Crapwagon Outtake: The Answer *IS* Miata

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
crapwagon outtake the answer is miata

I like the aesthetic properties of old British cars. The way they drive, leak fluids and operate on a sporadic basis is another matter.

So, what could be better than a British car with a modern, Japanese powertrain and modern brakes? As far as I’m concerned, not a whole lot. Ideally, I’d go one further, with a modern steering system and as much of the electrical system brought up to spec as possible (is that even possible?).

This Hillman Husky is pretty close to the ideal. With the drivetrain out of an early Miata, Willwood brakes with 4-piston calipers and a host of other modern upgrades, it remedies most of the faults (or charms) of Little British Cars. Unlike the coarse, utilitarian 1.8L BP-ZE motors, the early 1.6L engines were freer revving and had a modicum of character. Plus, it has the added benefit of not being an MGB or a Spitfire. You can keep your M Coupe. I’ll take something like this. And maybe convert it to carbs or ITBs, just to add a little bit of unpredictability to the mix.

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6 of 39 comments
  • Mx5ta Mx5ta on Mar 28, 2015

    I was doing some walking in my upstate NY village and noticed a tiny car sitting next to a shed outside one of the houses. Took a snapshot and shared it with a car-savvy friend, who correctly identified it as a Crosley. In my old radio collection is a Crosley radio, and olde-tyme baseball fans will recall Crosley Field in Cincinnati. As in this article, I daydreamed of buying this old lightweight and putting in a Miata motor. Wish I had the practical skills for such a far-out project.

  • Ron B. Ron B. on Mar 28, 2015

    you can still buy Crosley radios .Google them,it's a fascinating web site. As for fitting a Riley engine,I am sure it wont fit as the Riley was a tall engine from memory and the Hillman front crossmemeber was a biggish thing ,resembling a Mercedes ponton unit and would be in the way of the Riley sump.. A riley 1.5 would look great in a T bucket style rod with their almost 1920's appearance.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ron B. Ron B. on Mar 29, 2015

      @outback_ute Oh, OK. ha ha . The riley 1.5 is a heavy old dear though with all that wood and stuff in the roof ( like a fabric covered boat upside down ) . I would actually be thinking of a Mercedes 606 diesel .Smooth,Powerful (uop to 330Nm ) and really economical .But a better diff ratio would help. i think they had something like 4.10 -1 diffs. Lots of people i knew in my teens had hot hillmans and sunbeams, and yes they can be bored stroked and run reliably but that costrs mopney. A guy in the UK has a silver Alpine runing a Zetec and the whole deal runs really nicely. herwes a link to putting a Zetec in a sunbeam ....and a hillman husky too ,including a little info on adapating the EW to NS orientation.

  • JimC2 JimC2 on Mar 28, 2015

    Ahem. They don't leak fluids, they mark their territory!

  • -Nate -Nate on Mar 29, 2015

    That looks very nice . I had a $75 red & white 1959 Hillman Husky in 1972 , it was a wretched piece of crap , cruder than the aforementioned park bench but , in spite of several teeth being mangled on the ring gear so the starter jammed as often as it worked it was a dead reliable thing , heavy to push start though . I do love me some LBC's (one is parked in a small puddle of oil outside right now) Hillman's don't excite me much . -Nate