Hillman Avenger : Avenger production in New Zealand

Avengers in New Zealand

To celebrate the opening of Todd Motor’s Todd Park car plant at Porirua, Wellington, the December 1974 issue of NZ Motor World ran a large feature of Todds and their operations. Within the feature was a full page glossy colour spread of a car on their production lines, a yellow Hillman Avenger Super 1600.

Assembly at Todd Park, 1974

Within the next few photos, we follow this car’s creation, from a set of pre-pressed bare steel panels, to the finished product.

Building the body. After the imported parts (from  the UK)are unboxed, they are assembled by welders using precision jigs.

Building the body. After the imported parts (from the UK) are unboxed, they are assembled by welders using precision jigs.

The Todd Park Plant takes each car through a series of processes starting with the electrocoating tank where all metal components are rustproofed.

The Todd Park Plant takes each car through a series of processes starting with the electrocoating tank where all metal components are rustproofed.

After two coats of primer the surface is wet sanded in readiness for the final coats of paint (Note the Valiant on the line in front, and the Hillman Hunter directly behind).

After two coats of primer the surface is wet sanded in readiness for the final coats of paint (Note the Valiant on the line in front, and the Hillman Hunter directly behind).

The body is sprayed with enamel then baked.

The body is sprayed with enamel then baked.

The body is lowered onto the powertrain - engine, transmission and suspension (1600cc with four-speed manual).

The body is lowered onto the powertrain - engine, transmission and suspension (1600cc with four-speed manual).

Through the water spray booth to check for leaks.

Through the water spray booth to check for leaks.

Finally the 'soft trim' - carpeting and seating (vinyl trim) - is installed.

Finally the 'soft trim' - carpeting and seating (vinyl trim) - is installed.

Finally, the we see the finished product! Shown also are a Valiant Regal, Hillman Hunter and Hillman Avenger Alpine.

Finally, the we see the finished product! Shown also are a Valiant Regal, Hillman Hunter and Hillman Avenger Alpine.

All photos and quote text from ‘New Zealand AA Motor World’ – December 1974. Story by Shannon Stevenson.

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4 Comments on "Hillman Avenger : Avenger production in New Zealand"

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  1. Geoff says:

    In Australia if not also in NZ & South Africa, this sort of assembly was known as CKD – Completely Knocked Down. A complete set of parts imported minus stuff that could be sourced locally, e.g. tyres, batteries, often also window-glass & upholstery. Re the story in question, all significant parts for the Valiant NZ ‘Regal’ would have been ex-Chrysler Australia. In Oz, we never saw the Alpine, but the Hillman Hunter was a small-car contender before succumbing to Mitsubishi product via Chrysler’s co-operations of the time. Around 1980 Chrysler Oz was totally taken-over by Mitsubishi. The local ‘Valiant’ cars continued for less than a couple of years. Chrysler has reappeared as an importer in it’s own right in the 2000’s.

    Mitusbishi continued as a manufacturer in Oz until maybe 3-4yrs ago with adapted-to-Oz product. Nissan departed a few years before that so we’re left with Holden (GM), Ford & Toyota operations. The situation is precariously balanced – if one futher manufacturer leaves the supplier base is likely to fail. Hoping it doesn’t happen….

  2. g scot says:

    tax jap imports

  3. Andrew Elphick says:

    Mr Scot those Japanese manufacturers produce the majority of the British built new cars today.

  4. RayCee says:

    In New Zealand, the Hillman range was replaced by Mitsubishis. Some NZ sales I found (hopefully accurate) that shows the effect: In 1975 Hillman sales 8,950, Mitsi 1,425. By 1978, Hillman 1,225, Mitsi 6,100. I think 1978 was the year Todd Motors finished Hillman assembly in NZ.

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