Thursday, May 5, 2011

1965 Sunbeam Imp

The Imp was Rootes answer to BMC's Mini. It has an aluminum 875cc Coventry Climax derived engine, tilted at a 45 degree angle and sitting behind the rear wheels

The Imp was impressively designed. Some cool touches were a pneumatic throttle linkage (up until 1966) and a hinged rear window. Unfortunately, it was rushed to market before it could be fully sorted and early cars were wholly unreliable.

The seller bought this car last weekend at an auction. He is under the impression that it runs, but hasn't tried to start it. He was told by the owner that it spent most of its life being towed behind an RV, which would explain the tow bar and auxiliary lights. It has an aftermarket air conditioning unit, which is something I've never seen in an Imp before. It also has a Lafayette CB radio and some gizmo mounted where an aftermarket tach might be mounted, but looking nothing like any tach I've ever seen. (Anybody know what that is?)

This is one of those borderline cars. It's in tough shape, but not a complete wreck. If you have the time, money and ambition (lots of each), it could be restored. Or, if you have an Imp, it could be a very good parts car. (Personally, I'd love to see it restored.)

Located in Hewitt, TX, click here to see the eBay listing.

3 comments:

Harv said...

I really really really want an Imp. I would have one of these over a Mini in a heartbeat. This one looks a little rough. 6K in body and paint. Another 1.5K in interior. And I wonder how much Dave Bean charges to build a killer climax motor?

Lucius Quinctius said...

In between VW's my mother owned one of these, and while there were some issues, it was a delightful car, and more fun to drive than the Bettles. Right and just below the speedometer was a small control arm that was both the turn indicated - up/down & the horn, push/pull, very cool.

Bill said...

I had 4 Imps in a 9 year period. Got my first autocross trophy with an Imp. Spectacular chassis dynamics with woefull quality.I have never seen the pneumatic throttle, and 2 of my cars were early enough by serial number. They failed on the dealer's lot! I never got any of the cool speed parts they had in the UK. I just tied the front swing axle up to the chassis to give 2 degrees negative camber. Engine life was "impeded" by 70 mph interstate cruising. Exploded 2 transaxles as well on the street. My X1-9 today is easily 10 times more reliable, with much the same dynamic and lots more go....