Rootes Arrow - Iranian, Australian and New Zealand Ranges - Australia


Starting in 1967, Chrysler Australia Ltd assembled the Hillman Hunter from imported CKD packs at their Port Melbourne factory, which they inherited as part of Chrysler's acquisition of Rootes Australia.

Production commenced in 1967 with 2 models, designated as the HB series: the Arrow (with a trim level corresponding with the home market (United Kingdom) Minx, but with a front bench seat), and the Hunter.

These were replaced by the "HC" series in 1969. The major changes were adoption of the UK face-lifted Hunter radiator grille and rectangular headlights, and the renaming of the Arrow as the Hunter, retaining the Arrow's trim specification and bench seat. At the same time came the introduction of the Safari estate (known in Australia as a station wagon.) The "Safari" name was also used to identify the Australian Chrysler Valiant estate model. There was also the addition of two, new, more upmarket saloon variants: the Hunter Royal (corresponding in trim level with the UK Singer Vogue, but retaining the Hunter plastic moulded dashboard, with simulated wood trim), and the Hunter GT, which corresponded with the UK Humber Sceptre in trim level, but with the standard Hunter grille. These cars featured trim parts from various UK models, including UK Humber Sceptre bonnet ornaments.

The Safari estate was a popular seller — particularly as the competing Holden Torana was not available as an estate.

In 1971, the Australian version of the Hunter was face-lifted again, with the introduction of the "HE" series. Marketing of the car, plus its rear badges, referred to it as the "Hunter", rather than a "Hillman".

The facelift involved a change to the radiator grille, with new and smaller rectangular headlights. Also, the appearance of the rear of the car was changed with a flush trim panel under the boot lid and new twin-lens tail lights. Depending on the model, this panel was painted in the body colour or a matte grey — this facelift was unique to Australia.

Inside, the HE models received a new collapsible steering column, with the Valiant's steering wheel.

The model range was later modified again: a new cut price performance version called the Hustler was introduced. This was similar in concept and execution to the UK Hillman GT — a sparsely trimmed car with high performance.

The Hunter GT was renamed the Hunter Royal 660. Outside, this car gained Rostyle wheels. Inside, the car was trimmed in the same "buffalo grain" textured vinyl which also was to be found in the VG series luxury Valiant, the Regal 770.

These cars sold steadily, but they became overshadowed when Chrysler Australia commenced assembly of the Mitsubishi Galant in 1972. By this time, the Mitsubishi was a conspicuously more modern car, and by 1973, the Hunter was phased out, and became the last Rootes car to have been marketed in Australia. Chrysler Australia then closed the former Rootes factory, focussing Australian production at their Tonsley Park plant in Adelaide.

Read more about this topic:  Rootes Arrow, Iranian, Australian and New Zealand Ranges

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