Hampton Motor Group (HMG) [Generations II]
Overview and Early History
The Hampton Motor Group was established in 1948 in Warwick, England and has grown from relatively small beginnings to a major volume manufacturer. Its origins can be traced back to 1936, when the Warwick Motor Car Company was established. It was intended to launch with two models, the Voyager and Wayfarer, but the outbreak of the Second World War halted these plans due to the factory being destroyed by a Luftwaffe air raid. However, after the war, a young entrepreneur named Toby Hampton saw the potential in these two models, and bought out the entire company along with the rights to its model and engine range, renaming the former after himself in the process. By the autumn of 1947, the factory had been fully rebuilt, and production of the Voyager and Wayfarer commenced in the spring of the following year, marking the start of HMG as a whole.
Historic Model Range
This list will be updated as more models are added to this thread over time.
- 1948: Voyager (small car), Wayfarer (large car)
- 1956: Ferret (junior), Valiant (senior), Nevis (utility), Transtar (van), Shrike (small sports car), Peregrine (large sports car)
- 1960: Vanguard (full-size luxury car)
- 1966: Ferret II (compact), Valiant II (mid-size)
- 1969: Vanguard II (full-size luxury car)
- 1974: Fennec (subcompact)
- 1977: Ferret II (compact), Valiant III (mid-sized), Vanguard III (full-sized luxury car), Nevis II (large pick-up), Fairlie (small pick-up), Transtar II (van), Harpy (sports coupe)
- 1985: Fennec II (subcompact), Ferret III (mid-size), Valiant IV (full-size executive car), Vanguard IV (luxury sedan), Peregrine (sports car), Transtar III (van)
- 1987: Nevis III (pick-up), Transliner (people mover)
- 1991: Fennec III (subcompact), Valiant V (full-size executive car), Vanguard V (luxury sedan), * Venator (grand tourer), Braemar (SUV)
1948: Hampton Motor Group debuts, launches Voyager and Wayfarer
The Voyager served as HMG’s entry-level model in the company’s early years. It was very basic, with minimal interior trimmings and simple underpinnings inherited from the original Warwick blueprints to reduce costs. Initially, it was only offered as a four-door sedan, powered by a 35-horsepower 1.0-litre overhead-valve inline-four mated to a two-speed manual gearbox.
For those with bigger budgets, the Wayfarer offered an overhead-valve, 70-horsepower 2.0-litre inline-six in a larger, more spacious body, sharing its chassis layout (albeit lengthened) and two-speed transmission with the Voyager but with a more spacious and upmarket interior. Unlike the Voyager, the Wayfarer was only offered as a four-door sedan.
1952: First Updates for Hampton Range
In 1952, the entire Hampton model range was updated with larger, more powerful engines and new taillights. The Voyager’s base engine now displaced 1.25 litres and made 43 horsepower, and three new body styles (estate, 4-door convertible and 2-door coupe) were added.
In anticipation of the completion of the first motorways, a 1.5-litre version of the Voyager’s overhead-valve engine became optional that same year. Voyagers fitted with this larger engine were distinguished by a chrome strip running down their bonnets.
The Wayfarer also received an optional larger engine as well in the form of a 2.5-litre version of the straight-six, developing 90 horsepower. As with the Voyager, examples fitted with the optional engine also had their bonnets bisected by a chrome strip.
1952 also saw the adoption of automatic transmission (again with two forward speeds) as an optional extra on both the Voyager and Wayfarer. By then, both cars had sold well throughout Europe on account of their affordability and mechanical simplicity, but by 1955, the time had come to replace them both - and seeing that his company could not survive on European sales alone, Toby Hampton also decided to expand into the American market for 1956 with a new range of cars, built using platforms and engines that were designed fully in-house. A new and exciting chapter in the company’s history was about to begin…