The Isuzu Hillman Minx is a classic car that earned a prominent place in the history of the automotive industry. Produced by Isuzu Motors in Japan under licence from the Rootes Group between 1953 and 1964, this mid-size car series was a Japanese equivalent to the Hillman Minx Mark VI to Mk VIII and Series 1 to Series 3A models produced in the UK. Although there were some notable differences in later years due to localised production in Japan.
The Isuzu Hillman Minx was part of the Audax series, introduced by Rootes UK in 1956. This series introduced a completely new body design, although it retained some mechanical components from the previous Mk VIII model, such as the OHV engine. Isuzu also produced this new model under the name PH100, which was launched on 19 September 1956.
In January 1958, Isuzu introduced a new model, the “Super Deluxe”, at a higher price than the standard Minx. Then, in March 1958, they introduced a more basic model, the “Standard” (designated PH50), at a lower price. This model replaced the mid-range Minx, leaving Isuzu with the Standard and Super Deluxe models. In August 1958, the range was revamped to resemble the Hillman Minx Series 2 (this model was designated PH200). At the same time, power was increased from 46 hp to 50 hp in the Minx and 55 hp in the Super Deluxe. In addition, the car could now carry six passengers instead of five.
In October 1959, the Isuzu Minx underwent another facelift to resemble the UK Hillman Minx Series 3 (with the model designation PH300). This time, the engine was enlarged to 1494 cc. There were now two versions of the engine: the Standard with 60 bhp (7.5:1 compression ratio) and the Super Deluxe with 62 bhp (8.5:1 compression ratio). In October 1960, further modifications (model PH400) were made to resemble the Minx Series 3A, although the Japanese models retained the smaller windscreen from the previous Minx. There were additional minor revisions in October 1961 and October 1962. In April 1963, another minor revision was made which increased power to 68 bhp (Standard) and 70 bhp (Super Deluxe). Revisions after October 1960 received no new model designations and continued to be called PH400. Isuzu ceased production of the Hillman Minx in June 1964, having produced a total of 57,729 units.
From October 1960, there were very few changes to the appearance of the cars, and the last model still resembled the Minx Series 3A. The Isuzu Minx retained the 1494 cc engine until the end and never received the 1592 cc engine that was introduced in the Hillman Minx 3C Series in 1962. These vehicles were equipped with 4-speed manual transmissions on the column and drum brakes all the way through. However, Isuzu made specification changes, especially to the Super Deluxe models, which became progressively more equipped and superior to their Minx counterparts in the UK. Initially, this took the form of full instrumentation (including ammeter, oil pressure gauge and clock) and a radio. A lockable glovebox compartment was added, as well as features such as a handbrake warning light and reversing lights. Self-steering headlights and a trunk-mounted air conditioning system were also offered.
The Isuzu Hillman Minx is a classic car prized for its charm and distinctive styling. It is a gem for Isuzu lovers and a treasured piece of automotive history. With its elegant design and enhanced features, this classic car remains a testament to Isuzu craftsmanship and engineering. If you’re looking for a classic car that combines history, style and performance, the Isuzu Hillman Minx is sure to impress. It is a true treasure for classic car enthusiasts and an enduring symbol of Isuzu’s legacy in the automotive industry.