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Sunbeam Imp record run: 3000 miles in 48 hours
Record Run
New York to Los Angeles
American Rodding Magazine
official test car

3000 Miles in 48 Hours

The incredible story of how a Sunbeam
IMP Sportsedan was driven from
New York to Los Angeles in only 2 days
averaging over 35 miles per gallon!

"1:30 PM EDST., Wed., August 12 - Holland Tunnel toll paid. Traffic heavy. Ahead are 3,000 miles of road, mountains, deserts; 100 degree plus heat; ten or more fuel stops. We must be crazy to think we can drive from New York to Los Angeles in less than 50 hours, in a car selling for less than $1,500 ...
"... Thurs. morning. Sun's comming up. Could use some ham 'n eggs and hot coffee about now ...
"... Gallup, New Mexico coming up. Overall average speed so far over 63 miles per hour ...
"... Needles, California. Last gas stop. Averaging better than 35 miles to the gallon. Starting final dash across Mojave Desert to L.A. City Limits ...
"1:39 PM EDST., Friday, August 14. L.A. dead ahead. 1:39:50 ...51 ...52 ...53 ...54 - on the nose! We made it! Where can I take a shower and eat a steak at the same time?"

These notes from the log kept by Stanley Rosenthall, official observer from the magazine AMERICAN RODDING, chronicle a small part of the recent fantastic endurance test of a Sunbeam IMP Sportsedan.

This was a trial that was set up to judge the IMP's high speed performance, fuel and oil consumption, its comfort and a host of other points in one of the most adverse test situations possible - a flat-out, non-stop transcontinental run during the hottest part of the year.

The verdict? The IMP Sportsedan judged A-1 in all departments! The 3,011 miles from New York to Los Angeles were covered in 48 hours, nine minutes and 54 seconds for an incredible overall average speed of over 62.5.

How was the IMP, a car with a small displacement (57 cubic inches), 42 HP, four cylinder engine, able to make it?

Success is ascribed to the following by Rootes Motors engineers.

    Hillman Imp de Luxe, April 1963, RL 781 /G
These girls are not loading up for a coast-to-coast endurance run. They are only demonstrating a very special IMP feature. But their car, a standard Sunbeam IMP Sportsedan is identical to the one which did make the N. Y. - Los Angeles run in only 48 hrs., 9 mins.

The idea for the test was born early in the Summer following a two-week driving test of the IMP by AMERICAN RODDING's editors in the New York City Area. "It's great in and around the City," they said, "but what would happen if you were to drive it at a steady 60-70 MPH right across the country?"

Officials of Rootes Motors knew that the Sunbeam IMP had been exhaustively tested in hundreds of thousands of miles under all kinds of road and climatic conditions before its introduction. But nothing quite like a transcontinental run with average drivers with a completely standard car had ever been tried.

The result was that in late July a standard Sunbeam IMP from the Rootes Motors' pool of press cars was selected for the test and given a routine 5,000 mile check. Absolutely no mechanical changes were made to the IMP which would increase its speed or durability. The test car was identical to the IMP that any motorist can buy at any Rootes-Sunbeam dealer anywhere in the United States.

The car was plastered with signs and on the morning of August 12 was turned over to the two drivers.

The drivers were Stanley Rosenthall, a New York photographer-writer who was to act as AMERICAN RODDING's official observer for the trip, and Herman "Skip" Jaehne, a Rootes Motors regional sales manager. Neither had ever made a trip similar to what they were about to set out on and Rosenthall had had no more than a day's experience driving an IMP, up to that time.

A target of 50 hours was established by the magazine as requiring a sufficiently high overall average speed to really test the car to their satisfaction. A route was picked from regular oil company maps. Food and iced tea were packed into a cooler and car and crew reported "all systems go".

Frankly, Rootes Motors doesn't suggest two-day non-stop trips to Los Angeles in mid-summer as a steady or even occasional diet for the average motorist. But you can now depend on the fact that your local Sunbeam dealer who has long prided himself on selling cars that are quality-built will now take extra pride when he offers you a test drive in a car that's performance-proven. Ask him.


Following the article is an advert for The Imp and Alpine - I left only the Imp photo.

How to drive a hard, rugged bargain:
American Imp advert
The revolutionary Sunbeam 'Imp' Sportsedan - $1495 *

* East POE. White walls. For information write Rootes Motors, 505 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y., or 9830 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.


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