The Aero Minx
             
 

The Spanish Señorita

by Peter Ruben Larsen

 


It all started with a note in HOC Circular, newsletter from Hillman Owners Club.


A Spaniard called for members who were interested in a Hillman Aero Minx, or who would be
helpful in selling it.


I contacted the seller and received some pictures by mail. It was not a Cresta Saloon like ours. According to the pictures it was a reconditioned and very well maintained Aero Minx Streamline.

I wrote an email to the seller explaining that the car was extremely rare. If the car's condition was like the pictures, it was worth a lot of money. I gave him my assessment of the car and advised him to send it to an international auction. I did not have the funds to buy it myself. I got an email from the far East, thanking me for the information. He asked me to make an offer for the car. I replied that after deduction of travel expenses to inspect the car, repatriation, registration and legalization I could only offer him less than the worth of the car. After a few emails back and forth he asked me to buy the car, cash on delivery and with the proviso that the car was as described.


Happily I announced it to my wife. We already had discussed it, but my wife convinced me that the decision was wrong. Where to store the car, we had no room for it. What about the restoration of our second Aero Minx Cresta Saloon "Cleo"? etc. I had to concede and tell the seller that unforeseen obstacles had arisen, but I would gladly help him sell the car.


A week later our former Alfa-mechanic Henning visited us. Conversation turned to the Spanish Señorita, images were displayed along with the description of the car in the book " Art Deco and British Car Design". The Airline Cars of the 1930s. (by Barrie Down, Veloce Publishing 2010).


Henning immediately grabbed the idea: "We'll go down to have a look, if you arrange the trip".
Seller reaffirmed the terms of the deal. First we considered risk factors:
What if the car's condition was not as described?
What if it's an Internet fraudster who'll swindle us?
What if we were met by a couple of heavies who only want our money?


Our fears were brushed aside, the seller seemed genuine. Online information about him and his company in Barcelona was available. On we went. We had to find an easy way to get the car home. We could not risk driving a long distance because of its age. We could catch the motorail to Altona / Hamburg in Narbonne in southern France, but for the transportation from Barcelona to Narbonne we needed help. The Danish car rentals were not interested in our "little" problem. The local firms had only websites in Spanish, which none of us could understand. Luckily through a friend I got contact with a Dane, Sven, who lives outside Barcelona. Sven willingly helped us find a hauler who could take the car to Narbonne. Sven also promised to help us during the contact with the seller.


The flight tickets were booked well in advance with Cimber Air. If the deal was not on we at least got a few days of vacation in the exciting city of Barcelona. Oops, dark clouds appeared on the horizon. Cimber Air struggled to survive financial difficulties. Fortunately we left in time. All agreements were in place. Purchase agreement was written in advance, hotel booked and was ready. Now evrything went smoothly. Henning, I, Sven and the seller met exactly as agreed at Barcelona airport. The seller drove us to the garage where the car was stored. And oh, what a beauty. A local mechanic was called in to show us how to start it: Full choke and full hand throttle and the motor turned willingly. The acquisition was finalized over a lovely lunch at a tapas restaurant.The price was paid, the papers handed over and we got the key to the garage, so we could pick up the car the next day.


Ramblaen Gaudas


Catedral


In high spirit we went to our hotel: "Hotel Rubens" of course. The evening and the next day we spent inspecting the lovely city. We saw Gauda's Cathedral, the Rambla with street performers etc., shops filled with FC Barcelona stuff.


Exactly 5 minutes before the agreed time, the hauler drove into the street, where we waited. We had managed to get the car started, so it could drive from the underground garage. It was loaded and we drove north to Blanes, a small town where the hauler had a garage. Here the car was stored under lock and key for the night.


We shopped in a local Tesco. Delicious bread, cheese and red wine, etc. for our dinner. We got a small room at the local bar. The host could easily understand us when we ordered a room for the night and a couple of local beers (1£ each with tip), but he was completely baffled when vi asked for a receipt.


On time (07:00) the next morning the haulier's garage door was opened and out rolled the transporter with the Spanish Señorita loaded. No maniana, it was just Spanish precision. The trip went up along the Mediterranean coast through the Pyrenees to France and the railway station in Narbonne.


We had to wait a while. I went to the old part of town to buy a meal. This was a strange déjà vu experience, for here the streets were almost unchanged from my experience of a French provincial town in the 1980s, and you can still buy delicious hot baguettes served by a beautiful baker's girl! At departure the car would not start, but had to be pushed to start but I drove aboard in style. We had ordered a humble ticket. We were to share a compartment for 5 people. Henning, I, a young couple and an elderly lady (roughly our age). Time went by reading car magazines and lively chatter. I do not think Henning's and my mood went well with the elderly lady. At nine p.m. she announced that she wanted to sleep. She had the middle bunk, so when her bed was unfolded, Henning and I could not sit up any longer. We had to crawl to bed after having brushed our teeth in whisky!


It was a long night. My bunk was too short and the train rumbled through hundreds of points through Germany, but we arrived in Altona safe and sound next morning. Now the Señorita was opstinate, she would not start. So we had to push the coy Senõrita out onto the platform, which ended in the middle of a shopping mall. Henning's car was the big attraction. There were many guesses about the car's make and origin. Even a moderately drunk admirer had to be informed of the subtleties of British motor industry. We got in touch with John, Henning's friend who had come to meet us with a trailer, for the stubborn señorita. So we went to Denmark without further problems.

The damsel is now stored at Henning's workshop. After minor adjustments she was taken out for a short test drive. Now she waiting for her new shoes before she can get her residence permit. Henning look forward to presenting this stylish and rare car to the world and especially Danish Roots members.


Although it's not gentlemanly to reveal a lady's age and intimate details, we never the less end our story by revealing the following facts:
Conceived in 1932, born in 1933,
Side valve, 4-cylinder engine of 1,185 cc with bore / stroke 63x95 mm.
Compression ratio 6,3:1
Carburator: Stromberg D.36.
Marles Steering, dry single plate clutch.
Gearbox with 3 gears and reverse.
Mechanical Bendix brakes with 10 "drums.
On knock-of wire wheels, tire size 450x18 ".
The engine develops 37 B.H.P. At 4,400 rev. / Min.
Weight 800kg.
Top speed 113 km / h
Price in 1933 at 245 pounds.

 

 

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