For many years I owned a Hillman 14, built at Coventry, England, in 1929. She had the standard works tourer body and artillery wheels, four-speed gearbox, rod-front/cable-rear brakes, magneto ignition and was powered by a 1953cc side-valve four-cylinder engine. The car was one of the first with rubber bushes in the spring shackles.
A Brisbane banker bought her in London in 1929 and shipped her to Perth, from where she was driven to Melbourne, a 3500-kilometre journey, of which 2500 would have been a dirt road, a very impressive journey at the time.
In the 1960s I restored her, as she was the only known model of her type in Australia.
She ‘rallied’, and she soaked up money and yet she provided great entertainment for family and friends until, in 1985, we put her on the market. The car was offered for sale in Vintage Driver, the Vintage Drivers Club journal, at $10,000 “or less to keep the car in Australia”. She was sold to a Melbourne owner who later sold it to someone in Brisbane.
Having lost track of her, I was surprised in 2010 to receive a scantily addressed letter from England, advising that the Hillman had been shipped back to her original home in 1999. Offered for sale at £9950 ($16,350) in September, 2000, she again underwent considerable restoration by the current owner, who discovered that she was built in 1929, not 1927 as I had believed. He also tested some urban myths, including that she was capable of 90km/h. Experience would indicate this was measured downhill in a following gale.
She now presents as good as new, although she carries one small scar from an attack on her rear by a Ford Scorpio while stationary at a road junction.
What a grand journey for this wonderful vehicle ... she has, virtually, travelled around the world.
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