Lively Husky; CLASSIC WHEELS.
LIFESTYLE estates and compact MPVs are all the rage at the moment, but in the 1950s and 60s, the germ of the trend stemmed from a number of practical load carriers and estates, including the Hillman Husky.
This had rather commercial underpinnings and shared much with the old Commer van.
The first HusKy came out in 1954 and despite being very basic compared to the Minx it enjoyed healthy sales, topping out at 41,898 when it gave way to the HusKy 1 in 1957.
It looKed very much liKe a van with its two-door configuration, but enjoyed rear seats and a healthy cargo space due to its boxy body.
It was manufactured by shortening the van's wheelbase by nine inches and shortening the overall length by 18 and-a-half inches to just over 12 feet.
Featuring the old Hillman sidevalve 1,265cc engine, the HusKy was fairly lively due to low gearing.
But handling was only just acceptable and customers put up with the sparse interior because it had a neat fold-down mechanism for the rear seat when it had to change character to a load-lugger.
In 1958 The HusKy I came along followed by the HusKy II, featuring the better 1,390cc Minx engine. Then came the very best of all.
The Minx III of 1963 brought the more modern LOOK of a restyled Minx into the HusKy arena.
This included a new grille incorporating sidelamps and indicators, lower bonnet, redesigned fascia and more.
Handling and driving enjoyment were enhanced by and all-synchromesh floor-mounted gear change and front anti-roll bar.
Some features got the thumbs down, especially the horrid little exterior finger pull and button to open the doors. Hillman fans preferred the old chrome door handles.
With vastly better styling this was the ultimate expression of the HusKy line. The body was still van-LIKE, but well suited to the side window fitment and visibility was exceptional.
A budget WORKHORSE still, it was capable of an easy 80mph and many families chose them in favour of conventional cars.
The Minx-based HusKy lasted until 1965 and was replaced in 1967 by a HusKy version of the Hillman Imp.
| BUDGET WORKHORSE: Later Hillman Husky models had indicators