William Hillman was born in 1847, and trained as marine engineer, before going into cycle manufacture during its Victorian heyday. Hillman went on to be a pioneering car manufacturer. In 1918 John Black joined the Hillman Motor Co as sales manager. Black was so successful that within a year he was a director, and two years later joint managing director with his brother-in-law Spencer Wilks (who later went to Rover). William Hillman died in 1921. Hillman cars had a sporting heritage, but evolved into 'worthy but dull' products. In 1925 Hillman was acquired by its principal dealers, the Rootes brothers, who already owned Humber, and John Black moved to Standard. Notable 1930s models included the Husky sports tourer, and the Wizard and Minx saloons. The large Hillman Hawk was rebadged as a Humber. The Minx Magnificent of 1936 became the main Hillman model until a new three-box Minx Mark III was introduced in 1948. In the Rootes group, Hillman became part of a badge-engineering operation, with Singer, Sunbeam and Humber models mostly deriving from the core Hillman range. The 'Audax' Minx of 1956-65 had Loewy-influenced styling, and it had a bigger brother, the Super Minx, replaced by the Hunter in 1966. The small rear-engined Imp was made in Scotland from 1963 to 1976. The Avenger was made from 1970 to 1977, badged as a Chrysler in its later years (sold in the USA as the Plymouth Cricket). The Chrysler Sunbeam was built on a shortened Avenger platform. After Chrysler took over the Rootes Group in 1973, the old marques gradually disappeared, including Hillman.
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