The year 2007 marked the 100th anniversary of the Hillman car. The Hillman Motor Car Company was formed in 1907 by William Hillman, a millionaire who had made his fortune mainly in the bicycle manufacturing business. In 1905 he decided to enter the motor car business and with Louis Coatalan as his designer and chief engineer he launched the first Hillman car two years later under the company name Hillman-Coatalan. Coatalan, who was married to one of Hillman's daughters, left the company to work for the Sunbeam Car Company and sold his shares back to his father-in-law in 1910. The name of the company was then changed to the Hillman Motor Car Company. William Hillman died in 1921 at the age of 72. In 1928 Hillman merged with the Humber car and the Commer commercial vehicle companies. The Rootes brothers, William and Reginald, who had been the sole British and overseas distributors for these concerns bought all three companies in 1929 and went from merely selling to manufacturing automobiles. Thus began the Rootes Group of companies.
Fast forward to early 2006 and a discussion is started on the Yahoo Hillman discussion group. One of the members suggests that we should do something to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hillman car. As our members are scattered all over North America (as well as many other countries) it is suggested that we try to find a central location for such a meet. It is soon apparent that no one who is willing to organize this event lives anywhere near the central U.S. It was then that D Zimmerman, a Hillman Husky owner in Ohio stepped forward and offered to organize the event but it would have to be in Streetsboro, Ohio, near to where she lives. As she had organized the first Hillmans On Holidays event in 2005, which was deemed a great success by those who attended, it was decided to take D up on her kind offer.
Cars start arriving. Left picture: Wed. night, 1960 Hillman Minx Series IIIB and 1953 Sunbeam Alpine.
Right picture: Thurs., 1964 Hillman Husky Series III and 1959 Hillman Minx Series III Deluxe
I was very keen on attending this event as there are very few Hillmans or Sunbeam Rapiers in the area where I live (Richmond, B.C., Canada) plus I was interested in finally meeting many of the folks I had been "talking to" on the internet for the last three or four years. Once the actual itinerary was posted online I was hooked. D knows how to put together an event! I then set out to figure a way to get one of my cars out to Ohio the following year.
For most of the next seven or eight months I considered different options. I could drive my Rapier out there but at approximately 2,600 miles one way that would be a bit much for the old girl. I could borrow my friend's car trailer and tow it out.This would still be a long drive and I would have to take several weeks off but we could make a bit of a holiday out of it I figured. I also toyed with the idea of renting a motor home and towing the car with that, taking three weeks and really making a holiday out of it. The final option I considered was shipping the car to Toronto and driving it down to Streetsboro, a five or six hour drive. In the end I decided that at about $2,000.00 shipping it would cost me approximately $650.00 a day to have my car there and that just didn't really make sense. In fact none of the options really made any financial sense, which of course I already knew, but it took me awhile to come to my senses and stop dreaming.
Top picture: 1953 Sunbeam Alpine
Bottom picture: Sunbeam Tiger
A party just waiting to happen!
Having abandoned the idea of taking a car we decided that we would attend without one (I had heard that one of the Hillman owners from Texas had done this in 2005). He, as well as several others, had encouraged us saying there would be plenty of cars for us to ride in (several promised to actually let me drive their cars!). Still as the day of departure got closer we were both a bit hesitant about travelling to Ohio and spending three and a half days with a bunch of people we had never met. In addition, we were attending a car meet without our car! We decided to look on it as an adventure. We quickly discovered upon our arrival in Streetsboro that any concerns we had were unfounded. We had a wonderful time and met some fabulous people. I don't know why we were apprehensive, they were all Rootes car owners after all so how could they be anything but nice!
We arrived at the hotel around 7:00 on Wednesday night, July 25th, just in time for the first night's parking lot party. There were four cars there that first night including organizer D's Hillman Husky. Most of the other cars arrived throughout the next day. In total 15 cars attended the event. On hand were two Hillman Huskys (a 1960 and a 1964 ), three early 60's Minx saloons (one with an Easidrive automatic), one 1961 Hillman Minx estate, two Hillman Minx convertibles (a 1959 and a 1962), a 1935 Aero Minx convertible, a 1959 Sunbeam Rapier hardtop, a 1953 Sunbeam Alpine, a 1958 Sunbeam Rapier convertible, two Sunbeam Tigers and one Hillman Imp (not sure of years).
HILLMANS ON HOLIDAYS SERIES II