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.