Humber Hawk and Super Snipe (1957 – 1967) Review

Humber Hawk and Super Snipe (1957 – 1967) At A Glance


+Stately luxo-barge, effortless performance in Snipe straight-six form

-Four-cylinder Hawk far less refined

The 1957 Humber Hawk was a very different car to the one that it replaced. It was underpinned by a new unitary construction stucture, and was now clearly a product of the late-1950s, and not one based on a pre-war car. It was claimed to be the largest bodyshell being built in the UK at the time, and it certainly was big compared with the opposition.

It was powered by a 2267cc overhead valve engine from the previous generation of Hawk, giving 83mph from its 73bhp. Series II cars had disc brakes, but the biggest change to the family came with the Series IV of 1964, when the cabin changed to a sleeker profile with more glass, echoing the changes made to the Hillman Super Minx Series III.

The Hawk body was also shared with the Humber Super Snipe, launched a year later in 1958. The main difference between this and the Hawk was that the Super Snipe was powered by a six-cylinder engine, and had a more luxurious interior. The original 1958 Series Super Snipe had a 2651cc six-cylinder engine, which rose to 2965cc the following year. For 1960 the nose was smartly restyled with quadheadlamps, one of the first British cars to have this arrangement. The final Super Snipes were built in 1967 and were (eventually and partially) replaced by the Chrysler 180.

Ask Honest John

Which car was best value - the Humber Hawk or the Humber Super Snipe?

"Which car was best value - the Humber Hawk or the Humber Super Snipe? "
These are the 'Series' cars - 1 to 4 for the Hawks and 1 to 5 for the Super Snipes. Both cars shared the same unitary body when launched: the Hawk in 1957 and the Snipe a year later in 1958. As for best value, well wood and leather featured in both cars. The Super Snipe was always regarded as more upmarket than the Hawk; especially the Imperial version that launched in 1964 featuring a lot of extra equipment as standard. The main difference between the Hawk and the Snipe was the engine. Steve Lewis, Historian for PVHCC, says: 'The Hawk had a 2267cc 4-cyl engine developing 78bhp 22-24 mpg. Four-spd column change gearbox with overdrive and auto options. Initial leather but then Vynide upholstery with a bench seat up front. An estate version was also available. 'The Super Snipe had an advanced six-cyl engine of 2651cc capacity initially and then a year later to 2965cc. Over the production period of the cars from 1958 to 1967 the bhp went from 121bhp to 129.5bhp. MPG is around 18-22mpg. In 1960, the Ser3 Super Snipe had twin headlamps up front, the first British car to have this feature. Estate versions also available as was o/drive and auto boxes. 'Regarding which is the best value - from a pure mpg perspective the Hawk but for luxury, the Super Snipe. Today, our Club, The Post Vintage Humber Car Club manufactures a range of replacement parts for both cars covering chrome, rubber parts including screen rubbers and steel repair sections. Details can be found at ''. Both cars are quite rare today; the estates even more so, so if you're after one you'll have to do some searching. The Club can help. Rust is a big issue on both but parts are available via the club. Mechanically, both are quite strong, though.
Answered by Keith Moody

What is causing my Ford to 'whine'?

"On taking ownership of this car almost a year ago I noticed a soft whine that varied with engine speed. Not being used to twin clutch boxes I took it to the local Ford dealer for confirmation that disaster was not imminent. A steering pump reservoir, steering pump and steering rack later there is absolutely no difference except extra noise on full lock. Should I be concerned or just learn to live with it? The whine is not unpleasant - reminds me of a family friend's Humber Super Snipe we used to get lifts in during the 1950s."
Never ever hold a powered steering rack on full lock or you will damage it. I didn't notice a soft whine from the Powershift in the S-Max when I tested it, nor in two Focus, nor in a Mondeo. I was driving Hyundai's and Renault’s latest dual clutch gearboxes recently, and no whine from them either. But it has always been the case that one apparently identical transmission may while a bit, while another doesn't. This does not necessarily lead to disaster. Happily no reports of failures of Powershift boxes at all so far, and they have been around for more than three years.
Answered by Honest John
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