autumn 1965 - 1968
The 'Works' Imps, those that were prepared by Rootes' Competition Department to be used in the rallies by the works drivers, such as Rosemary Smith, used a 998cc engine.
This capacity was achieved by boring right out, and re-sleeving, on selected blocks, to a bore of 72.5mm. Stroke remained unchanged at 60.4mm.
Rootes announced at the Motor Show of 1965 that this engine which had given such remarkable rally results in that year, would be made available to the public in an Imp version they called "Rallye".
It had its tachometer, speedo and ancillary gauges in a cluster behind the steering wheel. Its suspension was altered significantly with stronger springs and shock absorbers. It had a bigger radiator and an oil cooler to keep the 998 cool. High-lift camshaft, twin Strombergs (150 CD ?), larger valves, double valve springs, special exhaust manifold, a compression ratio of 10.5 to 1; it was provided with many goodies used on the 'works' Imp. But not the small front radiator.
0 - 60 mile
|: 65bhp @ 6200rpm
: 62lb/ft @ 3,200rpm
: 14.8 secs
| 70bhp @ 6,500rpm|
It was not really intended for road use, but rather for those who would buy it as a basis for further modifying and competition tuning. The Rallye was built only to order. These engines that had achieved such success were quite troublesome and Rootes did not encourage the general public to buy the Imp Rallye.
But Autocar did...
This 'rallye' engine was made available on a 'batch' basis, with cars either being converted in a workshop next to the Competition Department, immediately after they had been build at Linwood, or by the conversion of secondhand cars - never from new. (This had to do with tax ??) (Both the immediately converted Imps and the Ralley packaged second-hand Imps had a T stamped trailing the chassis number ?)
It benefitted the private entrant for he could buy a specially developed rally version of the Imp. 1000 were built to conform with the homologation rules. (This quantity was reached in September 1965 ?) (FIA recognition no. 526)
The Sunbeam Imp Rally was mentioned in the pricelist of 1 July 1967 of Chrysler Benelux:
998 cc; 66 HP; 11,275 Fl. (guilders) - not cheap ! The Sunbeam Alpine Sports tourer Mk. V, 1725cc, 100 HP costed 12,585 Fl.
Compared to the Group 3 Hartwell it had less bhp and was not as fast on the dash to 60.
Very few original Ralley Imps are left and they are not cheap. Replicas are being built and rallied/raced.
|Acceleration times (mean): gear ratios; time in seconds|
|From rest through gears to:|
|Maximum speed in gears:|
As tested by Autocar, Jan. 1966.
The figures in italics are from an Imp Super, tested a few months earlier.
|photo supplied by Tim Haynes 09 Sep 1997
Rallye Imp : given the works 4. - Autocar 1966 January 28. - pp. 190 - 192
reprint in Impressions 3 (1983), 6 (July)
Road & Track v.17 1965-1966. - p.30
They too have yielded to the entreaties of customers and almost secretly coughed up the 'Rally' Imp of 1000 cc. The Imp up to now has been a sweet but gutless little car and we have all been wondering when the works Grp 3 Imps, one of which won the Tulip Rally this spring, would filter down to the general public. Although this one is considerable less tweaked than Marcus Chambers' little bombs, the listed 65 hp will propel it along at a good rate and enable the happy owner to 'do' all except 1275 Minis. If the factory will now produce a sizable ...
Hillman Super Imp; Rallye Imp: performance check / G. Howard. - Autocar, vol. 124 (28 Jan 66) p.190-192. ill.
Rally Imp : Long Term Assessment / N. Harison. - Autocar, 129 (28 Nov. 1968) p.24-27. - ill.
The Motor 1972 May-Jun. - p.10
Andy Dawson's Rally Imp, tested a few weeks ago, takes pride of place in the ...
Next comes another Rally Imp that was the product of Rootes competition back in 1969 ...
The Autocar vol. 138 1973 Jan-Feb. - p.20
Chrysler UK. Two cars here from the new Competition Centre. The Rally Imp has the 998 cc single-overhead cam engine, with two twin-choke Webers and multi- branch exhaust. Power output is 90bhp gross at ...
The Autocar v.125 1966 Oct-Dec. - Page 1204
What a lot of people might be forgetting is that the rally Imp engine, as used by the works, is 998 cc and perhaps 70 plus bhp a whole lot more than the ...
|output: 70bhp @6,500rmp|
|Engine||the 998cc unit which is available to |
customers from the factory
|bigger bore size|
|Compression ratio||10.5 : 1||10.0 : 1|
|Gearbox||3rd & 4th are lower|
6.19 and 4.48
|5.7 and 4.14|
|Brakes||Ferodo VG95/1 anti-fade linings|
|triplex heated windscreen|
large plastic anti-mist panel
|like the Chamois|
Dunlop SP44 radial Weathermasters
The Ralley Imp of Mr. Reijo Halonen started life as a basic Hillman Imp. It was saved from a Turku scrap yard and restored by an enthusiast. Then it stood in a barn for more than 15 years, before it was bought by Mr. Halonen. After a full strip down it was rebuilt and painted as a Historic F period racing car to correspond Rallye specifications.
Power (standard tune): 65 hp @ 6200 rpm
Power now: approx. 80 hp @ 6500 rpm
Water cooled, cap. 7.25 ltrs.+ oil cooler
Four speed Close Ratio gear box.
Ratios: 1: 16.59 ; 2: 8.91 ; 3: 6.19 ; 4: 4.48
4.85 (not a limited slip differential)
4 x drums
Dunlop Racing 4.50L x 12
Minilites 5 x 12 (aluminium)
or 4.5 x 12 steel discs
|The Imp Site
The Imp family
Autocar article 1966
Autocar article 1968
Sunbeam Imp Sport Rootes Rally conversion