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34 Hill­man Minx 35 Rover 200 BRM LE 35 Land Rover Se­ries IIA

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - NICK LARKIN ED­I­TOR-AT-LARGE

OWNED SINCE Novem­ber 2016 RE­CENT MILEAGE 0 TO­TAL MILEAGE 51,018 LAT­EST COSTS £2.50 (ice for pun­ish­ment bath)

I ’m left reel­ing, both by my own im­mense stu­pid­ity and by one of the most as­ton­ish­ing co­in­ci­dences of my en­tire ex­is­tence.

You may re­call that I un­ex­pect­edly sat­is­fied my 40-year urge for a Hill­man Minx Se­ries III in ‘cof­fee and cream’ by stupidly press­ing the ‘ bid’ but­ton on a cer­tain well-known in­ter­net auc­tion site. Al­though there were lots of bids and cou­ple of days to go, I emerged er, vic­to­ri­ous. How­ever, the car, which had been in a Skeg­ness garage since 1973, re­ally needs more body­work re­pairs than I could ever dare to at­tempt. So far, at­tempts to add to the ve­hi­cle to the lo­cal car col­lec­tion of the Lin­colnshire Vin­tage Ve­hi­cle So­ci­ety have come to noth­ing. Do feel free to re­mind them.

I have al­ways loved Rootes cars of the pre-Ar­row era, but just to re­cap briefly, this Minx is ex­actly the same as that once owned by a petrol sta­tion at­ten­dant at L&P Mo­tors in Hartle­pool, which I used to see dur­ing the mid-1970s on walks with my dad. I used to gur­gle loudly from my Sil­ver Cross pram at the sight of it. Once, I was al­lowed to sit in the car and thought it was the most won­der­ful ve­hi­cle on earth, much to the com­plete be­muse­ment of ev­ery­one around me who seemed united in the opin­ion that it was a fes­ter­ing heap. The owner had paid just £25 for the Hill­man but a sug­ges­tion to Mr Larkin Snr that he snap it up for £50 did not make his beloved off­spring pop­u­lar.

In bit­ter 2017, I in­tro­duced CCW ed­i­tor David Simis­ter to the un­for­tu­nate Rootes­mo­bile and he looked ex­tremely at home in it. He made some favourable com­ments too, though did de­scribe the car as be­ing ‘a lit­tle bod­ily chal­lenged’. Or some­thing like that, any­way.

I had a long sit in the Minx – the in­te­rior is ex­cel­lent – and the years slipped away, back to the 1970s, when a very young me dropped his Far­ley’s rusk in Minx ad­mi­ra­tion.

There is so much at­ten­tion to de­tail in this car, from the lovely twotone door trims to the mag­nif­i­cent Rootes badge on the dash. The door closes with a won­der­ful boom­ing clunk too, though open­ing the ash­tray to find con­tents that must have been there since 1973 or ear­lier was a bit of a shock.

A greater shock was to come, how­ever. The other day, I was leaf­ing through a dealer’s stock of pic­tures hop­ing to find some­thing in­ter­est­ing for CCW’s The Way We Were sec­tion, when my jaw dropped. There was a photo of Church Street in West Hartle­pool taken on 30 July 1966. The mag­nif­i­cent double-decked ve­hi­cle in the fore­ground is a 1953 Roe-bod­ied Daim­ler CVG6 of West Hartle­pool Cor­po­ra­tion, and around the time of my Hill­man ad­ven­tures I had tried des­per­ately – but un­suc­cess­fully, more’s the pity – to con­vince the adult world that the sis­ter bus to this ve­hi­cle, AEF 593, should not be scrapped.

But look at the Minx next to it. I’m sure this lo­cally reg­is­tered car is the very same one that I would later fall in love with dur­ing the 1970s. In­ter­ested in mak­ing an of­fer on the Minx? Tel: 07950 643065 or email nick­larkin721@bt­in­ter­net.com

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