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Old 06-11-2013, 11:05 PM
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Rootes Arrow 1966-1979

Rootes Arrow

Rootes Arrow was the manufacturer's name for a range of cars produced under several badge-engineered marques by the Rootes Group (later Chrysler Europe) from 1966 to 1979. It is amongst the last Rootes designs, developed with no influence from future owner Chrysler. The range is sometimes referred to by the name of the most prolific model, the Hillman Hunter.

A substantial number of separate marque and model names applied to this single car platform. Some were given different model names to justify trim differences (Hillman GT, Hillman Estate) and that from time to time all models were sold in some European markets under the Sunbeam marque (Sunbeam Sceptre for instance), and at other times used UK marque/model names. To add complication, Singer Gazelle/Vogue models were also sold in the UK for one season badged as Sunbeams after the Singer brand was withdrawn.

The models sold – not all concurrently – were, alphabetically by marque:
  • Chrysler Hunter
  • Dodge Husky
  • Hillman Arrow, Hillman Break de Chasse, Hillman GT, Hillman Hunter, Hillman Hustler and Hillman Minx
  • Humber Sceptre
  • Singer Gazelle and Singer Vogue
  • Sunbeam Alpine and Sunbeam Rapier fastback coupés
  • Sunbeam Arrow, Sunbeam Break de Chasse, Sunbeam Hunter, Sunbeam Minx, Sunbeam Sceptre, and Sunbeam Vogue

The most prolific model within the Arrow range, the Hillman Hunter, was the Coventry-based company's major competitor in the medium family car segment. In its 13-year production run, its UK market contemporaries included the Ford Cortina, Morris Marina and Vauxhall Victor, although model positioning within the range meant competition with some larger cars as well, including the Austin 1800.

The Arrow range extended to several body styles: saloon, estate, fastback coupé and a pick-up (sold mainly in South Africa as the Dodge Husky). Depending on the model, they had two doors or four doors. Not all marques were represented in all body styles, with the coupés being reserved for Sunbeam.

Development

The Arrow range was conceived in 1962. Following the Hillman Imp, consideration was given to developing a larger rear-engined car, but this concept was dismissed, and the engineering settled on for the new car was more conventional and closer to the layout of the existing Audax series (which included the previous Hillman Minx).

With cash-strapped Rootes struggling amid continuing engine cooling problems with the Imp, which often resulted in warped cylinder heads, the cautious Arrow broke little new engineering ground. New parts were largely based on tried and tested Rootes components, using a new but strong 5-bearing version of the well-proven 1725 cc overhead valve petrol engine as a starting point which varied in output from 66 bhp (49 kW) to 88 bhp (66 kW) (in the Humber Sceptre). The engine was inclined by a modest 15 degrees, to allow for a lower bonnet line and to enable packaging of the carburettors. This engine was further uprated by specialists Holbay, employing two Weber 40DCOE carburettors to produce 107 bhp (80 kW) for the Sunbeam Rapier H120 and Hillman Hunter GLS. A smaller 1500 cc engine was the standard for manual versions of the Hillman Minx and the Singer Gazelle, and the Hillman Hunter DeLuxe model which succeeded the Minx. Automatic models were all powered by the 1725 cc engine. Particular attention was paid to weight and cost to bring the vehicle in line with its natural competitors, including the Mark 2 Ford Cortina.

For the first time in a Rootes car MacPherson strut suspension featured at the front, with a conventional live axle mounted on leaf springs at the rear. Other firsts for Rootes in the new car were curved side glass and flow-through ventilation.

Manual transmissions were available in 4-speed form with an optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive, or Borg-Warner automatic transmission, again as an option. Initially, the Borg Warner Type 35 3-speed automatic was offered, then the Type 45 4-speed automatic became available in 1973.

The handbrake was situated between the driver's seat and door (i.e. on the driver's right-hand side for a right-hand drive car) rather than between the front seats. This followed the practice in the 'Audax' cars.

The first Arrow model to be launched, the Hillman Hunter, was presented as a replacement for the Hillman Super Minx. The Hunter was lighter than its predecessor and the wheel-base of the new car was actually 21⁄2 inches (6.4 cm) shorter than that of the old, but the length of the passenger cabin was nonetheless improved by moving the engine and the toe-board forwards.

For the first two years there were few changes. However, in May 1968 power assisted brakes were made available as a factory fitted option. Hitherto this possibility had been offered only as a kit for retro-fitting: it was stated that the factory fitted servo-assistance, at a domestic market price slightly below £13, would be cheaper for customers.

A mild facelift in 1970 gave new grilles to the various Hunter trim levels, and some derivatives gained a (then) more fashionable dashboard, exchanging wood for plastic, but the car remained fundamentally the same throughout its life.

A more detailed facelift for 1972 brought a new all-plastic dashboard with deeply hooded round dials (earlier versions had either a strip speedometer or round dials in a flat dashboard for more expensive models like the Vogue), new steering wheel, plastic instead of metal air cleaner, reshaped squarer headlamps in a new grille and some engine tuning changes.

For 1975, bumpers were enlarged and the tail lights were enclosed in a full-width anodised aluminium trim piece.

Following the 1967 acquisition of Rootes by Chrysler, the Arrow derivatives were rationalised until only the Hillman Hunter version was left by 1976, at which time it was re-badged as a Chrysler, which it was to be for the remaining 3 years of its life. Hunter production was switched in 1969 to Rootes' troubled Imp plant in Linwood, from its original home of Ryton.

Sales were lower after 1975 following the launch of the Chrysler Alpine, a similar sized car but with front-wheel drive and a hatchback bodystyle, at a time when rear-wheel drive saloons still dominated in this sector.

Following the Hillman Avenger's move to Linwood in 1976, the very last European Hunters were assembled in the Santry plant, Shanowen Road, Ireland from "complete knock down" (CKD) kits until production ended in 1979 – but no evidence exists to suggest that the Talbot badge was applied to any production Hunter following Chrysler Europe's 1978 takeover by Peugeot, and the application of that badge to other Chrysler models sold on or after 1 August 1979.

The final Chrysler Hunter was built in September 1979 in Porirua, New Zealand, and was donated to the Southward Museum. In 2000 the Museum sold the car to a private collector.

Source: wikipedia.org
Attached Images
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:08 PM
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Rootes Arrow #2
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File Type: jpg Arrow_s 01.jpg (296.3 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg autowp.ru_hillman_hunter_safari_1.jpg (442.4 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg autowp.ru_hillman_hunter_safari_2.jpg (443.0 KB, 3 views)
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Last edited by Ferrer; 06-11-2013 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:10 PM
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Rootes Arrow #3
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File Type: jpg Chrysler Hunter 01.jpg (429.1 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg GTS-2.jpg (744.6 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Hillman-Hunter-estate.jpg (885.8 KB, 1 views)
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:11 PM
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Rootes Arrow #4
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Old 10-26-2014, 02:11 PM
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alpine, arrow, chrysler, coupe, dodge, estate, hillman, hunter, husky, rapier, rootes, saloon, sunbeam


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