The first of the new Rootes Group cars for 1958 is a revised Hillman Husky. In place of the former side-valve engine the excellent o.h.v. Minx 1,390 c.c. power unit is used, together with the bucket front seats and floor gear-lever as found in the Hillman Minx Special with which, as recounted on page 79, we were so favourably impressed. The Husky body remains a dual-purpose utility, but the 1958 version’s maximum load capacity (6 cwt.) is 1 cwt. greater and cargo space has been increased by more than 41 cu. ft. The back seat folds flush with the floor to provide a luggage platform over 50 in. in length (an increase of 7½ in.), but at the same time there is more space and although the new Husky is slightly lower than its predecessor. back seat headroom has been increased by 4 in. This useful 70 m.p.h. utility costs only £698 inclusive of p.t. and should be it a best seller.
It is interesting that the adoption of o.h. valves has resulted in a performance increase of 20 per cent. Now that Rootes have abandoned the side-valve Husky engine, only Ford, amongst British manufacturers, builds side-valve cars. Indeed, throughout the World the side-valve engine is virtually extinct.
At a Press party to introduce the o.h.v. Husky we were sorry to hear Mr. Geoffrey Rootes state, so soon after the Jubilee year of the Hillman, that the first Hillman Husky was introduced in the autumn of 1954. In fact, the first Hillman Husky was a handsome fabric-bodied sports tourer which was introduced in September 1928—a picture of one appeared in Motor Sport for November 1954. — W.B.