Live Auctions

Original Paint: 1960 Hillman Husky

UPDATE 02/25/2022: It seems that some sellers can’t strike it lucky when they place their beloved classic on the market and will employ interesting tactics in any subsequent sales attempts. That appears to be the case with the owner of this 1960 Hillman Husky. While it opened at $7,000 and was initially slow out of the blocks last time, the little Hilman eventually attracted fourteen bids that pushed the price to $8,600. However, this remained short of the reserve. Ever the optimist, the owner has once again listed the British classic for sale here on eBay. He has set his sights higher on this occasion, with the auction set to open at $14,000. Unsurprisingly when you consider that this is double the opening on the last occasion, there have been no bids to this point. Who knows, but maybe fate will be kinder this time. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting this incredible British survivor for us.

Sometimes a single sticker says it all. That would appear to be the case with this 1960 Hillman Husky because the sticker on this classic’s rear window would sum up the ownership experience perfectly. It is not a muscle car or a desirable classic. However, it is a fantastic survivor that should put a smile on the new owner’s face every time they slip behind the wheel. My first impression was that this was a high-quality restoration, but the seller insists that the paint and upholstery in this classic are original as it left the factory. That makes this a pretty special car, and opportunities like this one don’t arise every day. Located in Lake Isabella, California, you will find the Husky listed for sale here on eBay.

The first Hillman Husky rolled off the production line in 1954, and the vehicle remained unchanged until the company performed an update in 1958. A further upgrade occurred in 1960, and this Husky is from that model year. The company designed and produced the vehicle as basic family motoring in station wagon form that could seat four people in relative comfort. Our feature car is finished in a winning combination of Glen Green and Foam White. My first impression was that I was looking at a nicely restored classic, but the owner insists that the paint is original. If that is true, its overall condition is astounding. It holds a beautiful shine, with few discernible flaws or defects. The panels are straight, and the gaps are about what you would have expected from a Hillman of this era. There are no visible signs of rust, and the owner mentions no problems in his listing. The exterior chrome shines as impressively as the paint, while the glass appears flawless. It may not be as stylish as many domestic offerings from the same period, but this little car possesses a charming character that would make you want to take it home and park it in your garage.

Powering this Husky is a 1,390cc four-cylinder engine that produces 51hp. The power finds its way to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, while there is no assistance for the steering or the four-wheel drum brakes. At 2,079lbs, the Hilman is not what you would describe as a heavyweight. It is also no rocketship, covering the ¼ mile in 21.9 seconds before winding its way to 74mph. If I were to buy this car, I probably wouldn’t be tempted to test those upper limits. However, it should be happy to cruise on the open road between 45 and 50mph. The owner indicates that this Husky is in sound mechanical condition. He recently installed a new battery and tires and says that the car runs and drives well. It seems that it will be a matter of slipping behind the wheel and driving off into the sunset for potential buyers.

As is the case with the paint, the interior of this Husky is original and unrestored. Its vibrant red vinyl trim is in excellent condition, with no appreciable wear or problems. The painted surfaces look crisp and clean, and there is no visible wear on the distinctive white steering wheel. The dash and gauges look excellent, and the overall impression is nothing but positive. Hillman designed the Husky as an affordable vehicle for families, so they didn’t load it with luxury extras. Not only does it not feature a radio, but you won’t find a heater either. That has the potential to make life pretty unpleasant in colder climates, but sourcing a period-correct heater to improve things would not be difficult or expensive. It is worth noting that since the Husky is such a small car, any reasonable heater should make the interior feel toasty with little effort. You would have to wonder how pleasant life would be if this Hillman were in the home country plying the roads of an area like the Yorkshire Dales in the dead of winter. There’s be a lot to be said for multiple layers of clothing in a situation like that!

The British car industry was once a vibrant landscape dominated by local companies like Hillman, Austin, Triumph, Wolseley, and Jensen. Sadly, these brands have disappeared into the pages of history due to a combination of bad business decisions, questionable designs, and worsening quality control. This classic rolled off the line before those problems had an impact, which explains why it has survived unmolested for more than six decades. The United Kingdom still maintains a healthy vehicle manufacturing industry, but it has become the home of foreign companies like Ford, Honda, and Toyota. That makes cars like this 1960 Hilman Husky something special. This little car will not cause a muscle car sleepless nights, nor is it going to threaten Cadillac in the luxury stakes. However, it represents a pure motoring experience that should be one of the most enjoyable that an owner could have. I am surprised that this gem has received no bids at this stage, and it’ll be interesting to monitor the auction to see whether that situation changes. Have you ever driven a Hillman Husky, and did you enjoy it? Was it an experience that might motivate you to pursue this survivor further?

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I don’t think I’ve EVER seen one this nice.
    We had neighbors who came from Scotland
    who had a Hillman sedan just like this.

    Like 18
  2. RGSmith1 Member

    Very nice. I had one of these in the early 70s. Definitely not the fastest car around but it was sure fun for running around town.

    Like 8
  3. RayT Member

    My across-the-street neighbor had a Husky. At the same time, I owned a Minx, but really wanted his little wagon.

    Shortly, he rolled the Husky (I don’t know how), and let me snitch the floor shift before it went to the boneyard. The conversion took about 15 minutes, involving nothing more than opening a hole in the floor with tin snips and bolting on the new top cover and lever.

    Later, he bought my Minx, gave it a coat of Earl Schieb Blue, and gave it to his girlfriend. She married him, so I guess she was happy enough with the car.

    So was I. If I wasn’t all the way across the U.S. from this, I’d be bidding, despite the no-res photos and the shortage of useful information.

    Like 9
  4. Michael

    I like this car. I was in the USAF stationed at RAF Woodbridge U.K. in the early 80’s. My first RHD car was a Hillman Hunter. Slow but fun to drive.

    Like 7
    • Garry

      It was a Hillman Hunter that won the London – Sydney Marathon in the mid 1960s!

      Like 7
  5. Chris Webster

    My paternal Grandfather had one for years, though I don’t remember ever riding it.

    Like 2
  6. mike

    Love it….Probably get a correct heater assy.from England.

    Like 1
    • Sam61

      Cool car! Correct heater assembly? I thought you’d just layer up with a second or third sweater like sitting around the radiator.

      Like 2
  7. Slomoogee

    Some 50 years ago my roommate in college had one of these. We had many mis guided adventures in it. Jacked up in the back w 15 inch snow tires and it was our woods car. With the back seat down it was ez to carry all our camping gear and a couple of cases of liquid refreshments. 1st gear in these things is a stump puller good to about 10 mph. Top speed with 2 healthy campers and their gear 60. This is the nicest I’ve seen on this side of the pond.

    Like 5
  8. Charlie

    My first car was a 1959 Minx, which I bought in 1966 for $600. I enjoyed it, although I was foolish enough to ask a few weeks after I bought it, “How fast can she go?” So I wound it out – not knowing that English cars have engines with a relatively long stroke. I got up to about 75 mph – and threw a rod. Somehow, I limped home on three cylinders.
    I bought a motor at a junkyard from a 1960 Hillman, took out the ruined one, and replace it with the used one. It was a pretty simple operation – engine compartments in those days were not filled with tons of anti-pollution equipment.
    I enjoyed it for another year, until a girlfriend rolled it the day she got her driving license. A nice car – if you treat it right.

    Like 5
  9. Robin Tomlin

    This is what you would call A Hot Water Bottle Car!

    Like 3
  10. Russell

    Love the colo(u)r, love the interior, love the engine compartment, love the car! Wanted one so bad back in the day when I was rollin’ with Tigers and Alpines. I may have to give this some serious thought.

    Like 4
  11. Steve Clinton

    Not one bid at $7000. I wonder what the reserve is.

    Like 2
  12. Denny N. Member

    I had a Husky like this in about 2007-09. It was a fun little car. It had a one-piece rear door, like a refrigerator. I sold it to a guy in the Midwest. He said that after he unloaded it from the transporter he began to drive it home when the ignition switch shorted out and started an electrical fire. Don’t know if he fixed it or junked it.

    Like 2
  13. luke arnott Member

    Re UK car manufacturing – Hillmans were built by Rootes Group,Austins/Wolseleys by BMC.Jensen was never a major player.Ford do not build cars or vans here now.The other main player was Vauxhall,owned by GMC,now Stellantis.

    Like 3
    • Martin Horrocks

      I was also surprised to see Jensen on that list, very much a niche handbuilt marque.

      Exporting cars with unpronouncable names like Wolseley or Vauxhall wasn´t the best of ideas, but the products werent much good either. I had the same experience as @Charlie above in a Hillman Minx (fortunately not my car…). In fact, the Rootes cars were strongly built but like most English cars were not built for sustained speed on modern highways until the late 60s.

      Like 1
  14. Martin Horrocks

    This is a little beauty. California was an important market for Rootes (who even marketed an early 1950s 2 door Minx Coupé called “Calfornia”) and the West Coast sales director was Ian Garrard,the son of the first Competitions Director of Rootes, so well-connected.

    It was Ian Garrard who hired Shelby to build the Sunbeam Tiger prototype. Also, the Sunbeam Alpine was built on the Husky platform (as a cheap existing source of swb platform for a 2 door sports car), so maybe this car is in fact a muscle car in waiting….

    Like 3
    • Solosolo ken tilly Member

      I also owned a Hillman Californian back in the day followed by a 1958 Minx and a 1961 Rapier. All of them were built to a much higher standard than my Fords, Austins, Morrises etc. I distinctly remember shutting the doors with my little finger. Really good engineering. The only part I didn’t like was the four on the column gear change that rattled like heck in the Minx.

      Like 3
      • Martin Horrocks

        I guess the Californian was like a less sporting first generation Rapier, Ken. It sold in small numbers and was a premium product. The Minx was much less expensive than either, which might account for your rattling column change (though the Brits never really got their heads around on the tree shifts as well as French or Italian rivals).

        But I agree that the solidity of the Rootes build was better than the BMC/Ford/Vauxhall equivalents.

        Like 1
  15. Graeme I

    Cool car today, but back in the day they were cheap, bare bones motoring, not in our wildest dreams considered a future collectible. But times change. This is a rare survivor. Nice car.

    Like 3
  16. Will Owen Member

    I’ve had three of these, the second one actually co-owned and the third a sentiment-driven mistake. Their one actual weak point is an under-designed differential spider, that will fall apart much too easily, but the Alpine axle is a straight swap; all you have to do is find one! The 1.7 liter Alpine engine is not a straight drop-in but worth the trouble. The car itself if a treat to drive, able to maintain a very brisk pace if you’re good at using momentum for passing. And the gearbox and shift action are a joy. Wish to heck I had room for one again.

    Like 1
  17. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Sweet…..most likely gets great gas milage !

  18. Doug Edwards

    Ive had my husky for over 30 yrs, Everything done including disc brakes and Toyota 5 speed. Weber 2 barrel and a header open it up nicely. Nada has unexpectedly high prices. But fun car to drive. I would inspect this as the engine compartment should be body color and the rubber all around will tell the story. No mention of milage, and no close ups. I don’t need another, Doug Edwards ‘

  19. Sam61

    Very nice the way it is. Although, how about something whacky like a Honda Goldwing motor/trany swap?

  20. Chris In Australia

    One for sale recently here. 1750 taken out to 2 litres? And a five speed. Painted, needed assembly. Should have gone well enough.

  21. Gene

    Gene on February 26, 2022 at 1:23 PM

    OMG a Place to tell My Story::
    I am Gene K7GNO in America.. I learned to drive in a 1959 Hillman Husky.
    My Dad was stationed @ RAF Schulthorpe near Fakenham England in 1960.
    He brought home the Hillman & I believe he paid $150 Dollars for it. It had high miles & was owned by a Heavy Set Gentleman who SQUASHED the Seats.. Somehow Dad was able to source 2 BRAND NEW Seats.. (how did he do that) Anyway more to the story… I was 7 when he first taught me to drive her..
    Then in about 1963 We were transferred to Mather AFB in California..

    Now the funs starts.. We shipped the Husky from London to New Jersey..
    Then Drove the HUSKY frrom NJ to Sacramento Ca.. a FAMILY of 5! & a huge Foot locker we took off the roof since top speed with it was 45MPH.

    So across the USA we go. in Oklahoma the Generator Croaked..
    A mechanic took the Generator off, Cut down some Chevrolet Brushes & charged us $3. 50 Labor & parts were $1.35… Can you imagine. Total $53
    COAST TO COAST… Going over the Ca. Grapevine was Funny.
    British Plated “XGO 135” going 40 miles an Hr , People screamed past us
    we were like a Cirrus Show… Been Searching for a Husky for years & now I found 1 in running cond… I may have to buy & love it..It was MOM’s Car
    she spoke of being Buried in it. Dad, Brother & I chased it down many times & noone would ever sell it back to us.. Blessings from Idaho Gene K7GNO

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