In front (twin headlights) the Singer Chamois Sport and
right behind it the Sunbeam Imp Sport.
After the tuning firms like Hartwell's had had a go at the Imp's eager engine to produce road-going quick Imps, Rootes left it quite late to produce their own sporting model. It took about two years to develop it, but finally...
October 1966 saw the birth of both the
The grown-up's answer to Scalextric
Downunder, in Australia and New Zealand, the Sport was called a Hillman Imp GT.
from an advert:
Performance. Luxury. Economy. Easy to handle. Precise in control. Safe. Smart. 55bhp. Top speed up to 90mph. 36 to 43 mpg.
|Bore||2.67"; 68mm||2.67"; 68mm|
|Stroke||2.37"; 60.3mm||2.37"; 60.3mm|
|Capacity||53.41cu.in. = 875cc||53.41cu.in. = 875cc|
|Max. bh power (SAE pk)|| 55 @ 6,100 rpm|
|42 @ 5,000 rpm|
|Max. torque||7.7 @ 4,300 rpm||7.7 @ 2,800 rpm|
|Camshaft. Valve lift||0.310"||0.247"|
|Overall top gear ratio||4.138 to 1|
|Brakes front|| Servo assisted drum type|
two leading shoe
|Brakes rear|| Servo assisted drum type|
leading and trailing shoe
|Weight unladen||1,633lb. = 750 kg.||710 kg|
|Tyres||155 x 12||5,50 x 12|
|Petrol use||1 liter : 12km||1 liter : 14km|
|Top speed|| 90mph = 145kph
30, 56, 82mph through the gears
The block, crank and transmission needed no changes. But the cylinder head was completely new. It had reprofiled ports and water passages, larger inlet valves (1.27 instead of 1.18"), double valve springs, and a high lift camshaft. Not only that, but there was carburation by twin horizontal 1.25" choke Zenith-Stromberg carburettors, a four branch tubular exhaust manifold, and an engine oil cooler mounted behind the engine, close to the rear deck. All these Sports had their engine lids slatted with 'Venetian Blind' to aid oil and water cooling.
To deal with the high temperatures, the exhaust valves were made of a very tough alloy: 28/30/4NS
The head design was slightly altered to make for better cooling around the valve seats.
Carburation was set rich over 4,000 rev. so as not to have a weak mixture at speed -- again to protect the exhaust valves.
Special accessoires: seat belts; Smiths' Radiomobile etc.
|Sunbeam Sport (Chrysler UK Ltd. press photo R 66884)|
Rootes News : a monthly newspaper for Rootes employees, 1966, Oct. - no.3
Big welcome for the new models : London/ Paris debut of Hunter Vogue, Chamois and Imp Sport
REVEALED to Press and public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show, the new Hillman Hunter and the Sunbeam Imp Sport were received with an enthusiasm which augurs extremely well for the future.
The following week the new Singer Vogue and Imp Chamois models were also given a very enthusiastic reception.
From the crisp, modern styling to their performance on the road, few technical details were overlooked by critical motoring journalists. And all have given the new models their full approval.
When the Sunbeam Imp Sport made its bow, journalists were quick to assess its quality and the particular market for which it is intended.
- "It will appeal to more discriminating young motorists who seek something beyond mere performance", says The Times, adding "... this racing and rally developed Imp is a real hustler - yet as smooth and quiet as some 2-litre saloons".
- "... Acceleration is considerably improved and the 0-60 m.p.h. figure is below 18 seconds", comments John Langley, of The Daily Telegraph.
With the approval of a critical Press added to the warmth of public interest in the new cars shown at Paris and London, there can be no doubt that there is a brilliant future in store for these models.
In October 1968, with the designation of the Mark 2, the trim of the Sunbeam Imp Sport was downgraded to Super Imp style. Although the instrumentation was more up to date, the ergonomics of the older car were superior.
The name Sunbeam Imp Sport was replaced in April 1970 by Sunbeam Sport. It would gain the same front styling and trim as the Stiletto in September 1970.
Its production would continue until the end of the Imp-era: March 1976.
From October 1966 until March 1976 some 10.336 Sports were produced.
In 1973 the Imp Sport came out tops in a group test (Motor 1973, June 2) against some more modern opposition of those days.
The differences between the most usual Sports:
|Imp Sport||Imp Sport||Sport|
|chassis no.||B492 series||B493 series||593 series|
|latest in Club reg.||B492.005.707||B493.001.539||593.139.499|
|made (approx.)||5,600||1,450||no guessing|
|based on the||Mk2 shell||Mk3 shell||Chamois Sport|
|launched in||October 1966||October 1968||October 1970|
|dashboard||early binnacle dash||later type round dial dashboard|
|Sunbeam badge||in black and stainless steel on the front and back||on the rear panel, just above the number plate lights|
|side strips||stainless steel strips with black inserts||red inserts||red inserts|
|front||matching strips on either side of a small round front panel badge||full width aluminium strip between the two headlights, with black surround, with Sunbeam on a red panel||as B492, with black inserts|
|number plate light||in a housing above the number plate||twin lights, mounted on the bumper|
|badge on the sides||the doors have a shield with the words Imp Sport||Imp Sport badges fitted to the rear wings|
|The earliest Sport was B 492 000769 HSO (meaning it's the 669th off the line), registered June 1967. It was Signal Red.||The earliest registered Sport was blue and had chassis number B 492 000914 HSO. It was registered on 1 November 1966.|
|The latest Sport was a Sunflower Yellow one, registered 28 August 1975: L 5593139499 BSA H||The chassis number of the latest registered Sport isn't known, but it was an R register, and it was entered during November 1976.|
"There's more than sizzle
in the Sunbeam Imp Sport
and all things nice !"
|Hillman GT - spot the badge next to the fake grill, not on it. (Chrysler brochure)|
Version: December 25, 2013
File started: January 5, 1996
The lilac Imp (crayon drawing) used to be Gary Hardings' 1971 Sunbeam Sport as seen by an artist friend of his, who will remain nameless until Gary tells me.