The Imp Site

Linwood : the first ten years

Linwood : the first ten years. - Chrysler United Kingdom Ltd., 1973. - [18 p.]



Linwood, Scotland's only car factory, was opened on May 2nd 1963 by H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh.

The Linwood project had been conceived a long time before that. The Rootes Group planned to introduce a new revolutionary small car into the British market and to do this they had to expand the company's production facilities which were then concentrated at Coventry. Because of government policy however, the company was required to build any new factories in a development area.

The Linwood site was selecte, besides other factors, for its proximity to the Pressed Steel Fisher factory. At that time Pressed Steel built bodies for Rootes cars and the Pressed Scottish plant was to produce bodies for the Imp.

Construction of the Scottish plant began in May 1961 and the project transformed the Paisley District. 1,800 new homes were built by the local authority and long term plans in the area included the constrution of additional schools, churches, shopping centres and improved rail and road links.

Since Linwood has opened, its operations have been greatly expanded. The Pressed Steel factory was purchased in 1966 and the two Linwood plants now cover an area of 3,000,000 sq. ft. (278,709 sq.m.). Employment has risen from about 3,000 people to over 8,000.

From producing 850 completed cars a week in 1963, production has been expanded to about 2,400 cars. From originally manufacturing one single model - the Hillman Imp - Linwood's output now covers 17 models for home and export markets.

In addition to panels used in cars built at Linwood the Scottish plant manufactures over 4,000 sets of body panels for cars assembled in Coventry and overseas from steel produced mostly at the British Steel Corporation's Ravenscraig, Lanarkshire factory.

In the huge unit machine shop, one of the largest and most modern in Europe, 3,500 gear-boxes; 3,700 rear axles, front suspensions and steering arms are produced each week for the Avenger range.

A shuttle service of container trains operates nine times a week from the Linwood factory sidings to Coventry taking these components south, and bringing back engines, gear-boxes and other components from the Midlands for Linwood manufactured cars.

   The first ten years
looking north towards the town

Chrysler Scotland's operations at Linwood require some of the services of a medium sized town. The Plant needs enough electricity to light 3,600 homes or the full requirements of a town the size of Linwood, and two million cubic feet of gas. It consumes and re-cycles seven million gallons of water a week: 630 tons of coal, and 104,000 galls of oil. Each day 300,000 gallons of waste are purified in the Effluent Plant built at a cost of £ 250,000 in 1972. Each week the plant needs in excess of 1,600 tons of steel.

Through the export of built up of cars manufactured at the Scottish plant and through the Avenger, Chrysler's operations at Linwood make a considerable contribution to Britain's overseas earnings.

The development of costs of Linwood have been considerable. So far capital investment in Linwood has totalled £33 millions. Expansion is continuing and in 1973 a further three presses to produce body panels were installed at a cost of £750,000.


Linwood Developments

1961   Work starts on Linwood
1963   H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh officially opens Linwood on May 2nd. Production of Hillman Imp starts
1965   Imp Mk. II launched
1966   Rootes acquire the Pressed Steel factory
Sunbeam Imp Sport launched
1967   Chrysler Corporatiion acquire majority control of Rootes
1968   July - Production of bodies for the Hillman Hunter starts
1968   September - First train leaves new Linwood sidings with Hunter body shells for assembly at Ryton, Coventry
1968   December - A Hillman Hunter wins the first 10,000 mile Daily Express London to Sydney Marathon
1969   January - Assembly of the Hunter range starts at Linwood
1969   February - Major expansion programme announced
1969   October - Assembly of all Rootes medium range cars transferred to Linwood
1970   February - Hillman Avenger launched containing many components manufactured at Linwood
1970   July - The name of the Rootes Motors Limited and Rootes Motors Scotland Limited changed to Chrysler United Kingdom Limited and Chrysler Scotland Limited
1970   October - The Avenger G.T. launched
1972   A number of new cars were launched, either manufactured at Linwood or using components made there, including the new Hunter range and Avenger Estates
1972   July - Production increased to 1,900 cars a week
1972   Imp wins British Saloon Car Championship for third successive year
1972   December - The new Effluent Plant costing £250,000 goes into operation
1973   March - The Avenger Two-Door range launched
1973   March - Production increased to 2,400 cars a week


North Plant

The North plant, a former shadow factory, was purchased from Pressed Steel Fisher Limited in 1966 and comprises an area of 1,979,301 sq. ft. (183,883 sq. metres).

Among the facilities located in this part of Linwood is the press shop, one of the largest in Britain. The press shop comprises 88 major presses in 15 lines, each line costing about £1.5 million. Working round the clock, the Linwood press shop produces body panels and sub-assemblies for over 90% of Chrysler United Kingdom's car production. Also sited in the North plant are the toolroom, the body-build shop, where bodies for Imps, Hunters and Humber Sceptres are assembled; the paint shop, the soft trim manufacturing shop, where items such as car seat covers and head linings are made, the effluent plant, fire station and rail freight terminal.

It is in this north factory where the process of building Linwood manufactured cars begins. It starts with the arrival of coils of steel each averaging 10 tons in weight.

The huge drums are wound round on machines called de-coilers which take the spring out of the metal and cut it to measured lengths suitable for handling on the press lines.

The lengths of steel are shaped into body panels in the press shop. A proportion of the press shop output is transported to Coventry for the Hillman Avenger range. About 10% is sent overseas for assembly into completed cars in certain export markets, and another 3% of the output is used for spare parts.

After the steel lengths have been shaped into body panels, they are transported to the body-build shop where, using the modern gate line system, panels and sub-assemblies are welded into car body shells.

The body shells then go through a complex system of rust protection and preparation before being painted in the paint shop, the whole process taking approximately 11 hours for each car body. When the painting process has been completed, the car body is transported by a conveyor system across a covered bridge linking the North plant with the South plant on the other side of the road.


South Plant

The South plant covers an area of 945,780 sq.ft. (87,866 sq. metres) and is the factory originally developed by Rootes and opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1963.

The South plant consists of five separate areas

During their six hour journey down the three-quarters-of-a-mile long trim and assembly line, painted body shells for Hunters, Imps and Humber Sceptres, which have been built and prepared in the North plant, together with estate car bodies and Sunbeam Rapier bodies which are built outside Linwood, are matched with all the hundreds of components which goto make a completed car. These range from engines, gear-boxes, wheels, electrical systems to the ashtrays and the interior mirror.

At each station down the line, groups of men carry out a particular operation and complete a process in the assembly of the car.

About 2,000 functional operations and the addition of 500 components are involved in the assembly of, for example, the Hillman Hunter De Luxe.

There are about 3,000 components on hand to cover the full range of Linwood-built cars. Every minute of the eight hour shift, a new car comes off the assembly line - output is about 2,400 cars a week. Altogether the Linwood assembly line handles a range of 17 different variants, and individual customer requirements in home and export markets means that the plant has to be capable of building cars over a vast range of specifications - upwards of 60 alternatives per model for the home market alone.

There is a strict quality control system throughout the Linwood plant. All cars are roller tested at the end of the assembly line and go through a water test to check for leaks. In addition, a proportion of the completed cars are road tested.

Other frequent radom checks are carried out on all the processes, materials and components involved in the manufacturing operation.

A major facility in the South plant is the huge unit machine shop which covers an area of 486,540 sq.ft. (45,201 sq. metres). Here, on a range of 800 machines, gear-boxes, power trains, front and rear suspension units, rear axles and steering arms are produced, some for the cars built at Linwood, others for the Hillman Avenger range built in COventry.

Weekly output from the machine shop includes 560 power transaxles, gear-boxes, front and rear suspension units for the Imp; 3,500 Avenger gear-boxes; 3,700 Avenger rear axles, front suspension units and steering arms; 1,870 Hunter, Sunbeam and Humber engine and gear-box units.

The aluminium die-casting unit situated in the South plant is one of the largest of it's kind in Scotland. Using a low pressure system, the unit produces cylinder blocks for Hillman Imps and under a high pressure process a range of 41 separate power train components for all the company's car range, for example, gear-box casings, water-pump casings and clutch housings etc.


Linwood and the Scottish economy

With 8,500 employees Chrysler Scotland is one of the biggest employers in the West of Scotland.

The Chrysler plant at Linwood makes a considerable contribution to the Scottish economy. Each week Chrysler pays out £340,000 in wages and salaries which are spent mainly on local goods and services.

The plant's rates bill is £212,976 a year. It pays £13,000 a week in electricity, £500 for water, and £1,000 a week for gas.

The annual bill for materials and services purchased in Scotland total £6 million including over £3 million for steel produced in Scotland. The company has a contract with the Scottish Region of the British Rail nearly £1 million a year.


Working conditions

Apart from installing fine equipment, the company sets out to provide the highest standard of working conditions.

Particular attention is paid to the working environment including ventilation and temperature control of the plants, and good housekeeping schemes are also in force.

There are four cateens and 16 kiosks giving a full meal service throughout the plant, each having an adjacent picnic area; trolley services and vending machines are provided. There is a medical centre, with a resident doctor and nursing staff.

An active recreational club supports two football teams, golf, tennis, bowling, car club, angling, sea fishing, table tennis, badminton, judo, weight lifting and camera club.

The plant pipe band has been featured on many important occasions in different parts of Scotland and has appeared on television.

The educational side has not been overlooked. There is a technical training school which provides basic training for young people for craft and professional qualifications in engineering and administration, and which also provides training and retraining facilities for adult employees.

The company encourages self development through its tuition refund programme which supports language training for employees who require it as a function of their job; professional training for supervisors to achieve membership of the Institute of Supervisory Management; and the Open University.

About 8,000 of Linwood's total workforce are members of Trade Unions and are represented by the following unions:


Completed cars produced at Linwood

The Imp Site
   Imp history

© Franka

The scans of this booklet were supplied on August 1, 2005, amongst many other informational gems, to by Mr. Barry Massey (Chief Buyer at Linwood) via his son: Guy Massey.