Thursday, March 15, 2007

1963-1976 Hillman Imp

My Nephew Jon in Wellington NZ is not content with owning the best unrestored Citroen DS21 in the world: He has now adopted a humble Hillman Imp for his adorable partner Este.

The Imp was Hillman's answer to the Austin Mini. The Rootes Group were given a Govt. grant to build a new factory to assemble the Imp in an area of Scotland plagued with high unemployment. Quality was poor in the first few years.

The Imp is superior to the Mini in some ways. Unusual for a british car, the engine is mounted behind the rear axle. It uses an all aluminium 875cc SOHC engine that was originally designed to meet the requirements of the British Fire Dept as a pump engine. It had to be light and powerful. Good qualities for a car engine too. The motor responds well to inlet and exhaust tuning.

The Imp never caught the attention and affection of the car buying public in the way that the Mini did. Now might be a good time for a revival of interest in the Hillman Imp. Imagine a field of Austin Minis and Hillman Imps competing against each other in historic car racing at Sears Point!



Peter Reynolds said...

Jon says
"...not just a humble Imp, but a humble mark II Super Imp - I think the trim is slightly more 'super' than the non-super !"

Peter Reynolds said...

Excellent source of information on the Hillman Imp: