Hillman Avenger Reviews from UK and Ireland

1972 Hillman Avenger Super 1.5

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired106000 miles
Most recent distance111000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Cavalier

Summary:

A less obvious classic

Faults:

This one has been very reliable, since it has an alternator rather than the unreliable dynamo. But, of all things, the alternator did fail and was easily and cheaply replaced. I've had Avengers in the past too, they are fairly strong.

Had a dirty fuel line problem, caused the car to stop after being driven over 60mph for a while. Had fuel line from tank replaced and fuel tank cleaned out.

Needed a new steering rack when I first bought it, wasn't expensive.

General Comments:

Probably better than most of the cars of its time, such as Viva, Marina, Minor, MK2 Cortina. Certainly handled much better than any of them. Only competition would have been from Escort, but that is significantly smaller and less of a family car. Avenger boot is capacious.

Rust is bound to be an issue with a 31 year old car, but it is often just wheel arches and wings which can be replaced. If floor pans get rusty then it is more expensive to put right.

Now a collectors' item, but less obvious than all the Minors, Beetles and Minis that seem to make up most of the classics from the era. Even so, a good following these days.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th May, 2003

15th Nov 2004, 14:51

The Avenger was the first car I clocked 100mph in! I never owned one, but drove several at a time when my company wagon was the Hunter. Funnily enough I saw an Avenger the other day. It wasn't a bad car much better than Marinas, allegros and vivas.

20th Oct 2008, 16:36

The Avengers were good cars. My mum had one for about 10 years from 86-96 and hated my old man for buying her his sister's cast off Vauxhall Cavalier as a "present", and then an even worse Vauxhall Astra when the Cav conked out. She loved the light handling, the outstanding reliability and how cheap it was come MOT time, certainly compared to two of Luton's finest she got lumbered with afterwards.

So yeh, no surprise when the divorce papers went through...

2nd Sep 2011, 10:59

Dad had one of these in the early 1980s, and he was forever fixing it. I remember trying to drive it, and could not muscle the gear shift around. I loved the bronze metallic colour and the chrome work, and fondly remember the way the vinyl burnt my legs in the hot NZ sun. The British car industry really went out with a whimper rather than a bang.

1972 Hillman Avenger GT 1.5 petrol

Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1972
Most recent year of ownership1975
Engine and transmission 1.5 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Viva

Summary:

Wrong car at the wrong time

Faults:

Twin carbs would not stay in tune.

Burnt exhaust valve caused low compression.

Minor electrical problems.

Paint tended to chip easily.

General Comments:

This was my boy racer model for the up and coming executive - GT Sports model, Automatic, etc.

Unfortunately I bought it just before the 1970's oil crisis. Fuel prices went up and up, the car drank fuel at 22mpg when it was in tune, which was not often, it needed more attention than the local Hillman dealer was capable of giving it.

The car performed OK and the 3 speed auto box worked well. Reliability was not as good as you would expect today, but no worse than the other mass produced cars of the 70's.

I was happy to get rid of it after 3 years and to trade down to something a lot more economical. No-one wanted a thirsty car then.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th January, 2003

16th Apr 2003, 13:33

I have 3 Avengers, two autos and one manual, 1500/1600s.

I have found them entirely reliable, good on petrol, approx 37 MPG - of course that's driving like an old granny, but flat footing it, it's doing 25/27 MPG easily.

The autos do use more petrol than the manual versions, but then that's a steady 25/30 MPG... Mine are the single carbs, not racey tiger looking models.

The only weak spots I have found: they do tend to overheat easy; the inner wings rust pretty badly around the door hinges, and the top of the wings go.

Also, areas around the near side front tie bar linkage and the jacking points all rust badly; this has been done to all mine.

All the best.

31st Oct 2004, 12:31

The rust problem was due to the then innovative paint, which was to keep car weight down and economize on galvanization of the metal in the body.

Unfortunately, it did not work!

22nd Apr 2010, 20:14

As a former tuner of what is now classic cars, the twin carb I tuned (Avenger GT) was a surprise. After doing the usual things like ignition, valve clearances clean/set carbs, it went like the prov poo of a shovel! It was very quick!! I thought then that this car was at least the equal of an MGB! SU's do not lose the tune unless people mess with them before they check and set the ignition!

2nd Aug 2013, 08:37

Wasn't the derelict car that Onslow's dog lived in (on "Keeping Up Appearances") a Hillman Avenger?

23rd Feb 2014, 04:11

Hi, did all of the 1500 Avenger GT models have twin carbs? The one I am looking at buying only has a single carb?

Average review marks: 6.1 / 10, based on 2 reviews