British Hillman Hunters 1966-1968 (Part 1 of 3)

This is a look at the British Hillman-badged Rootes Arrows built up to mid-1968. During the 1966-1972 period the British models changed very little and could be identified with Australian models, but the upgrades from March 1972 on did not flow onto Australian cars before our production ceased in late 1972. A marketing-driven renaming of British models in October 1970 coincided with the release of our HE series.

The events below took place in parallel with the sales life of the Australian HB series Hillmans which came onto the market in May 1967.


HUNTER Mk 1; On sale from October 1966 as a Super Minx replacement, in sedan form only. The Mk 1 looked similar to our HB Hunter, although it had bumper overriders, wing mirrors and different badges. Under the bonnet it was quite different with the alloy-head engine, alternator, transmission option of manual, manual with overdrive, or automatic. Final drive was 3.70, or 3.89 for cars with overdrive. The Hunter Mk 1 was assembled in New Zealand from 1967.

MINX DELUXE; On sale from January 1967, it looked similar to our HB Arrow. It's mechanical and electrical specification was as per Australian cars, except that manual Minxes had the 1496cc engine. From April, a wagon counterpart called simply the ESTATE went on sale, with a more austere level of interior trim than the Minx, and apparently no automatic option.

Believed to have been named as 'Hunter', it was assembled in South Africa from 1968-1969 (sedan) and 1968 -1971 (wagon). Both were fitted with a locally-made Peugeot engine of 1618cc. The estate went on sale in New Zealand in 1970 as the Hillman Hunter Deluxe Estate, with the 1725cc engine.

HUNTER Mk 2; On sale from September 1967, replacing the Mk 1. It introduced the grille and headlamps as were used on our HC models, and had several other small improvements. The front door quarter lights were now non-opening. Assembled with some local parts in New Zealand up to 1971, and apparently as the Hillman Arrow in South Africa from 1968-1971 (also with the 1618cc Peugeot engine).

UPGRADES; The Lucas 10AC alternator was replaced by the Lucas 16AC type in Hunter Mk 2's from late 1967 and in September 1968, the Hunter gained a standard brake booster. Shortly before this, all models changed from Girling to Lockheed rear brakes and there were some minor electrical equipment changes, too. These two changes flowed on to Australian cars around the change of series from HB to the HC in November 1968.

Next time we'll look at further Hillman developments up to October 1970.


Thanks to Jeff Thomson for this article