Hillman "Sixteen", "Hawk" and "80"
|(1936 to 1938)|
|Manufacturer||Hillman Motor Car Co Ltd|
- approx 700 produced
- approx 5000 produced
- approx 300 produced
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4dr Saloon (16/Hawk only);
4dr Saloon Deluxe (16/Hawk only);
4dr Touring Car Deluxe (16/ Hawk only);
2dr Sports Saloon (16/Hawk) 4dr Sports Saloon (80 only);
4dr Wingham Convertible Cabriolet (all models);
4dr "80" 7-Seater Saloon;
4dr "80" Enclosed Drive Limousine
|Engine||2576 cc 16.65 hp ("Sixteen" model);
3181 cc 20.90 hp ("Hawk" & "80" models)
"16" & "Hawk" 108.5 in (2,760 mm)"80" 126 in (3,200 mm)
Between 1928 and 1936, Hillman Ltd of Coventry produced a range of Hillman models including the "14 h.p." (1925–30), the "20" (1928-31), the "Wizard" (1931–33), the "Vortic" (1931-32), the "16 h.p." (1934–35), the "20/70" (1934-35) and the original "Minx" (1932–35). Hillman had merged with Humber Ltd in 1928 and in 1931 both companies came under the umbrella of the Rootes Group who were also responsible for the construction of vehicles for a number of other marques including Singer, Commer, Sunbeam-Talbot and Karrier.
New pre-war model designs
From 1936 until 1938 Hillman produced the new 4 cylinder "Minx" Magnificent and also a trilogy of larger 6 cylinder luxury saloon cars which consisted of the Hillman "Sixteen" [or 16] (1936–37), the Hillman "Hawk" (1936–37) and the Hillman "80" (1936–38).These three larger models superseded the older coach built Hillman "16 hp" (1934–35) and Hillman "20/70" (1934-35) models, having a box girder chassis and a more modern semi-monocoque style body designed by Thrupp & Maberly (also owned by Rootes Group). Hillman also introduced the revolutionary "Evenkeel" suspension which gave the cars a superior ride and "Cushioned Power" mounts which helped stop vibration through the engine and gearbox. However these models still drew on some of the coach built features and engine designs of the earlier Hillman cars and also those of the luxury Humber cars, including the 1936 Humber 12 and Snipe, that were also being built in Coventry at that time. This was an attempt by Hillman Ltd to enter the luxury car market and also added to their "bread and butter" mid-range model, the Hillman "Minx" (1936-1938), which used some of the components and parts found on the larger models.
Engines, seating and brakes
The Hillman "Sixteen" had a 2576 cc 16.65 hp side valve straight-six engine whilst the "Hawk" and "80" had larger 3181 cc 20.9 hp engines. The "Sixteen" and "Hawk" were five seaters with bucket seats at the front and a folding armrest dividing a bench seat at the rear whilst the "80" was a seven seater (two of which folded down) and as such had a longer wheelbase (10 ft 6ins). Some "80"'s had a partition between the chauffeur/driver and passenger compartment. These vehicles had Bendix "Duo Servo" brakes, which used rod and cable linkages and operated on all four wheels via both the foot pedal and the handbrake lever.
About 700 Hillman "16"s were built between 1936-37 whereas around 5000 Hillman "Hawk"s were built during the same period and an estimated 300 Hillman "80"s were constructed between 1936-38.These models were produced as standard saloons and deluxe saloons, some of which were used by the military, police and government departments, with a small number of each model being produced as sports tourers, cabriolets and coupes, the bodywork being converted by designers Thrupp & Maberly and coach builders Wingham (Martin Walter).
Only a few examples of each model still exist in the UK today. Some of these vehicles were exported throughout the world, especially to Australia and New Zealand where a number of "Hawk"s and "80"'s also still survive.
World War II and after
After 1938 the production of these three pre-war models were handed over to Humber Ltd in Coventry. They restyled and rebadged them as the Humber "16" (6 cylinder 2576 cc engine), Humber "Snipe" (6 cylinder 3181 cc) and the Humber "Super Snipe" (6 cylinder 4086 cc). During World War II Humber concentrated their efforts into the production of armoured vehicles for the military. However they also produced a number of staff cars for the military based on the original Hillmans including two open top 1940's Super Snipes ("Old Faithful" and the "Victory Car") which were used by General Montgomery and Winston Churchill in the desert campaign and then afterwards when they toured the UK during the victory celebrations. Humber also produced passenger cars for the police and government departments during this period.
Hillman consequently restricted their own output of vehicles to a mechanically improved utility Hillman "Minx" (1939–44), many of which also went to military service during the war, and a new Hillman Fourteen (1938–40) which incorporated much of the Hillman "Sixteen" and Hillman "Hawk" engineering but with a 4 cylinder engine.
After the war the Humber "16" was partially rebodied and then rebadged as the Humber "Hawk" with a smaller 2 litre 4 cylinder engine but still had elements of the Hillman design. Elements of the original pre-war design of the three Hillman models can also be found in other post war Humbers and this continued into the 1950s until Humber produced a new body and new engines to go into later versions of the Humber "Hawk", "Snipe", "Super Snipe" and "Pullman" Limousines.