A long forgotten '70s UK classic comes up for sale at auction
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It’s back to the Seventies with a roar, with an example of an almost-forgotten family car, the Hillman Avenger - and not only that, it’s an even rarer Tiger high-performance model of which only 200 were made.
The right-hand-drive MK1 Tiger from 1972 is being sold by Classic Car Auctions on December 2 is reckoned to be one of just 25 surviving examples worldwide from a limited run of 200 cars produced by the Chrysler Competitions Centre. It is estimated to sell for between £18,000 and £22,000 (NZ$34,000 and $42,000).
Built as a publicity exercise to promote the standard Avenger range, the Tiger has a host of distinctive features including “Sundance Yellow” paintwork with a matt black bonnet bulge (which was unique to the Mk1) and side stripes, a rear spoiler, Lucas auxiliary lamps on the front bumper and “Avenger Tiger” lettering on the rear quarters. It also had uprated suspension.
You can tell the Mk1 from the more numerous Mk2 due to the later car’s four round headlights and the deletion of the bonnet bulge, while the whole bonnet was painted matt black.
With enlarged valves and a brace of twin-choke Weber 40 carburettors attached, the 1,500cc engine developed a heady 92bhp. That doesn’t sound much by modern standards, but it was a whole 7bhp more than a Mk1 Ford Escort Mexico could muster, making the hotted-up Avenger a serious rival to Ford’s rally-bred special. For the record, road tests of the period revealed a top speed of 108mph, with 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds.
The car for sale has covered only 1,000 miles since a full restoration in 2009. The recorded mileage is 253,289 miles. With only five owners from new, the car is accompanied by an extensive history file, including the original bill of sale and every MoT certificate and tax disc, as well as a current MoT until June 2018.
The vendor’s meticulous maintenance over the past nine years includes a full restoration of the front seats, new headlining and carpets, as well as a mechanical overhaul including new Bilstein rear suspension and Weber carburettors.
The original, extremely rare, rev counter is not fitted but available with the car.
The vendor says that he has replaced all of the suspension bushes and had the anti-roll bar, trailing arm, top arms and brake reaction bars powder coated to match the car’s meticulous overall condition and beautifully detailed engine bay.
The front seats were fully restored, with leather instead of the regular Seventies vinyl, at a cost of £1,000.
The Avenger was produced by the former Rootes division of Chrysler Europe in three- and five-door form from 1970 to 1978. In 1976 it lost the Hillman nameplate and was badged as a Chrysler. Between 1979 and 1981 it was made by PSA Peugeot-Citroen, still in Britain, under the name Talbot Avenger.
Richard Greenhalgh, a specialist at Classic Car Auctions, said: “This is an extremely rare car. So few of the Mk1s were made that it’s no surprise that today they are so sought after worldwide, and this particular example is one of the best documented Series 1 Tigers left.”
- Telegraph UK