IN the 1950s the British car market was going for gold and had export sales in its sights.
Naturally aspirations were sometimes focused across the Atlantic and there were some brave attempts to net American sales.
Austin tried it with its jellymould Atlantic model, and another interesting enterprise was the Hillman Minx Californian.
As events were to prove, these models could do little to unseat the great American gas-guzzlers, but they were an interesting insight into how the UK perceived what Americans of the time should be driving.
But Hillman had an ace up its sleeve in the name of the Californian's designer, Raymond Loewy of Studebaker fame.
The marketing plan for the Californian was that it was poised to net sales in the so-called ‘personal coupe' sector of the US market.
It was aimed primarily at young couples who wanted a smart two-door for a reasonable outlay.
The Californian was essentially a 1953 Hillman Minx drophead with a permanent hardtop.
The rear screen was split into three sections and the roof came in contrasting paint.
There was a door pillarthat wound down out of sight along with the rear side window to give an unbroken window line when all windows were fully opened.
The wheelbase and overall length of the car remained the same as those of the four-door saloon and convertible permutations.