In 1964 allegedly unknown to the management of the Rootes Group Rootes Group competition manager Des O’Dell homologated a competition version of the Hillman Imp known as the Rally Imp by braking into the factory every Sunday.
Des then replaced the pistons and cylinder linings on 20 motors so that on the following Monday 20 Imps would be fitted with 998cc / 61 cui motors instead of the regular 875 cc / 60 cui motors.
Once sufficient numbers had been built Des submitted his list of modified cars to the sporting authorities who accepted that the larger engines had been built in sufficient numbers to be considered legible for competition.
Imps were subsequently used for track racing on behalf of Rootes by Alan Fraser racing who entered their cars for Rootes Mechanic Bernard Unett, Ray Calcutt, Nick Brittan and Tony Lanfranchi in a successful campaigns in 1966 and 1967 against numerous Mini’s.
In Rally events works Imps were regular class winners in the hands of numerous drivers including Rosemary Smith who along with Valerie Domleo scored the Imps biggest rally victory an outright win on the Tulip Rally in the Netherlands in April 1965.
The Imp also helped Rootes secure the team prize on the 1965 and ’66 RAC Rally in the UK.
A couple of weeks ago I spent the day marshalling with Ian Fisher of the Craven Motor Club at the Craven Hullavington Sprint.
During the day Ian told me that until this event Craven has primarily been a club for Rally enthusiasts and that his start in motorsport in the 1960’s had been with a Hillman Imp and that he had converted a second hand automatic transmission Rover SD1 to a manual Group A competition spec for Rallying in the UK, Belgium and Ireland during the 1980’s.
While we were talking Ian also mentioned that he had today’s featured Historic 998cc / 61 cui Rally Imp for sale and so I naturally asked him to send me these photographs and volunteered to write a blog about it.
This 1966 Sundance Yellow Imp was built up on a low mileage Imp Sport shell in 2011 and has HRVIF papers for historic rallying and the steel boot, bonnet and front bumper necessary for acquiring FIA papers if needed.
Safety equipment includes a full cage, plumbed in and hand held fire extinguishers and five point harness harnesses valid until 2015.
As seen here to keep the weight down the car has fibreglass bonnet and boot lids with the rear side and rear windows in perspex.
The Chesman 998 cc / 61 cui motor is fitted with twin carburetors, stainless steel manifold, big valve head and competition cam and clutch for the strengthened Dave Weedon close ratio transaxle that has raised first and lowered 3rd and 4th gear ratio’s.
Suspension with Koni shock absorbers front and rear is described as ‘almost like new’ the Vauxhall Viva brake discs are fitted with Mintex pads and the car comes with six Minilite lookalike wheels fitted with Kumho tyres.
If you would are interested in buying this car, all the usual disclaimers apply, please send a personal message to the facebook account linked to this site with your contact details and I will gladly forward them to Ian.
Thanks for joining me on this “Shiny Sundance Yellow For Sale” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at a Cooper Formula One car. Don’t forget to come back now !