Thursday, September 29, 2011

1965 Sunbeam Imp

Another year of R&D and the Imp might have saved the Rootes Group.

Built to compete with the Mini, it was rushed to market and early examples were very trouble prone.

The Imp was advanced for its time. Its rear mounted engine was a Coventry Climax design with an overhead cam and made of aluminum. The casing for the 4 speed, all synchro transmission was also aluminum. It had a semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension and swing axles up front. The Series I cars had a pneumatic throttle linkage. The rear window was hinged, although it really couldn't be called a hatchback. Still it made it easier to transport long objects.

With the help of the government, Rootes built an assembly plant in the town of Linwood, Scotland, specifically to build the Imp.

Pressured by the government to get production rolling (Linwood had a large population of unemployed ship builders), Rootes started production before all the kinks could be ironed out. Early Imps had serious cooling problems, electrical problems and fuel delivery problems, among other things.

The money that Rootes sank into the development of this car all but killed them. When sales didn't meet expectations, Rootes was forced to sell the company to Chrysler, who quickly ran it into the ground and eventually wound up selling it and Simca - another Chrysler Europe brand - to Peugeot.

Imps sold in the US were badged as Sunbeams. They didn't sell very well. The seller of this car bought it at an auction with plans of restoring it. She says it runs well. Judging by the pictures it looks like it's complete and not especially rusty. The asking price is $600.00, but the seller is open to offers.

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

Imps were very good racers. This car is obviously very heavily modified, but I love the sound!


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

that was listed a while ago for much more $$$.

Love Imps. Love em a lot. Too far, just bought an Elan shell, and have a couple of non running NSU 1000s.

I'll have to pass.

Harv said...

I have always wanted an IMP. So much better than a Mini. And that engine! "Hello, Dave Bean? I have this IMP and....."

John

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