New Humber Super Snipe Series I to V
|Production||1958-1967 production 6,072 (I) 7,175 (II) 7,257 (III) 6,495 (IV) 3,032 (V)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon Estate car limousine|
|Engine||2651 cc Straight-6 ohv (I) 2965 cc ohv (II-V)|
|Transmission||3 speed manual Overdrive and automatic optional|
|Wheelbase||110 in (2,794 mm)|
|Length||185 in (4,699 mm) (I & II) 188 in (4,775 mm) (III to V)|
|Width||69.5 in (1,765 mm)|
|Height||62 in (1,575 mm)|
In October 1958, a new Super Snipe was introduced and, confusingly, the designation returned to the Super Snipe I but, this time, the variants were identified by a series number. The new car was based on the unitized chassis and body of the four-cylinder Humber Hawk, but with a new 2.6 litre, 2,651 cc, six-cylinder overhead-valve engine based on an Armstrong Siddeley design with bore and stroke of 82.55 millimetres (3.250 in) and near-hemispherical combustion chambers. The Rootes Group ceased production of the Series VA version in July 1967, by which time the group was under the control of the American Chrysler Corporation. The last of the big Humbers were assembled by Chrysler in Melbourne, Australia. Plans to introduce a V8 engine, and for the Chrysler 180/2L to be marketed as a Humber in the UK did not eventuate.
The Series I Super Snipe had a three-speed manual transmission with optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive on second and top gears, or Borg Warner DG automatic transmission. Power steering was available as an option. Also offered was a touring limousine model with glass partition.
The new Super Snipe was smaller on the outside, but larger on the inside, with improved performance and more modern appearance, similar to mid-1950s American Chrysler Corporation cars like the 1958 Plymouth Fury.
For the 1959 Series II, the engine was enlarged to 3 litres, 2,965 cc, by increasing the bore to 87.2 mm (3.4 in). Girling 11.5 in (292 mm) disc brakes were introduced on the front wheels with 11 in (279 mm) drums on the rear axle.
A Series II with overdrive and power steering was tested by The Motor in 1960 and had a top speed of 94.7 mph (152.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.5 seconds. A fuel consumption of 24.6 miles per imperial gallon (11.5 L/100 km; 20.5 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,601 including taxes. The basic car cost £1453.
1961 Humber Super Snipe series III
The styling of the 1960 Series III is distinguishable by its four headlights and revised full-width grille. The nose of the car had also been lengthened by 3.25 inches (83 mm) to accommodate an additional pulley mounted on the front of the crankshaft so that air conditioning could be included as an option, principally for the North American market.
The 1964 Series IV had a slightly higher-tuned engine giving 124.5 bhp (93 kW) as against 121 bhp (90 kW). It can be distinguished by its revised rear-window treatment (doesn't wrap around quite as much as earlier models), Snipe bird badge on grille, opening quarter-light windows in the rear doors, and other trim differences.
The final Series V version of the Saloon saw an upper body restyle, (also applied to the Hawk Saloon) with a flat roofline and rear window, six-light side windows and a larger, taller windscreen. The Estate body in both marques remained unchanged. Twin Zenith Stromberg 175CD carburettors were fitted along with a Harry Weslake tuned cylinder head, increasing the power to 128.5 bhp (95.8 kW), and synchromesh was fitted to all ratios in the gearbox—on the previous versions it had only been on the upper two. Hydrosteer power steering was available as an optional extra, as was an automatic transmission (Borg Warner Type 35 on Series VA), and metallic paint finishes. Rootes Group ceased Humber production with the Series VA in July 1967, by which time the company was under control of the American Chrysler Corporation, as Chrysler Europe. The last of the Humbers were assembled by Chrysler Australia at Fishermen's Bend Port Melbourne, Australia in the early 1970s. There were several attempts to fit existing Chrysler V8 engines in this body, but proved unsatisfactory. Advance plans and prototypes were produced for a completely new V6 motor installed into the Chrysler 180/2L and marketed as a Humber in the UK did not eventuate.
The Imperial version had a vinyl roof, automatic transmission and hydrosteer power steering as standard, though a manual 3-speed transmission could be ordered. It also featured electrically adjustable rear shock absorber settings, a rear heater and optional West-of-England cloth-trimmed seats.
Export markets & foreign assembly
While the post-World War II home market for the car continued as before, the Rootes Group also marketed the car for export. The Super Snipe was assembled in Australia, commencing in 1953 with the Mark IV. From 1956 the car was available with automatic transmission, but the model was discontinued shortly afterwards.
Super Snipes were also assembled in New Zealand for a number of years by Rootes Group and Chrysler importer Todd Motors which later became Mitsubishi New Zealand