1991: Hampton Enters the Modern Era
The early 1990s saw the most drastic changes to the Hampton lineup as a whole. Most of their range was powered by an all-new range of all-alloy engines with multi-point EFI, four-valve dual-overhead-cam heads, and variable intake valve timing, making them the most advanced and efficient engines the company had made up to that point. In addition, many of their models were either completely redesigned or significantly updated during this time. Their range for 1991 included the following vehicles:
Fennec III - Hampton’s entry-level hatchback, with subcompact dimensions and good fuel economy making it an ideal fit for urban driving. Its curvaceous, cheerful styling was in complete contrast to the boxy, angular lines of its predecessor.
1991 Fennec range, from left to right: 1.6 Essence 5-door, 1.8 Prime 3-door, and 2.0 Prime 3-door.
Ferret - Revised for 1991 with a minor front- and rear-end facelift. All-alloy HE6 (High Efficiency 6-cylinder) range of straight-six engines are the only powertrain options available in the US market as the Ferret moves upmarket.
1991 Ferret range, from left to right: 2.8 Prime sedan, 2.8 Prime wagon, 3.0 Deluxe convertible, and 3.2 Supreme coupe.
Valiant Mk. V - Now available only as a 4-door sedan or 5-door estate, the Valiant is built on an all-new platform with a double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear end - the first Hampton ever with such an advanced setup.
1991 Valiant range, from left to right: 2.8 Prime sedan, 2.8 Prime estate, 3.0 Deluxe sedan, and 4.5 Supreme sedan.
Vanguard Mk.V - The most luxurious and prestigious mainstream car Hampton has made to date, built on a long-wheelbase version of the Mk.V Valiant platform. Air suspension is optional on the 4.5 V8 Supreme and standard on the 6.0 V12 Elite; however, both models come with adaptive dampers as standard.
1991 Vanguard range, from left to right: 4.5 V8 Supreme, 6.0 V12 Elite.
Venator - This flagship 2-door grand tourer effectively replaced the Valiant and Vanguard Coupes, and was offered as a coupe or convertible. It shared its engines and air suspension with the fifth-generation Vanguard.
1991 Venator range, left to right: 4.5 V8 convertible, 4.5 V8 coupe, 6.0 V12 convertible, 6.0 V12 coupe.
Transliner - Updated for 1991 with a mild exterior facelift and a more powerful 2.0L 16-valve straight-four as the standard engine.
1991 Transliner showing its revised front end.
Braemar - Built on an adapted Nevis III platform, and powered by all-iron, single-overhead-cam, 12-valve versions of Hampton’s straight-six - the HD6 (Heavy-Duty Six-Cylinder). 4x4 with manually locking differentials are standard across the board, as they are on the Nevis.
1991 Braemar range, from left to right: Braemar 4x4 2.8 and Braemar 4x4 3.2.
Nevis III - Also powered by the Hampton HD4 straight-six, this facelifted version boasted improved performance and efficiency.
1991 Nevis III 2.8 (left) and 3.2 (right) - the other workhorses of the Hampton range.
Transtar - Updated to Series II specification for 1991, and now powered by the HD4 (Heavy-Duty 4-cylinder) engine, in addition to being facelifted, but otherwise mostly unchanged. The Transtar remains the workhorse van of the Hampton lineup, as it has always been since its introduction in 1956.
1991 Hampton Transtar 2.2 Series II making a delivery run through the desert.
This large-scale modernization of the entire Hampton range cost the company billions of pounds to implement - but the newly promoted Chairman Tony was confident that he could recoup his investment within a reasonable time frame, as were his colleagues. By 1991 the core range was mostly sorted out - but Chairman Toby had bigger ambitions in mind as well. The Group A racing program was gone by then; however, a complete absence of performance models would not be tolerated, and to that end, Toby wanted a range of dedicated sports cars to join the range, from the affordable end of the performance car spectrum to the rarefied air of exotica. It would not be until the following year that they would be launched, though, but Toby assured his customers that they would all be worth the wait.