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The Stoke plant

The cylinder blocks for the die cast engine were cast in the die-casting plant in Linwood. Then they were sent down to the Stoke plant at Coventry. After machining and assembly, Imp engines were returned to Linwood for installation by train. This was not something that PR was eager to mention.

The Stoke site (including Stoke Aldermoor) was the original Humber Hillman site. In the 60s it included all of the departments concerned with design manufacture, service and sales. Progressively, sales and design were moved elsewhere and body build, paint and car assembly were relocated to Ryton.

From: Colin Walters
Sent: 21-Mar-2012

[...] has sent me your website regarding the Imp and in particular its engine, which was produced at the Stoke Works, Coventry, using die castings shipped from Linwood. It's of particular interest to me since I started my career as a Planning Engineer with the Imp Engine - my first major project to be involved in.

I was responsible for the processing, procurement and commissioning of machines and tooling etc for the manufacture of all of the in-house parts except for the block and head, working under Horace Allen and Sid Baskets. I well remember Leo Kuzmicki, Harry White and Tim Fry among others.

I also remember the problems that were caused by our first experiences of an Aluminium Cylinder Block and Pressure Die Castings. Silly errors with hind-sight but typical of any new venture.

One such problem with the Block was that, being used to cast iron, we overlooked the aluminium burrs left by the machining processes.

As for the die castings we refused to accept the assurances regarding the accuracy of the castings and so insisted on drilling holes, which could be left as cast. Not only was this found to be unnecessary, but also created problems of porosity beneath the skin of the castings.

However I wouldn't wish to exaggerate the challenges. Overall, without the benefit of modern technology the engine went into production on time and to my knowledge none of the problems affected the quality or quantity of the finished product.

An amusing incident for us was the fact that the film of the launch of the car at Linwood showed the engine appearing as though from nowhere with no mention of the fact that it was made in Coventry. Unless I missed it, Franko, your website gives the same appearance.


From: Colin Walters
Subject: RE: Imp engine at Stoke
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012

[...] I don't recall any really tough decisions re. the Imp. [...]
Unfortunately I did not keep any paperwork or photos from the Imp days. [...]
The Imp gearboxes were manufactured in Linwood. [...]
Not sure but think they were shipped by road and rail. [...]

Rootes car manufacturing operations were carried out at:

Mr. Ernest Beck worked for the Rootes Competition Department in Stoke since 1952 or so. He was the engine builder and mechanic for most of the Works cars in his time, Tigers, Imps, etc.

Terry Sharman, mechanic:

I started work at Rootes Coventry in 1955, aged 15, in the 85 engine shop at Stoke Aldermoor, assembling Minx and Rapier engines. I don't know why it was called the 85 Shop; all the Minx and Rapier engines were built and tested there.

Colin Waters, 11 Apr. 2012:

[...] the '85 Shop' that Terry Sharman mentions, housed around 2000 workers producing both engines and gearboxes and was the first Production Unit that I managed, when I moved from Production Engineering to Production in 1975. The two years that followed were without doubt the happiest of my career.

The Imp engineering team was at Ryton entirely divorced from the main engineering office at Stoke, and there was little cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Rootes Competition Department, Humber Road, Stoke, Coventry

Competition Centre, Chrysler UK Ltd, Stoke Plant, Coventry

Rootes competition depot in Humber Road, Stoke.

Special Tuning Section
Competition Centre
Chrysler United Kingdom Limited
Stoke Plant
Coventry CV3 1BD
Telephone: 0203 (Coventry) 452144
Ext: 371 or 377
Telex: 311501

Special Tuning Department
Talbot Motor Company Limited
Stoke Plant
Coventry CV3 1BD
Telephone: 0203 (Coventry) 452144
Ext: 371 or 377
Telex: 311501


The Imp Site
   Imp Anatomy (index)
   Imp technicalities (assorted bits of knowledge)
      Imp Engine
      Imp Cylinderhead
      Linwood; Die-casting plant
   Tuners & Builders
      The Stoke plant (this file)
      Rootes Competition Department
© Franka
Version of: 9 April 2012
File started: 9 April 2012