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Hillman Imp - yay or nay?
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Rick
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Joined: 27 Apr 2005
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Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:29 pm    Post subject: Hillman Imp - yay or nay? Reply with quote

In the interests of balance following on from today's Mini thread, where the subject of Hillman Imps raised its head ...

.. your thoughts on the Imp, and the related Sunbeams, Singers etc?

I can honestly say that they've never much appealed to me, not through any bad experiences, just that I've never much been interested in them. Am I missing out on something?

An elderly neighbour had one when I lived with my folks, you could tell when we was heading out as many thousands of revs, joined by judicious slipping of the clutch, would herald the launch of his car from its garage.

RJ
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Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Rick
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus a few photos ...






http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/imp.htm

RJ
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Rootes75



Joined: 30 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't say I'm that keen on them really, I do however quite like the van version.
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Ray White



Joined: 02 Dec 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never seen the point of them really but they do have their followers and enthusiasts. I have worked on a couple and to their credit engine removal must be as easy if not easier than a VW Beetle.

Here is a later shot of 1400 SC at Beaulieu.



1. Hillman Imp to the Beaulieu motor museum.
The first Imp photo was sent over by Les in 2009. He was lucky enough to acquire a collection of paperwork relating to the Canterbury Motor Company, a firm that traded in cars from 1904 through to the 1970s. In the 1960s they were a Rootes dealership, and amongst the many albums and files that Les has found, was this photo, showing a handover to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu of a Hillman Imp saloon, registration 1400 SC.
Hillman Imp goes to Beaulieu
The photograph isn't dated, but their attire looks like it is late 1970s. The car's registration suggests an early example - a check on the National Motor Museum site confirms that 1400 SC is believed to be the first production Imp, of 1963. The Imp was restored by the Canterbury Motor Company, and presented to the museum on completion, presumably at the time of Les' photograph above. A date sometime in the '70s or very early '80s therefore would make sense.

Copy of Rick's text accompanying photo. Hope that's OK Rick?)
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peter scott



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well in the early 1970s I really loved my Ginetta G15 with its Imp Sport engine. Good performance and superb "on rails" cornering and it's still on the road (and track) today although not in my hands.

I wasn't as impressed by my mother's Californian or my mother in law's Imp.

Peter


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Ellis



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not own an Imp but drove several. The first was a 1965 Singer Chamois owned by a part time employee. She had owned it from nearly new and it was in excellent order and a pleasure to drive.

The second was a 1967 Commer Imp van which I drove back from Holyhead where it's owner had bought an Austin Gipsy. It had received a hard life and it showed - rattly, rough and neglected.

The last was a Sunbeam Stiletto which was lent to us from the local BL dealer
in Marh 1981when our first Metro was recalled at three months old for warranty work.
The Stiletto was a taxed part exchange and I thought it was a delight for the week that I used it.
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ukdave2002



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No.....
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Ray White



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter scott wrote:
Well in the early 1970s I really loved my Ginetta G15 with its Imp Sport engine. Good performance and superb "on rails" cornering and it's still on the road (and track) today although not in my hands.

I wasn't as impressed by my mother's Californian or my mother in law's Imp.

Peter



I had air horns like that on my GT6. I had wanted some that played a tune but I was told they were illegal. Laughing
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peter scott



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray White wrote:

I had air horns like that on my GT6. I had wanted some that played a tune but I was told they were illegal. Laughing


They were on the car when I bought it but I see the current owner doesn't have them.

Peter


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Ray White



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understand it, the law forbidding the fitting and use of sequential sounding air horns (ones that play a tune) only applies to (non emergency) vehicles registered after August 1973. My car was September '73. Rolling Eyes
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alanb



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In 1967 I was given a new imp van to replace my old anglia van as a service vehicle, surprisingly quieter than the old ford and a lot more fun to drive.
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badhuis



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Around 1983, my second road-going car was a Sunbeam Chamois (the Singer name was exported as Sunbeam). Loved it, the car learned me about car mechanics, maintenance and repairing. Have had Imps ever since, I find I cannot get off the damned cars! Because every time I go for a drive in it I find myself grinning from ear to ear.

Best memory was when we stranded because the throttle pedal wire broke at the carb side. My friend sat in the back, rear window open and with a couple of shoelaces handled the throttle the way back home. Great fun.

The Imp community is great, spare parts plentiful. A very good alternative to the too common Mini I always have thought.
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peter scott



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

badhuis wrote:

Best memory was when we stranded because the throttle pedal wire broke at the carb side. My friend sat in the back, rear window open and with a couple of shoelaces handled the throttle the way back home.


We took the mother in law's Imp on holiday and got stuck when the flexy in the gear change parted company. I crawled underneath and engaged top gear. When we came to a hill I had to get out and select a lower gear.

Peter
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mikeC



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have now owned two Imps, and can honestly say they were the best small car of the 1960s bar none. If they had not been rushed into production (like most British cars of the time) I think they would have given the Mini a really hard time in the market place - better performance, more room for both passengers and luggage, a more modern shape ... But alas, they proved temperamental unless driven hard, and they were four years too late, the Mini was already established.



The only car to rival the Imp, in my opinion, was the Fiat 850 - funnily enough, another rear-engined car. The only downside - to both cars - was their susceptibility to cross winds; provided tyre pressures were maintained it wasn't a major problem, but neglecting that maintenance could produce dramatic results!
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Rick
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being rear-engined did they have any handling traits peculiar to them?

RJ
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