Hill­man hunter

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

MEL­BOURNE’S Matthew Lam­bert is a Hill­man col­lec­tor. His de­vo­tion to the prod­uct of the ven­er­a­ble English car com­pany, known by the quaint name the Rootes Group, be­gan when his fa­ther took him to a car yard to choose some­thing for his 18th birth­day. Matthew picked a 1968 Hill­man Hunter. Price: $400.

It was a sturdy con­veyance, says Matthew: “I drove it all around Mel­bourne, and even as far as Bris­bane and back, and I was im­pressed.” Things got se­ri­ous in 1995, when he was still at uni­ver­sity. He joined the Rootes Car Club and bought a very tired Hill­man Hunter GT, the same type of car in which An­drew Cowan won the London to Syd­ney marathon rally.

Next came a bright yel­low Hill­man Imp, the small rear en­gine car Rootes de­vel­oped to be a com­peti­tor for the Mini.

An­other key ve­hi­cle in his col­lec­tion is a 1968 Sun­beam Rapier. This car has prob­a­bly gen­er­ated more in­ter­est than any other ve­hi­cle Matthew has owned. Ex­am­ples of this rare car hardly ever come up for sale, here in Aus­tralia or in the UK. It is a two-door hard­top fast­back, and was styled to be a smaller ver­sion of the 1965 Ply­mouth Bar­racuda.

While restor­ing the Rapier Matt acquired a Hill­man Su­per Minx Es­tate, lov­ingly hand-painted in char­coal by an ear­lier owner. There’s also a 1956 Se­ries I Minx four-door sedan and a Se­ries III Minx con­vert­ible – quite rare in Aus­tralia.

His next find was a Se­ries III Minx, which was com­pletely cov­ered with pic­tures of Lady Diana gath­ered from mag­a­zines, and had been part of an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Bird­wood Mo­tor Mu­seum in South Aus­tralia. Matthew re­cently res­cued an­other Hill­man Hunter from the el­e­ments and found an­other Sun­beam Rapier. He owns half of the Rapier con­tin­gent thought to be in Aus­tralia. - By David Bur­rell, on­line edi­tor of Retroau­tos

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