My history with the Easidrive transmission actually begins in the 1960's when I was a young boy. My father had been transferred from
Toronto to the newly renovated Rootes offices on West Broadway in Vancouver as Parts Supervisor. Once there he bought a one year old
1963 Series IIIC Hillman Minx for $900.00. The car had been bought new by an older lady the year before and was equipped with an Easidrive
automatic transmission. After countless trips back and forth to the Rootes dealer because of problems the old gal demanded her money
back and Rootes agreed to take the car back. My father told his boss he would buy the car if they ripped out the Easidrive and installed
the conventional four on the floor standard gearbox which they did. So I grew up hearing of the disaster that was the Easidrive and
actually bought that same Minx off my Dad in 1974 for the princely sum of $1.00 (you had to put an amount on the transfer form) which
I never actually paid him. He liked to remind me of that over the years but in my defence I was a cash poor high school student at
Interior before and after restoration. New vinyl on seat bottom (done by an upholsterer), parcel tray painted, floor undercoated and carpet installed (done by me)
Fast forward to early spring 2006 and Doug Bragg happens to mention on the Yahoo Hillman discussion group that he has been contacted
by someone wishing to sell their Minx. This Minx, he is told, is in excellent original condition with just over 30,000 miles on the
clock. The car is located in Saskatchewan and is a 1962 model with a functioning Stage II Easidrive automatic! After seeing some pictures
the seller had forwarded I was hooked. I contacted the seller and after several phone conversations, e-mails and more photos being
forwarded a price was agreed on and I arranged to have the car shipped out to B.C.
When the car finally arrived I was very pleased
with its condition. The paint was indeed the original and was in very good shape although it was in need of a good cut polish. There
had been some minor touch ups done on rock chips etc. over the years but nothing major. The only rust visible is some surface rust
on the inside lip of the wheel wells and a bit here and there under the hood (bonnet for our English friends). The underside of the
car, which has never been undercoated, is covered in most areas by a fine coating of surface rust but nothing structural that I can
see. This I find quite amazing considering that the car spent its life in and around Regina which is known for its long winters and
all the road salt that goes along with that. Apparently the original owner had only put about 30,000 miles on the car and then parked
it for 30 odd years. When she died it went to a nephew and then to the folks that I bought it off.
Engine bay before and after cleaning and painting
Since my new Hillman has arrived I have done quite a bit of work to it, mainly cleaning and painting of parts etc. To qualify for
B.C. collector plates (and cheaper insurance premiums) the car has to be very clean and well maintained so all of this was necessary
although I would have done it anyways. As I had imported the car from out of province it had to go through a B.C. provincial inspection.
It needed new brake shoes all around, new rear wheel cylinders, and one outer tie rod end. I had my friend's garage do the work and
the car then passed with flying colours.
As far as the transmission goes it actually works very well although it has a rough shift
from low to intermediate gear which I'd like to remedy. As I've driven the car more I'm learning that it's possible to smooth out
the shift by how I play with the accelerator. As there is probably no one who is familiar with these transmissions anymore I'm hesitant
to take it into a shop and really don't want to pull it out anyways so I'll probably just live with it as it is for now.
So here I
am 34 years later with another Hillman Minx parked in my garage, looking forward to (as the old Hillman ads proclaim) driving in style
for less per mile for many years to come.
1962 Series IIIC (WITH EASIDRIVE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION)
(Sold, March, 2011)