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Hillman Minx Californian (1953 - 1956)

Last updated 26 March 2013

A step towards modernity for Rootes, better to drive than to look at, Studebaker-inspired styling works well
Aimed at the American market, not many car here in the UK


The Hillman Minx Californian was conceived for the American market. The USA was always a big target for British car firms in the aftermath of WW2 and the subsequent export drive, and Hillman had a head start on its competitors thanks to Studebaker-inspired styling by American Raymond Loewy.

As its name suggested the Californian coupé was designed to target the 'personal coupe' market with a car that young couples could buy for a very reasonable outlay. In essence, it was a 1953 Minx drophead coupé with a permanent hardtop attached. The top half of the car featured a split three-piece rear screen that was was very eye-catching and the roof’s contrasting paint made the car stand out. However, it didn't sell in the numbers anticipated of it - mainly because when Americans wanted to buy British cars, they wanted all-out sports cars.