History of Members' Cars
This section of the website is dedicated to providing information and interest about our member's vehicles. The vehicles come from far and wide. Some are in original condition, whilst others are either partially restored or completely finished and on the road. They are all very much loved by their proud owners!
We hope you enjoy reading their stories and seeing their photographs.
Arthur Patrick's 1966 Hillman Gazelle
The Hillman Gazelle is an 'Australian only' 1966 model, and was first registered in February 1967. Arthur purchased his car in November 1994 from its previous owner, who lived in Lindfield, NSW. It is in original, unrestored condition and except for a short period during 2002 when the number plates were put on hold for some necessary repairs, it has been continuously registered, so retains its original number plates.
Bob and Sue Doran's 1959 Hillman.
It all started when Bob came home saying he had seen a Hillman for sale that was the same as his first car. So about ten years ago Bob and Sue's Hillman love affair began as they took possession of their pride and joy. It turned out that the original owner, Miss Morris, had passed on leaving the the Hillman unregistered and needing some love and attention. There were no major repairs to be done, just the usual engine rebuild and re-spray. It had been kept away from the coast so had little rust, just some parking scars and general wear and tear. Over five years she was restored to her former glory, and the engine was rebuilt by Hillman experts Rebel Restorations in Gosford, N.S.W. The body was prepared by Bob and Sue and then sent to the panel shop for the top coat. Then came all those annoying problems with getting a blue slip for registration. The only non standard attachment has been seat belts in the back seat. Once asked why you would bother doing up a Hillman, Bob replied "If everyone did up the popular cars there would be none of these left!"
Peter and Rhonda Schipp`s Series Five Minx and 1970 VBAW Commer Table Top
This car has undergone a full restoration including a two-pack enamel re-spray, full re-trim and full engine and gearbox overhaul. A trophy winner at the 2000 (Australian) National Hillman Rally at Cowra, NSW. This car won Best Series and also Best Sedan. The vehicle had traveled a genuine 82,580 miles before restoration. Peter has taken about three years to restore the body and trim and over a couple of years to complete the mechanicals on this car. It is a lovely car and he did most the work himself, but many thanks to those of you who helped throughout the restoration.
The truck has undergone extensive restoration over a period of 5 years.
Wayne Baxter's Australian De Luxe (ADL) Minx.
The ADL was based on the Singer Gazelle but with a Hillman grille and badging. This shouldn't be confused with the Hillman Gazelle. This gave Hillman a broader range of cars and one with a little more luxury. Apparently this change was due to Singer having a poor reputation in Australia. The doors had wood cappings to complement the dashboard. Wayne's car is a very nice example of the ADL.
John And Carol Seaton's 1935 Minx (Greenbottle)
This car, number M1, was made at Raglan Presswork in Coventry for a display at the 1934 London Exhibition as the new model minx. It was then disassembled and sent to Australia for the pattern for Australian bodies to be built.
Following this it was reassembled and sold to its first owner in Newcastle, NSW. When his owner retired to Canberra, the car spent 30 years in a shed, until the grandson decided to restore it, but sadly he lost interest before restoration was complete. Greenbottle then had a move to Campbelltown, but remained unrestored.
John and Carol are Greenbottle's third owners, and they bought her in 1995. It took about 12 months to restore from its original condition, and this was done in John and Carol's backyard. It is now beautifully restored, and John and Carol did all the work themselves, including the upholstery. An outstanding effort with excellent results!
It's also interesting to note that all the running gear and the radiator are originals and she has 73 567 miles on the speedo.
Paul and Mae Johnson's 1962 Australian Deluxe
This car was purchased new on the 11th July 1962 by Mrs A Timms from Bellings Motors of Wagga Wagga. The original registration number was CSZ120. The car remained in Wagga Wagga until 1995, when it was purchased for $200 by Paul. The car had been abandoned in a backyard for at least five years. In 1996 the car was brought to Shellharbour and eventually put on full registration, and was used daily. Over a period of the next five years, more than 70 000 miles were clocked up! Still in original condition, it is waiting patiently for full restoration. It was driven to National Rallies in Dubbo (2008) and Geelong (2010).
Michael O'Brien's 1954 Mark VII
Michael always loved 'old cars' and in May 2014 purchased the Mark VII after his dad saw it advertised in the Hillmanews. After travelling from Wagga Wagga with his youngest son to check it out, he fell in love with it immediately, so put it on the trailer for the trip back to Wagga Wagga. The car was in remarkably good condition, given that it had been sitting undisturbed in a garage in Randwick for twenty nine years! It was originally purchased by a couple in Coogee, before being passed on to their daughter, who drove it until she gave up driving in 1985. She then garaged it until Michael made his exciting purchase. Michael has been working on it ever since and is determined to have it in tip top condition for the 2016 National Hillman Rally in Ballarat.
Geordie and Chris Jack's 1954 Commer Table Top
Geordie and Chris Jack's fine example of their 1954 Commer Table Top 2 1/4. This truck was ordered from England as a fruit truck and was purchased from Queensland.
Tony and Helen Kent's 1968 Hunter
Tony and Helen joined HOCA in July 2011. At that time they were the proud owners of a 1967 Gazelle and their 1968 Hunter. They decided to buy the Hunter as Helen's father had also owned the same type of car. They found the car in a car yard in Adelaide, South Australia. The car was fully registered and it was on consignment for a relative of the car yard owner. Tony flew to South Australia to collect the car and drive it back to Wollongong. The vendor thought the car should be transported back to Wollongong, but Tony wanted to drive it. He got a bandaid from the seller, put it on the mudguard and said "This will get me home". The car performed faultlessly back to 80 kmph. T kmh took 3 days sitting on 80kmph!
Tony and Helen are also members of the Illawarra Vintage Car Club. They also own 1961 P4 Rover and 1965 Daimler 2.5, which was an old wedding car. To fit the Daimler into Kent's garage, they unfortunately had to sell their Gazelle which went to a new owner in a Newcastle car club.
Tony has now been retired 9 years and spends part of his time with the Vintage Car Class at nearby Kanahooka High School where he and another member of the Illawarra club work with year 9 students. They teach the kids how to handle an older car, do a bit of wiring, mechanics and brake work as well as safety things like how to change a tyre. The first car they worked on was an Austin A55, then a 1949 Vanguard Panel Van and currently a 1954 Hillman Mark VII. A lot of the kids have gone on to do pre-apprenticeship courses in mechanics and other trades. As well as an interest in both car clubs, Helen is interested in writing and knitting. She attends regular classes in both, the latter they call the "knit and knatters" class. They knit items of clothing for babies and children in third world countries.
Tony and Helen recently moved house, downsizing the house - but upsizing the garage from 2 cars to 4 cars and with room for a two post car hoist.
Nicole Purvis's 1959 Hillman Minx Estate
Nicole's grandma was a big influence in her decision to own a vintage car. Nicole loves the 1950's - clothes, music, movies and of course cars! So when she began looking for a car, Nicole knew her dream car would be something from the 50's. Her Hillman Minx was chosen because of its look, engine size (great driving affordability), and when she saw it came in a wagon that was it. The surfboard could fit inside too! So in December 2012, Nicole found her car 'Molly' in an online car magazine. Molly was in Adelaide, but originally from Victoria, and now resides happily in Ulladulla with Nicole as her new owner, who drives her every day.
Vern and Cheryl Sotter’s 1969 HC Hillman Hunter
My 1969 HC Hunter belonged to a friend of mine from Leeton NSW, whose mother bought it new in 1969. It was put in a shed in 1995, with the intention of restoration, however that did not happen and my friend decided to dispose of it. I bought it from him in 2011.
With invaluable help from Steve Pallett, we decided to strip the car, where ever we could buy parts, we did, and replaced what we could. This was followed by a complete re spray with PPG 2 pack in original colour “Bermuda turquoise”.
Graeme Wakely's 1950 Hillman Minx Mark lV
My Hillman was in a shed that a retired firefighter from our station wanted help to clearout. The car sat there for 36 years as per rego sticker. Luckily the shed was rat free so the wiring and insides were in good condition. I have had all the brakes re-done, the fuel tank and lines cleaned out, a rusted out sideplate on the motor replaced and the radiator replaced. The hub caps were re-chromed and flash whitewall tyres fitted from Antique Tyres as recommend from the shed caretaker. The Hillman created great interest at the Cooly Rocks On car show recently and next weekend will be at the Back To Brunswick Hot Rod Run.
Matthew Redman's Jubilee 1957 Hillman Minx Cabriolet
Matthew's Cabriolet is in unrestored and original condition. It now lives in Newcastle but previous to Matthew's ownership, it resided in Goulburn, NSW. The car was originally from Victoria.
Chris and Jodie Strange's1960 Minx Estate
It is member 440 (Chris Strange) here. My wife Jodie and I had the pleasure of meeting Paul and Mae Johnson in Berry for a coffee and chat.
From the start of the day the parking gods were shining on us as not only did we both get carparks right outside our meeting point but there were 2 spots next to each other for the Minx’s to leave their customary calling card of a few spots of oil.
During the conversation, Mae indicated that some members have shared some details of their cars and experiences for adding to the newsletter. So here goes.
Our Hillman is a 1960 Minx estate, originally yellow with a white roof, but repainted Red with a white roof. We purchased it in October 2015 from Dapto on the south coast, but unfortunately not a lot is known about it’s previous 50 years. We purchased it from a young family that had started the restoration but young children and mortgage got in the way of the fun.
The car was complete, but mostly in boxes or bundles of trims and other items removed for the painting. Nothing like a bit of blind faith!
The Minx is my daily drive so the restoration works were taken on with this in mind and included:
• Cooling system, new thermostat and housing, new hoses, clamps, radiator out for a scouring pressure test and paint, pump out inspected cleaned and looks good so back on you go.
• New shocks all round.
• New wheel bearings.
• New fixed and flexible brake lines, slave and master cylinder kits, inspection and clean-up of the brake shoes and drums.
• New diff seals. That centre nut on the diff did not want to come off!
• Electrical - replaced the generator with an alternator, new bulbs all round and various re-terminating of the electrical wiring as required.
• Retaping the exhaust manifold bolts and gaskets to take it down about 100db in noise.
• Finish the paintwork - rub, rub, rub and more rubbing, then polish.
• Refit all of the trims including making new clips of the trims with rivets and bits of plastic carefully cut and drilled out of coke bottles. Sounds odd but works a treat.
• New roof lining, new trim in the rear of the car, including the wheel arches and cards in the estate section.
• Roof racks courtesy of a mate and his garage sale skills.
• Rust repairs in the driver’s floor, rear inner guards and the tailgate.
• Replacing the old hessian sound deadener with new stuff wherever I found it.
• New distributor parts, points, plugs, leads etc
• New fuel gauge.
• That will do, I am sure there is more but I can’t remember….
During the works I had the car stored in the open shed down the back, when the new tires arrived complete with the white wall inserts, our resident wombat decided he should mark his territory on the new whitewalls. He did not do this with his mouth!
As it was out of rego for years I did the blue slip, overall the process was OK with only legitimate items that I would want to have in good order being picked up. The hurdle was the engine had no number on it and the equivalent of the VIN number was only on the plate and not stamped on the body so the local blue slip inspection station was at a loss. The RMS in Unanderra was good, however there were two trips required, one to get the new engine number supplied, then another to inspect them stamped in. I did have a gentler first trip in mind for the old girl but it handled the 2 ½ hour round trip just fine (even if my eyes barely left the temp gauge and oil light). If anyone needs 8mm stamps I have them, the old requirement was for 6mm stamps for engine and VIN numbers and every mechanic in the universe seems to have the 6mm but the RMS is very insistent on the requirement for 8mm.
The Minx has been on full rego for a few months now and can be seen holding up traffic around 3 days a week on my trips to and from work and going for a surf or a trip somewhere on the south coast on the weekend. Our 17-year-old daughter loves driving it, has mastered the column shift and has put a hula girl inside in the parcel shelf.
Our first club experience was a really great one thanks to Paul and Mae, and we look forward to more in the future.