Hillman Minx MkVII
ENGINE 1265cc/4-cyl/SV POWER 38bhp@4200rpm TORQUE 58lb ft@2200rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 65mph 0-60MPH 29.7sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 26-33mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed manual MoT Exempt ODOMETER 44,202 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Just the one push on the starter button and the sidevalve unit ticks over readily with the additional oil pressure gauge registering a very healthy 40lb when warm. The clutch is light with a biting point just above halfway, while the column change selects with ease. The drive is surprisingly competent, with far better performance than expected. Drums all round mean that some thought is required when braking. The steering isn’t heavy, even at parking speeds.
The chassis and floorpan have survived rather well; no doubt repairs have been carried out, but there are minimal signs of welding. Both front wings show evidence of local repairs and a few small bubbles are visible for those with a keen eye. Both rear doors also display small signs of previous repairs while the boot lid features a small star-shaped dent. The sills appear solid and the roof has an unfortunate scratch that won’t polish out, but overall the finish is still bright and very presentable. The original grille was heavily pitted so has been de-chromed and finished in a lacquered silver; the bumpers are straight with minimal pitting.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
With its Art Deco dash and bench seats, the inside is visually impressive. The carpets are perfect, as is the seat leather. All the gauges and dials work correctly, and the addition of amps, temperature and oil pressure gauges are sensible and blend in relatively well. The original roof lining is taut, while the current owner has carried out impressive repairs to the Bakelite steering wheel which looks showroom fresh. There is a further switch to operate the trafficators and all the Furflex door seals are new. Access panels have also been provided through the carpets for the brake master cylinder and gearbox dipstick locations.
UNDER THE BONNET
The majority of the current owner’s financial outlay has been here; the bay is practically show standard. With invoices totalling £2773 and a fullydocumented engine rebuild there is ample paperwork, but the trail stops in 2011 with its last MoT. It was recommissioned last year and the engine was stripped before a head skim and full de-coke. The list of new and reconditioned parts is extensive. Every hose and clip has been replaced along with a complete brake system overhaul, with new master and wheel cylinders. Four new period crossply tyres complete things.
THE CCW VIEW
This is a very honest 1950s saloon that is mechanically in top order and easy to drive. While the exterior would benefit from some repairs and paint, it is certainly not urgent. The interior is period-perfect. Ideal for anybody seeking the older classic experience, without going vintage.
The engine has received a lot of care and cash.
Art Deco interior supplemented by additional gauges.