Posts Tagged “50 years”


IN 1967 seatbelts were an aftermarket accessory, there were about 450,000 cars sold in Australia and the average family sedan cost about $2000.

This year an estimated 1.15 million new and used cars will exchange hands with an average small car going for about $25,000 but featuring more mod-cons — such as reversing cameras, keyless entry and rain sensing wipers — than anyone ever dreamt of back in the swinging ’60s.

So much has changed in the automotive industry in five decades with autonomous cars, which drive themselves, looming as the next big thing.

But the one constant on the Central Coast has been “the big local” with Brian Hilton Motor Group celebrating its 50th anniversary last week.

Starting out as a second-hand car yard, the family business became a Peugeot and Renault­ dealership before becoming predominantly a Toyota dealer in 1972.

It moved just up the road to its current sprawling North Gosford location in 1985.

“At the time it was one of the biggest facilities in the country,” dealership principal Joshua Hilton said.

“It was quite ahead of its time. It’s allowed us to grow into it.”

Starting with just a few employees, Brian Hilton Motor Group now has more than 300 staff across nine dealerships including six on the Coast and others at Taree, Forster and Mascot.

Mr Hilton said he was very proud of his father’s foresight to get into the automotive industry and the family business had managed to “remain together and remain strong” during the economic ups and downs over the years.

“I know there’s quite a few old Toyotas — and Peugeots and Renaults for that matter — still running around with Brian Hilton stickers,” he said.

Mr Hilton said it was not just cars that had changed dramatically since his dad began selling second-hand motors but the dealership model was also vastly different with the whole servicing and vehicle financing side of the business.

While a new car cost about $2000 in the late 1960s Mr Hilton said engineering advances meant cars were better featured, safer and more reliable than ever. And because they were galvanised and spray-painted robotically “they don’t rust like they used to”.

“As a cost of living, the affordability­ of a car has come down,” he said.

“New cars have never been more affordable.”


2017 Toyota Corolla

Price: $21,240 — $31,920

Engine: 1800cc variable cam timing fuel injection

Power: 103kW

Length: 4620mm

Width: 1776mm

Height: 1460mm

Wheelbase: 2700mm

Safety features: Seven airbags, ABS brakes, traction control, stability control, reversing camera and sensors

1967 Toyota Corolla

Price: $1849

Engine: 1100cc carburettor

Power: 44kW

Length: 3848mm

Width: 1491mm

Height: 1379mm

Wheelbase: 2286mm

Safety features: none