Hillman Master Hunter
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
For those living in the UK and not satisfied with the performance on offer from the stock Hillman Hunter, from Davenport Vernon, then Rootes main dealers at London Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, came a rather more sporting iteration - the "Master Hunter".
At the time the stock Hunter and Vogue engine produced 74 bhp with a single carrburettor. With twin carburettors and a different camshaft the Sunbeam
Rapier and Humber Sceptre power units developed 88 bhp. So it was obvious that the Hunter engine could be fitted with the hotter camshaft and another carburettor to boost performance.
And that's just what Davenport Vernon did, blessing the Master Hunter with performance very nearly equal to that of the rather heavier but much more streamlined Rapier. The additional Stromberg CD carburettor was fitted together with a new gas-flowed manifold, the air intakes being capped with small wire filters.
The rest of the Master Hunter package consisted of a vacuum servo on the brakes, Cosmic light alloy wheels
shod with Goodyear G800 165 x 13in. radial tyres, a leather-covered steering
wheel and a neat facia mounted Smiths 60mm dia.tachometer.
There was little doubt that the Master Hunter was the fastest Arrow-based car to 60 mph at the time, which was even more impressive when you consider that, in doing away with the overdrive, Davenport Vernon increased the final drive ratio to 3.7 to 1 (the overdrive
having been 3.89:1).
One must, in all fairness, really compare the Master Hunter's performance with that of the Rapier. Both cars took 6.2 seconds to reach 40 mph, but to 50 and to 60 the tuned car was 0.1 and 0.2sec faster, with times of only 8.9 and 12.6sec.
The maximum speed of 100 mph could be reached surprisingly often, but there was the possibility of a major snag if this speed was maintained. The Hunter and Vogue were fitted with single-piece propeller shafts, with critical whirling speeds at around 95 mph. For this reason the Sceptre and Rapier were fitted with two-piece shafts.
Without the benefit of overdrive
and a great deal of enthusiastic driving, the Master Hunter had a fuel consumption of 24.9 mpg: this compared favourably with the Rapier's 26.9. The major criticism of the Master Hunter was the roar coming from the carburettor intakes when the throttles were wide open. Road testers of the day reported that the sound initially sounded great, but over a long run quickly became a nuisance. There was an easy cure which meant only a very slight loss of power - Humber Sceptre air cleaners could be fitted.
The Goodyear tyres
improved roadholding greatly and were well worth the additional cost. Cornering speeds were much higher, and in the wet the tendency to slide about at the rear was greatly reduced. The light alloy wheels
had standard 4.5in wide rims and did not make any appreciable difference to the ride or handling.
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