Hillman Avenger : Plymouth Cricket
The Stateside Avenger
The B Car was developed by Rootes using Chrysler’s money; it was only a matter of time before the parent company in the USA decided to import it into the USA.
As a result, Chrysler sold the Linwood-built Avenger in the most demanding of markets under its Plymouth brand. Sadly poor quality and a lack of youth appeal compared with the all-conquering Volkswagen Beetle meant that sales would be limited… officially, the Cricket was offered in the USA between 1971 and 1973, and makes for an interesting case study in how not to market an imported sub-compact in the USA. British Leyland committed the same crime with its Austin Marina.
This table, compiled by Graham Arnold, summarises the Cricket’s life in the USA:
|The life and times of the Cricket|
|Cricket||20 Jan 1971||1,500cc (91.41 cu in.) 69bhp (net). 9.2:1 compression ratio. A Chrysler Plymouth press release dated 30 June 1970 stated that the Cricket was going to be shown to the automotive press forthe first time in November 1970. The first shipment of 280 Crickets from the UK arrived in the USA on 20 November 1970.|
|Cricket||23 Aug 1971||Optional twin carburettor available on the four-cylinder engine adding 15 horsepower and bringing the total up to 70bhp. The standard engine now also comes with an automatic choke.|
|Cricket Station Wagon||Spring 1972||1500cc(91.4 cu.in) 70bhp 8.5:1 compression ratio. It was fitted as standard with the optional twin carburettor set up of the sedan. Manual transmission standard, automatic optional. A Chrysler Plymouth press release issued on 23 February 1972 stated that the Station Wagon version was going to debut in early Spring of 1972.|
These press images of the Cricket were used to sell the car in the American market.
Plymouth Cricket saloon
The Cricket looked little different from its up-spec European cousins, as its 1971 launch precluded the addition of 5mph impact absorbing bumpers. This picture appears to have been taken back in the Whitley design centre in the UK.
Plymouth Cricket Estate
The stylish estate version was pushed hard by Chrysler, and many of these press images play heavily on its commodious load area.
Pictures kindly supplied by Graham Arnold