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Hillman Imp

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In the early 1960s the Rootes Group started Project Apex, aiming to design a small car to compete with the BMC Mini. The result was the rear-engined Hillman Imp. The overhead cam, alloy engine was developed by Coventry Climax and drove the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox. Early Imps had an innovative, but unreliable, pneumatically operated throttle. Although tail heavy, the independent front and rear suspension meant Imps handled well. This is believed to be the first production car, chassis number 6.

Hillman Imps, and derivatives like the Singer Chamois and Sunbeam Stileto, were assembled in a purpose built, Government backed, factory at Linwood in Scotland. Problems with reliability and quality control had an impact on sales. The planned output of 150,000 cars per year was never reached, and only 440,000 Imps had been built by the time production ended in 1976.


CylindersIn-line 4
ValvesOverhead camshaft
Output39hp @ 5,000rpm
Performance0-60mph 24 seconds
Price new£532
ManufacturerRootes (Scotland) Ltd
OwnerNational Motor Museum Trust


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