to have one of those’ com­ment at shows and your lo­cal ser­vice sta­tion. The Se­ries V/ VI Minx tends to be a bit of a for­got­ten an­i­mal com­pared to ear­lier Au­dax mod­els, but there’s plenty of fun to be had in point­ing out its many ad­van­tages while peo­ple mar­vel over the fact that it has an au­to­matic gear­box.

4 THE LONG WEEK­END

It would be great to pile your Hill­man Minx up with lug­gage and sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers for a great fam­ily week­end away. This au­to­matic would cer­tainly whisk you there in com­fort and at a de­cent lick, too. There’s plenty of in­te­rior space – later Minxes like this have big­ger doors and the higher roofline im­proves in­te­rior space. The 1725cc car wouldn’t feel too much of a hand­ful on a long run and cruises eas­ily at 70mph with­out fuss in a way that most of its pe­riod ri­vals prob­a­bly couldn’t match. You could hap­pily put your trust in Rootes en­gi­neer­ing – af­ter all, many mil­lions have done so be­fore now.

5 THE B-ROAD BLAST

No-one is go­ing to pre­tend that the Hill­man Minx Se­ries VI au­to­matic is a road-hug­ging sports car, and of course Rootes had the Sun­beam Rapier for more rak­ish buy­ers. How­ever a 1725cc Minx is no slug­gard – a good one should still be good for 80mph, so bound­ing along all day at 70mph should be no prob­lem.

Han­dling and brak­ing are pretty good and al­though there is a quite a bit of un­der­steer, it would only catch you out in your mad­dest mo­ments. Come to think of it, you could for­get that this is a Hill­man Minx and have some fun (within lim­its) on your favourite stretch of wind­ing road.

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