The Hillman Car Company was founded in the Midlands city of Coventry in the late Ninteenth century.

At that time Coventry was the UK epicentre of the motorcycle manufacturing industry.

Aiming to make his name and his fortune at that exciting time was a young, recently qualified engineer by the name of William Hillman.

Hillman's first step in the world of transportation was to form a partnership with John Kemp Starley to manufacture motorcycles.

Although Hillman and Starley enjoyed a lot of success with their new venture, there was some friction between them, and soon the pair decided to go their separate ways, with Starley going on to establish the Rover Car Company.

Hillman wasted little time in forming his own bicycle manufacturing company, trading as Auto Machinery.

Auto Machinery turned out to be an outstanding success, and at the dawn of the Twentieth century, Hillman found himself a very wealthy man, with ambitions to channel his capital and his expertise into the infant car manufacturing industry.

Thanks to having almost unlimited funds at his disposal, in 1907, Hillman made his entry into the car industry in some style.

The first Hillman to see the light of day was the 24HP Hillman-Coatalen (named after its designer), entered into the 1907 Tourist Trophy.

Despite not finishing the race after being involved in an accident, the Hillman-Coatalen had done enough to make an impression to those in attendance, in particular members of the press.

However, that initial success came at a price when Coatalen, inspired by his part in Hillman’s early success, decided to leave Hillman to join another recently formed and rapidly burgeoning Midlands car manufacturer, Singer- a spin-off of the highly successful sewing machine concern.

Not one to feel sorry for himself, Hillman wasted little time in establishing his own in-house design team, staffed by a group of designers, possibly less talented than Coatalen, but certainly more loyal.

With the help of his new design team, Hillman released a steady succession of conventional models, including a 6.4-litre four-cylinder model and a massive 9.7-litre six-cylinder touring car, although in small quantities.

In 1913 Hillman launched the 9HP, which not only survived the First World War but also went on to be a steady seller well into the Nineteen Twenties.

Even then, Hillman developed a policy that stayed with the company almost through their entire history.

That policy was to develop a winning design and allow it to evolve during its production life gradually while keeping the same winning format.

It was not until 1926 when the 9HP had been in production for thirteen years that Hillman launched its replacement, the 14HP.

In 1928, Hillman merged his company with his near neighbour in Coventry, Humber Motors.

Just four years later the two companies became part of the wide-ranging Rootes Group in 1932, which also included the in-house developed Talbot brand, along with Commer trucks.

In the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Second World War as well as directly after, Hillman cars were marketed under several other Rootes marques, with the company feeling the benefits from being under the umbrella of the giant car group.

From 1945 private car assembly for all of the Rootes Group was concentrated into a modern, ex-"shadow factory" at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, close to Coventry.

Hillman focused on building the small-medium Minx models, with one type succeeding another, with similar models using the same body marketed under the Rootes owed Singer and Sunbeam labels.

In the first twenty post-war years, the long-running Hillman Minx used only three basic body shells and two types of engine.

It was not until the Sixties that Hillman grew up a little with the launch of the Super Minx.