Hillman Husky

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Hillman Husky was a line of British passenger vehicles manufactured between 1954 and 1970 by the Rootes Group, under their Hillman marque.

Original Hillman Husky ("Mark 1")[edit]

Hillman Husky (Minx based)
Hillman husky mark1.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Rootes Group
Production 1954-1957
Body and chassis
Body style three-door estate
Related Hillman Minx
Commer Cob
Powertrain
Engine 1265 cc straight-4
Transmission 4-speed manual[1]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 84 in (2,134 mm)[2]
Length 148 in (3,759 mm)[3]
Width 63.25 in (1,607 mm)[3]
Height 61 in (1,549 mm)[3]
Curb weight 1,904 lb (864 kg)
Chronology
Successor Hillman Husky (Audax based)

The first (or "Mark 1") Hillman Husky, introduced in 1954, was a small estate based on the contemporary "Mark VIII" Hillman Minx. The two-door Husky entered the range alongside an existing Minx estate car, which had a 9-inch (230 mm) longer wheelbase. The Husky was not a hatchback, having instead a single side-hinged rear door. While the new Mark VIII Minx DeLuxe saloon, convertible and "Californian" hardtop used a new OHV 1390 cc engine, the Husky continued to use the older 1265 cc 35 bhp (26 kW) sidevalve engine with single Zenith carburettor which it shared with the Minx "Special" saloon and estate. Unlike the Minx with its column change, the gear lever for the Husky was floor mounted.

There were individual seats in front and a bench seat in the rear which would fold flat to increase load area. The trim material was leathercloth. Both the heater and radio were optional extras. The car was available in blue, grey, green or sand paint (1954 colours).

42,000 of this Husky were sold until the model was replaced in 1958 (a year after the "parent" Minx was itself replaced).[4]

The Motor magazine tested a Husky in 1954 and found it to have a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h) and acceleration from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 24.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 33.4 miles per imperial gallon (8.5 L/100 km; 27.8 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £564 including taxes.[3]

"Audax Series" Hillman Husky[edit]

Hillman Husky (Minx "Audax" based)
Hillman Husky Series I front.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Rootes Group
Production 1958-1965
Body and chassis
Body style three-door estate
Related Hillman Minx
Commer Cob
Powertrain
Engine 1390 cc straight-4
Dimensions
Wheelbase 86 in (2,184 mm)[2]
Length 149.5 in (3,797 mm)
Width 60.5 in (1,537 mm)
Height 60 in (1,524 mm) [5]
Curb weight 2,072 lb (940 kg) (Ser I & III)
(2,100 lb (953 kg) (Ser II)
Chronology
Predecessor Hillman Husky (Minx based)
Successor Hillman Husky (Imp based)

Series I[edit]

In 1958 the new "Series I" Husky appeared. It followed the same formula as its predecessor, but was based on the new "Audax" or "Series" Hillman Minx. This time the engine was the new Minx's 1390 cc overhead-valve unit but de-rated to an output of 51 bhp (38 kW).[5] As before, there was also a four-door "Minx estate", and the Husky had two doors (plus the side-hinged rear door) and a shorter wheelbase (by 8 inches (200 mm)). It was, however 2 inches (51 mm) longer than its predecessor.

Again Commer sold a panel van version of the same vehicle as the Commer Cob.

Series II[edit]

A "Series II" Husky followed in 1960 with a four-speed gearbox, slightly lowered roof, a deeper windscreen, and altered seats. The engine compression ratio was raised to 8:1 and the carburettor changed to a Zenith 30 VIG type.

Testing the Husky in 1960 The Motor magazine recorded a top speed of 73.4 mph (118.1 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) of 26.9 seconds and a fuel consumption of 30.8 miles per imperial gallon (9.2 L/100 km; 25.6 mpg-US). The test car cost £674 including taxes.[5]

Series III[edit]

The final iteration of the "Audax" Hillman Husky, the "Series III", made its debut in 1963, along with a face-lift for the whole Minx range (and its badge-engineered derivatives). The face-lift bodywork changes were applied to the Husky, but the reduction in wheel size from 15-inch (380 mm) to 13-inch (330 mm), which was applied to the saloons, was not applied to the Husky in order to maintain its ground clearance. In addition, whilst the contemporary Series V Minx got front disc brakes, the Husky continued with four-wheel drum brakes. While the 1390 cc engine continued to be used in most markets, for the USA the Husky adopted the 1592 cc engine used in the contemporary Minx Series V.

From 1964 the Husky gained an all-synchromesh gearbox and changes to the clutch and suspension. Production of the Series III ended in 1965.[4]

Hillman Imp van derivative[edit]

Hillman Husky (Imp based)
Hillman Husky front.jpg
Hillman Husky (1967-1970)
Overview
Manufacturer Rootes Group
Production 1967-1970
Body and chassis
Body style three-door estate
Related Hillman Imp
Commer Imp Van
Powertrain
Engine 875 cc straight-4
Transmission 4-speed manual all-synchromesh
Dimensions
Wheelbase 82 in (2,083 mm)[2]
Length 141 in (3,581 mm)
Width 60.25 in (1,530 mm)
Height 58 in (1,473 mm)
Curb weight 1,652 lb (749 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Hillman Husky

No further Huskies were made until a new model based on the Hillman Imp appeared in April 1967.[6] This new Husky shared the Imp's rear-mounted 875 cc overhead camshaft engine, and had slightly better performance than the Imp, being approximately 150 kg lighter.[7] The same engine was also adopted by the Bond 875.

Like the earlier van version, the "Imp estate" was based on the two-door car, with the roof raised by 4 inches (100 mm) to provide a large carrying space above the engine bay, giving the car a square boxy look. The unusually flat roof was reinforced with stiffening ribs and supported on the inside of the vehicle with "synthetic foam noise-deadening material".[6] When compared to the Commer badged panel van from which it derived, the Husky body also had extra stiffening at the rear window apertures.[6]

Loading access was by a vertical top-hinged rear tailgate with the bottom of the opening level with the floor, making it easy to load without stooping down. Sliding windows gave ventilation and a view out from the rear bench seat. The top part of the back seat squab folded forward forming a useful horizontal loading platform with a ribbed rubber surface, and 50 cubic feet (1.4 m3) of capacity. To take the increased load, this was the first Hillman derivative to have radial-ply tyres. It also had uprated rear shock absorbers and rear springs were fitted along with a strengthened rear suspension. These gave the Husky more sporty handling that the standard Imp, and looked surprising when this tall vehicle went quickly round a corner with very little roll.[8]

Once more Commer sold a commercial version of the same car, the van version which was launched in 1965[9] and had the engine in low-compression form.[8]

The last Husky was built in 1970, at which point Chrysler Europe, new owners of Rootes, engaged in a major rationalisation of their products.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist. 6 Nbr 68: between pages 768 & 769. April 1960. 
  2. ^ a b c Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Hillman Husky". The Motor. December 29, 1954. 
  4. ^ a b Robson, G. (2006). A-Z of British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge Books. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Hillman Husky Series 2". The Motor. March 16, 1960. 
  6. ^ a b c "Hillman Husky reborn". Autocar. 126 (nbr 3714): page 24. 22 April 1967. 
  7. ^ Hillman Husky, Autocar 1967 - The Imp Site
  8. ^ a b Hillman Husky 1967-'70 - The Imp Site
  9. ^ Development of the Hillman Imp cars