Tech Tips:
Restore or upgrade?
(a strategy for objectives and sequence)

From: Atkin, Bill (BHH) [Bill.Atkin(at)boxhill.org.au]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 10:40 AM
To: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: RE: "Hillman HALP an Ozzie

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Dear Hillman Team

I have a conundrum and request information and advice to help solve it.

1)  I have a 1939 Hillman minx 2 door sports tourer called Evie (took me two years to figure out exactly what it was).  It is registered and roadworthy in Victoria (AUS) at a good functional non-concours standard.  It has a hunter engine and some minor modifications.

Problem:  After a full overhaul at the mechanics (brakes tune etc), Evie was going beautifully at 48 mph for a good hour on Cup WE down to Phillip Island = magnificent.  But then rattle and bump in the engine and it stopped.  It was difficult to start but then did. (oops I think).  I tried to crawl 2 km to the garage I could see.  Max speed was 30 with loud rattling.  Then stopped.
After a long rest it could start but rattle came back. RACV (thank God for ExtraCare!) reckoned it was a camshaft bearing needing a whole extrication and regrind etc = approx 9-1200 megamillionbucks.

Now I basically intended to get Evie her own flathead and go the restoring route.  Keeping her on the road was for fun.  I don't want to blow the budget on a sideshow.  I reckon I might do better going straight for a sidevalve motor rather than all these repairs.  (If I do does anyone want hunter motor parts?)

Maybe I should try and swap a dodgy hunter motor (recently in good nick) for some kind of flathead.

2)  But wait, there's more.  I managed to get hold of a 61 humber hawk (Harold) in really good shape.  Lots of expired rubber and a bit of auto transmission trouble but very nearly roadworthy.  It was too good to gut so I am holding onto it as project #2.  I am not sure if the motor would even fit in Evie's engine bay.  It would probably give her a stroke anyway.

3)  And yet more... A recent arrival of a sweet 1939 minx sedan (Barnaby) going with its seemingly original motor, lots of smoke and fumes, and some serious archaelogical body-work to do.

4)  So there you have it.  I like the idea of having the two 1939 minxes up and going in some kind of restored condition.  They could then sit up next to their two 1938 older sibs up North and look pretty smart.

Do I just get the hunter motor repired and take it on the chin?  Do I switch straight up to a flatty for Evie?  Can I hang on to Harold.

5)  By now you will have realised that I am a little hooked on this.  Irene (SWMBO) has sweetly coped with two ancien regime vehicles displacing her lovely new car from the garage as well as Harold filling up my suburban backyard.  I think my time may be running out.....


Bill Atkin

From: Jan Eyerman [jan.eyerman(at)usa.net]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 11:03 AM
To: Bill.Atkin(at)boxhill.org.au; hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: "Hillman " '39 Minx Engine

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.


You really only have two options on the '39 Tourer.... a "new" engine from a good running Hunter (one that you can test drive before you pull it out) or a flat head (side valve).

The Hunter engines have at least twice as much horsepower (and maybe three times as much) and can rev far, far more then the original side valve.  Your '39 with a side valve would be a 35-40 MPH car and would have trouble exceeding 60 MPH.  However, it would be very original.  A Hunter engined car would be much faster.  What do you want?

I do not believe the Humber Hawk engine would be a viable swap.... partially because it is longer and probably would not fit.  When Rootes installed the Humber 4 cyl 2 liter in the Talbot 10 (basically a Minx) they had to lengthen the wheelbase several inches.

Buying a complete, running Hunter is probably cheaper by far then getting a Hunter engine rebuilt by a repair shop.

Jan Eyerman

(in Flanders NJ where '39 Minxes are only something we can dream about!).

From: Chuck Hillman [hillmanminx(at)hermon.net]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 12:18 PM
To: Atkin, Bill (BHH)
Cc: hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman HALP an Ozzie

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

Hi Bill,
        Please convey to Irene that us Yanks are very envious of you having two '39 Minx cars.  Please be patient with Bill, since we will follow closely his (your) decision on what course of action to take on the disposition of these treasures.  Just think, ten years from now you both want to look back and say that you together worked out a plan to save an antique relic, keep the peace in the suburban neighborhood, and maintain marital bliss.
        There, now I need to go to the garage and get some work done on the relic that is keeping SWMBO's nice car outdoors in the rain and frost each morning.  It is below freezing most AMs now.   Scraping the frost is time consuming, right when we need to be on our way.  And the back yard is full of junkers that need to be stripped and hauled away (Toyota truck, Nissan truck, Daewoo, projects, the Hillmans can stay),

From: Graham Robinson 62 Husky [Leslie3008(at)bigpond.com]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 2:13 PM
To: Atkin, Bill (BHH); hillman@can-inc.com
Subject: Re: "Hillman HALP an Ozzie

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.

If you or someone has gone to the trouble of putting in a 1725 in the 39 then practically any 1390, 1500, 1600 or 1725 will fit in and be much better than the original flathead.  Obviously a cast iron head not an alloy version!
Drain the sump and see what sort of metal you get in the mix, if little it may be easier to drop the sump and remove all the caps and slippers to see how bad the RATTLE is or damage caused before you buy lottery tickets, maybe new slippers might fix it temporarily.  If it's bad then remove the engine for the replacement motor.  If it's a rattle it may be more than bottom end problems as bottom end makes bigger rumbles rather than rattles.
The thing that amuses me is that the brakes must have been improved as well?  as these things don't stop well even with the flathead engine.  Probably you slow down before you have to brake hard or is this wishfull thinking.
As Jan puts it the Hawk engine is very long in stroke and length as well being much heavier forget it in the 39.

From: Vic Hughes [v.hughes(at)student.canberra.edu.au]
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 9:23 AM
To: Atkin, Bill (BHH); 'hillman@can-inc.com'
Subject: Re: "Hillman HALP an Ozzie

This message forwarded by the Hillman List.


So, are you planning to keep all three cars and what roles do you see for them?  Daily drivers?  weekend cars?  show cars?

Seems to me you have two cars that you can get mobile fairly easily and a third (Barnaby) that will take a lot more effort and money.  My inclination would be to do the easy ones first.  As Evie is regd and roadworthy, I'd probably try to get a good running second hand Hunter engine (as Jan has suggested) to transplant thus getting her mobile and useable again.  This gets you a fun car to drive again. At this time I'd be inclined to not convert her back to flathead for two reasons first, depending on what has been done to fit the Hunter motor, it may not be as simple as you think.
Second, you may be disappointed with the level of performance.

Next I would get the tranny and tyres on Harold fixed, then you have two driveable cars.  SWMBO will be impressed that you have achieved this so quickly.  And you will be able to move them around easily, plus take them places to get other little things fixed.  After that I would focus on Barnaby who is likely to consume more time and resources.  I would do the bodywork first, then rebuild and reinstall the original motor.  When Barnaby is up and running you will know how the flathead motor performs and will be in a better position to decide whether to convert Evie back.

Cheers, Vic

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