Driven – Myf’s Hillman Minx Estate

This is Myf, and this is her Hillman Minx Estate.

When you think of the type of people that usually own Hillman Minx’s, you’re mentally describing a character who is probably the exact polar opposite of Myf. But that’s because Myf isn’t your typical Minx owner.

Myf isn’t a car nut, in fact she doesn’t even drive. But one day she saw the Minx for sale and couldn’t resist its cuteness and old world charm. She just absolutely had to have it, and cherishes it like any classic car enthusiast would. Every so often one of her loyal friends comes over and they both take the Minx for a drive, just for kicks.

So one rainy Saturday morning I was invited along for one of these drives, and spent a couple of hours enjoying a side of motoring I usually pass by without a glance. For once there were no large carburettors, no roll bars and no door to door racing, just three of us enjoying an old classic at a sedate speed. 

And it was a completely different world. No seatbelts, a bench seat and a four speed column shift that didn’t always like going back down through the gears was our fun. You really get a sense of nostalgia driving something like this as it takes you back to simpler times when cars just needed to look cool.

This series of Minx has a little more style than many of its post-war British contemporaries, and this can be traced directly to its designer – the famous Raymond Loewy. An Industrial Designer by trade, Raymond Loewy was one of the most prolific designers of the twentieth century and the first of the ‘superstar designers’ (paving the way for people like Marc Newson), who applied their hands to anything and everything. Products, graphics, interiors. Loewy did it all.

The Studebaker Avanti and Commander, the Shell and BP logos, the famous Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines, the iconic Pennsylvania Railroad S1 & S2 steam locomotives, the graphically brilliant Lucky Strike cigarette packaging, and even the livery of Air Force One. All of these are the work of Loewy.

Myf’s Minx is a genuine timewarp car, bought from a deceased estate. I suspect it was a one owner car from new, and after taking delivery Myf gradually found artefacts from an entire life within the car. It’s with a tinge of sadness that we learnt about the previous owner.

Handmade service stickers on the quarter windows.

BP should consider offering these stickers to its captains in the Gulf of Mexico.

A period newspaper – shock! Mass in a pub!

A receipt for timber dated 28/10/1966.

An owners manual, a shopping list (need to get some lard) and a drive-in movie ticket.

And none of these keys are for the car. We thought about returning to the address on the reverse side, but the building no longer exists.

This isn’t just an old Minx, it’s an important part of someone’s life. The happiness, the sadness. Somebody would have driven this home brand new, showing it off to friends and family. It may have carried kids home for the first time from hospital, and then to school on the first day. It may have been driven across the country on family road trips, or on the last commute home from work after retirement. And I’d like to think that my fumbling as I learnt how to use a column shift is just another tale that this car now possess, hopefully yet another of many to come.

Thanks to Myf for allowing a complete stranger to drive her beloved Minx, and to Che for teeing the opportunity up.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Tom Gilbert September 22, 2012 Reply

    What a lovely little car and great person for letting you on board.

  2. John November 2, 2012 Reply

    Wishfully, the world would be as nice as the lucky car and the charming owner.

  3. Cliff Blakey November 2, 2012 Reply

    Love your car and the story. I have a 1957 Hillman Husky and know what you mean. Brings back memories.
    Cliff

  4. Brian Vogt November 2, 2012 Reply

    This is a really nice story. I learnt to drive in an estate car of this model. Perhaps the owner would like to join the Hillman Car Club of SA. Currently on full registration (expiring 12/11/2012), this car could be on much cheaper Historic Registration after a qualifying period.

  5. Peter Doran November 3, 2012 Reply

    Picked this story up via the Hillman yahoo Group-My first car was a series 1 estate 1957 model exactly the same color inside and out. Ah the memories! I feel the same now when i drive my Gazelle-Although it has a little more power and does actually stop when you put your foot on the Brakes!
    Many thanks for a great story and wonderful pictures!
    Pete

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