The Imp Site


Harry Skelton

Harry Skelton rallied (Rapiers, Imps and Hunters) as a privateer with help from the Rootes competition department. He was a good friend of all at the 'Works'.

From: Peter Valentine
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009

[...] the International Rally Team of Imps run by Coventry-based haulage contractor, the late Harry Skelton and named 'Team HAS'. Harry was close to the works and ran a team of ex-works Imps on several events, winning the team prize on the 1967 Scottish and getting a class win on the 1967 Gulf London International with his ex-works car driven by Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams. There is a fine picture of Barrie Williams driving one of these Imps in his newly released biography, 'Whizzo'.
One reason I remember the '67 Gulf is because after retiring from the event with broken suspension on a Cooper 'S', I ended up driving a service car, a new Hillman Hunter, for TEAM HAS from Yorkshire onwards and servicing the remaining cars. I also got rather involved with one of the lady drivers in this team at the finish, but that's another story!
The team for the '67 Gulf comprised: [...]

From: Peter Valentine
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009

[...] I mentioned the late Harry Skelton who ran his own team of ex-works Imps. He really was a super person.
As he lived close to the factory in Coventry, his cars were always up to specification and he himself was a very quick driver. It was very shrewd of him to put Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams in one of the cars as he was one of the quickest drivers around back then. To put Pauline and Venetia in the other car and thus have a chance at the Ladies Award as well, plus the possibility of the team award, which he achieved on the Scottish, was a great move. [...]


By 1965/1966 the works Imps were becoming increasingly modified. An example was the Imp driven in this rally by Rosemary Smith. EDU 710C was road-tested by Autocar soon after the event.

Scottish Rally, June 1965
Only a few weeks after the Tulip.

This rally is the main subject of the Rootes video 'Highland Imp 1965'. The Works team had three Imps: the third one being David Pollard in 4525 KV with 11 - he wasn't shown to finish. The event lasted 5 days. It consisted of 1166 miles, mostly rough and muddy roads through forest area, and 52 special sections. Paddy Hopkirk (Mini-driver) declared it the roughest rally he'd ever been in. Of the 105 cars that started only 42 finished (according to the video). But the Imps were much in evidence.

There were many privately entered Imps, at least six: ?
both green Singer Chamois
with large, sturdy antennas
Probably not
56red Hillman Imp (Greenward ? Greenwood ?)CJ5 165CProbably
72white Hillman Imp1LKJProbably not
83red Hillman Imp (? Harry Skelton/ Henri Ziegler?)?Yes
93white Hillman ImpCWF 663CProbably

From: Don Barrow
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006

One of the RED private Hillman Imps was Harry Skelton, co-driven by a Swiss guy called Henri ???? (Ian Hall will remember his name) and I think it was a ???? KV Reg number.

Don Barrow
Rally Navigation Equipment Specialist

From: Don Barrow
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008

To help you complete a bit of your history, I previously mentioned for 1965 Alpine a private entry driving an Imp.
It was Henri Ziegler / Harry Skelton in Henri's car, this was part of an exchange where they swapped rolls for the 1965 Scottish, as Harry Skelton / Henri Ziegler in Harry's Imp.

Kind Regards,
Don Barrow
Rally Navigation Equipment Specialist ;

Alpine Rally

Henry Ziegler / Harry Skelton; Hillman Imp #104 class GT - DNF because of the front suspension

14th RAC Rally, 21st-25th November 1965

This RAC was particularly tough. Due to snow, ice, fog and pouring rain, only 62 out of 162 participants finished. Rootes and only one other factory team out of nine starters finished intact. All three works Imps survived, and Rootes received the manufacturers' Team prize.

source: TeamDan:
168 entries, 163 starters, 62 finishers

overall	comp.#							class	time
12th	#48 	J.D.L. Lewis/ R. Turvey 	Hillman Imp 	9	579m53
21st 	#68 	P. Burch/ G Jones 		Hillman Imp 	9 	613m18
25th 	#9 	Miss Rosemary Smith/ Miss S Reeves 	Hillman Imp 9 	620m37
	#21 	Andrew Cowan/ B.Coyle 		Hillman Imp 	9
	#52 	David Pollard/ J Baines 	Hillman Imp 	9
	#99 	J.R. Cotter/ W Ward 		Hillman Imp 	9
	101 	T Huntley/ P Jones 		Singer Chamois 	9
	105 	M Frostick/ M Boyd 		Hillman Imp 	9
	125 	S Benton/ M Hayward 		Hillman Imp 	class 3
	134 	Harry Skelton/ 			Hillman Imp 	9 
	140 	S Turner/ 			Hillman Imp 	9
	147 	P Carver/ G Warren 		Hillman Imp 	9
	156 	G Birrell/ G Birrell 		Singer Chamois 	3
	157 	M Leeke/ M Cotton 		Singer Chamois 	9
	162 	A Beattie/ I Woodruff 		Hillman Imp 	9


Peter Valentine navigated an ex-works Imp for Harry Skelton on a rally in Wales early in 1967 (Coventry M.C. 'Three Spires Rally').

Gulf London International Rally, 1967

Pos 	Car # 	Crew 					Car 			Class 	Time 	Car Reg
	33 	Barrie Williams/ Tommy Thompson 	Hillman Rallye Imp 	5
	35 	David Pollard/ David Fawcett 		Sunbeam Imp 		1
	46 	Harry Skelton/ Mike Lindsay-Jones 	Sunbeam Imp 		1
	52 	Colin Malkin/ Vaughan Bond 		Hillman Rallye Imp 	5
	108 	Anthony Payne/ Colin Briars 		Hillman Rallye Imp 	5
	111 	Pauline Wynn/ Venetia Sadler 		Hillman Rallye Imp 	5
	117 	Rodney Badham/ John Alcock 		Hillman Rallye Imp 	5 

Express & Star Rally
6th May 1967

Colin Malkin & Terry Sharman - Hillman Californian - 5th overall
Andy Cowan was also running in a works Imp.
Also Harry Skelton & Mike Lindsay-Jones - Imp sport
W.R. Girvan & M.J. Heap - Imp
John Wilkinson & J.L. Birkett - Imp Sport
Chris Hall & David Porter Chamois - Imp
R.W. Stewart & A. Forryan - 998 Imp
J. Halliwell & P. Terry 998 Imp


Whizzo: The Motor Sporting Life of Barrie Williams / Paul Lawrence. - TFM, 2008. - 192p. (or 182?)
ISBN 1903378621, 9781903378625

For 50 years, Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams has been thrilling motor racing crowds with his outstanding talent on the circuit and great sense of humour off the track. He has raced and rallied with great success, starting in 1957. He has had a life full of adventure, excitement, success and a few bumps. This is his story. When discussing the title for this book, he said: 'Should we call it 'Whizzo' the first 50 years?' Still racing with as much speed and determination as ever, he is currently president of the British Motorsport Marshals' Club. "I've raced every year, I've never stopped racing," said Barrie. "I don't know what I'd do without racing. I don't know what else to do. It's my way of life. I'll drive anything with four wheels. I race to win, but if I don't it's not the end of the world. With a bit of luck, there's always another race." This book, which includes 200 photos -- many never published before -- attempts to capture the successes, the failures, the adventures, the people, the places and the laughs that have made for a remarkable five decades.

The Imp Site
   Imps in competition
   Terry Sharman; Rootes Competition Dept.
© Franka

Non-Imp info

From: Peter Valentine
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009

[...] When I first knew him he was using a Sunbeam Rapier for National and International rallies. I can't remember whether this was an ex-works car, but if not then it was certainly prepared to works specifications. He used the Rapier up to the end of 1965, but by then the Cortina was the car to beat in that class. [...]

Gulf London Rally, 24-26 August 1965

Pos 	Car # 	Crew 					Cls 	Car 		Time 	Reg
14  		J.Evans/ R.Spokes  				Hillman Imp
	10 	Tiny Lewis/ Robin Turvey 		5 	Hillman Imp
	18 	John La Trobe/ Julian Chitty 		3 	Sunbeam Rapier
	40 	Harry Skelton/ Mike Lindsay-Jones 	3 	Sunbeam Rapier 

Harry had two children a son Robert and a daughter Leony.