1968 Hillman Hunter Humber Sceptre 1.7L
A little bit of nostalgia
Bought the car to restore. It had been barn stored, and some parts removed for the previous owner's other car.
This car will require a full restoration, and is really not financially worth doing, but being British and a glutton for punishment, I will restore it by removing all the rust from the normal places - tops of the wings by the lights, rear of the front wings and the bottom valances. The floor pan is sound, as are the other prime rust areas.
I am 67 and have worked with the Hunter in the London police force. We had a fleet of dozens in our garage, and there were half a dozen garages serving the whole of London. They were used as CID and general run about cars, and as such did get a hard life, They stood up well to all the abuse given to them, with the most faults coming from a stupid throttle pedal linkage.
Seats would break at the back rest, because police would get in first, then look for the keys by pushing backwards on the seat to get into their pocket. Try it next time you get into your car.
The killer was RUST; both sides of the floor pan would rot away. Some in only two or three years.
Some on this site have mentioned the carbon thrust release bearing for the clutch. This was standard on most volume cars of the time. Drivers would NOT sit at the lights with the car in gear for long periods; it was a known thing. Also on Sundays, many people would tinker to keep the cars going.
When I look back and see how far we have progressed, I am amazed at how well modern cars perform. Do I like my Audi? You bet I do; over 50 MPG and capable of over a hundred mph.
Cars of the 50s and 60s, most would do 60-70mph, but that was it. Only upmarket cars like Jaguar, the Ford Zephyr (just) and Aston Martin could do "the ton".
So if you are a young petrol head, please do not denigrate the old cars. Just be thankful that your car has benefited from all the mistakes of the past. Modern cars do 100,000 miles easy. Much due to the fantastic improvement in lubricants.
1950's cars were serviced every 1000 miles, with a major overhaul at 50,000 miles. Many were scrapped before 100,000.
Do I love my old Hillman? Reluctantly, yes.
Do I expect it to perform well in modern traffic? NO.
It's used on high days and holidays when the sun shines... That way the dreaded tin worm might be kept at bay for a few more years. Thanks for reading and enjoy your car safely.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 30th December, 2012