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Hillman, Coventry

William Hillman built his car factory in his large garden in Stoke, Coventry. The dynamic French engineer Louis Coatalen, who had worked at De Dion-Bouton and Humber joined in. The Hillman-Coatalen, a luxury car, was built on a small scale from 1907 to 1909. Its unit was a six cylinder of nearly ten litre.

In 1909 Coatalen moved to Sunbeam, and the Hillman marque turned more modest.

During the twenties Hillman gained a respectable but not very sporting reputation. With one exeception: the succesful racing automobile with which Raymond Mays (founder of BRM and ERA) started his racing career.

William Hillman had six daughters. His sons-in-law John Black and Spencer Wilks were directors of the Hillman company when the Rootes brothers moved in and took over, at the end of the twenties. Rootes succeded in combining Hillman and Humber into a considerable concern.
Black went to Standard and Wilks to Rover.

Launcing the famous and popular Minx in 1932 improved Hillman sales remarkably. The pretty 1933 Aero Minx coupé inspired the making of the Talbot Ten. (Talbot by then had been absorbed into the Rootes concern.) Many new Minx models saw the light and after the second World War Sunbeam and Singer were kept going by the Minx.

To build the Hillman Imp they built a new factory in Linwood, near Glasgow.

Chrysler had bought more and more shares and from 1976 on the Hillman cars that were still in production (Hunter and Avenger) became Chryslers. Iran kept on producing the Hunter until the eighties.

A Hillman Hunter won the extraordinary tough London - Sydney Marathon of 1968. At the wheel: Andrew Cowan, Brian Coyle and Colin Malkin.

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