|Dan Zapico's 1959 Hillman Delivery (from Volume 12, Issue 127)
Different is good. One of the reasons people are drawn to hot rods in the first place is because they stand out from the average car on the road. In the sea of SUVs, minivans, and various other mundane vehicles we see daily, something cool and different really gets attention. Forget practical, forget room for the kids soccer team, and forget having 12 cup holders. Take that concept of different to the extreme, and you can wind up with what we have here - a 1959 Hillman Husky....which was converted from a wagon to a sedan delivery, and is now sporting a big ole Hemi engine. Big things do indeed come in small packages!
First off, not all that many people these days have even seen a Hillman. These little cars were produced by the Rootes Group, a one time major British auto company, who in the 1950s and 60s exported some of its cars to America in order to try and break into the market then dominated by GM, Ford and Chrysler. The sedan version was called the Hillman Minx, and the Husky was the wagon based on the same platform. With a 1390cc four cylinder engine, obviously their selling point was economy.....which makes the one pictured here seem rather ironic.
Powering Dans Hillman Husky is now a 392 cubic inch Hemi engine, which was set back 20% to distribute the increased weight, the result of which is a car that Dan says drives great. Behind the Hemi is a B&M Turbo 350 automatic with a 3,000 stall converter, and a 57 Pontiac rear end with .350:1 posi gears. All of that is fed by a 16 gallon fuel cell in the back, and cooled by a cross-flow radiator.
The car was built out in California in 2003, with Dan making a recent trade involving his 1951 Nash Sedan Delivery to get the Hillman. Obviously with the new motor came other changes. Ladder bars are now used in back, and a roll cage was also installed in the back portion of the car, and of course tubs fabricated to accommodate the big 18.5 inch wide rear tires.
The super straight exterior of the car received a nice coat of PPG bright tangerine paint, and Weld Draglite wheels help add some sparkle along with the various chrome exterior items. On the panel appears the fitting name Mini Delivery, plus youll find some nicely done pinstriping all around the car.
Inside things were kept basic, in the tradition of most pro-street cars. The setback firewall doubles as the dash, with a compliment of gauges to keep an eye on the engines vitals. A pair of race style bucket seats fill up the cockpit in the front, while the big rear tires do a good job of filling up the majority of the back.
There is little doubt that the combination has resulted in a real attention getting car, as when we came upon it at the Turkey Run there was never less than half a dozen people ogling it at any given time. The stance and the big rear tires draw people in....and the Hemi engine drops their jaws. If being original and standing out in the crowd is the goal, this little Hillman Husky shoots and scores big time. CN