The Imp Site

Hillman Swallow

in the Coventry Museum of British Road Transport

The rear engine concept of the Imp had its fans among the engineers of Rootes. A larger vesion was contemplated.

In 1964 a prototype was built. It was no more conventional than the Imp was. Although it did have a rear boot, like the majority of cars (albeit it a narrow one), a larger luggage compartment was found under the front 'bonnet'. The engine was transversely mounted in between the rear boot and the back seat. It was a newly developed 1250cc unit with an overhead camshaft.
One source calls it a Coventry-Climax 1200/1500 engine.
Front suspension was MacPherson strut and at the rear something more impish was found.

The spark plugs were accessed from within the car, after the rear seat was removed. For the most, access to the engine wasn't bad at all, only unusual.

Its looks were not unlike those of the later to appear Hunter (1966). The front mounted radiator made for quite an overhang and it was one of the reasons it didn't look very stylish. But it was roomy and had four doors. (The bodyshell eventually became the Hunter ?).
It had Imp-style innovatives like the pneumatic throttle and things like a remote waterpump.

Salability of the Swallow was doubted. It was feared that the peculiarities of the car would make people think twice. Especially if those people had before bought a Hillman Minx (it was afterall intended as the Minx replacement) and therefore might be expected to have conservative taste. And early Imp problems were not encouraging to try the marketing of another extraordinary object.
Chrysler threw their hands up at something so avant-garde. The project was abandoned in favour of a Minx-engined Hunter, inspired on the Cortina Mk II.

Autocar (?) wrote an article about the Swallow, several years after it was shelved.

The mailinglist for impers has pictures in its archive of a Swallow. Si Trickett sent them in - January 2000.

The Imp Site
   The Imp Family
      The Imp Prototypes - this file is mistakenly titled Asp, but is about the Rootes Swallow

Swift-flying bird with a forked tail

One swallow doesn't make a summer