An Australian folder that had gathered 20 quotes from newspaper Auto tests. It has no number, no mention of the publisher or even the printer.
The engine displays its Coventry Climax origin under ncceleration when it takes on that classic hard feel and rather than the usual clatter that comes from overdriven small engines a satisfying growl is emitted.
On any sort of give-and-take road it is possible ro indicate over 80 m.p.h. Over the test course and hill climb the IMP gave a sparkling drive. Hills presented no problem with the engine's good torgue characteristics.
Here is one of the IMP's high spots. There is a 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on all ratios and a short-throw, floor-mounted gear lever that just begs for use. The four ratios are beautifully selected, the most dramatically potent being 2nd which gave me 0-40 in just under 10 seconds
The true brilliance of this car is the tractability built into a design that has 60% of its weight on the back wheels, yet retains near-neutral steering and lady-like qualities at all times. The astonishing fact is that the rear-engined IMP can be safely thrown into corners at a speed that would be almost suicidal in another car.
Cruising at 40 m.p.h. the IMP returned 53.5 m.p.g.
Like all Rootes cars I have tested, the IMP's standard of finish, paint work, seat trim, and interior fittings, are impeccable.
A superb little engine, spacious interior and comfortable ride over the roughest tracks are the outstanding features of the new Hillman IMP. The car starts easily from 'cold' with an automatic choke combined with a fast idle. There is a pneumatic link from the accelerator to the carburettor and this gives a sensitive control.
I have not driven a car with better road vision. The front windscreen curves slightly and the driving position seems to locate the driver forward of the windscreen pillars. so they are just detectable at the limit of the peripheral sight. The consequent absence of the hazardous 'blind spot' encountered in so many vehicles is a material contribution to the IMP's road safety.
Into a package only 11 ft. 7 inches long, Rootes have built adequate room in comfort for four big adults and their luggage, performance which suggests a larger engine, safe, predictabie handling and braking, and easy high-speed cruising.
The small water-cooled engine is basically of Coventry Climax design and has the refinement of an overhead camshaft. It is smooth at all speeds, it cannot be over-revved, and one can accurately say that its maximum speed is its cruising speed. The IMP is free from tremble on average bitumen roads, it takes stony roads in good style, and does not bottom or bounce unduly over badly potholed tracks. My overall opinion of the IMP is that it has exceptional riding and handling qualities.
For a small car the IMP accelerated at an impressive rate and recorded a good top speed. The body has been cleverly designed to be used as a sedan or a small station wagon. A well built, exceptionally well designed small car that performs much better than its size indicates, and is selling at a very moderate price.
When IMP says Stop, she means it. The wheels are only 5.50 x 12's yet Rootes have fitled 8-inch brake-drums giving 150 sq. ins. of lining which is generous for a car weighing only 13 cwt. I made a panic stop from 30 miles an hour in approximately 31 ft. Generally, they leave a feeling of confidence that they could happily cope with any emergency.
The gearbox with synchromesh on all four gears is a superb unit. The lever can be f1icked a couple of inches from gear to gear, as fast, and probably faster than the hand can push it.
The car goes through corners at speeds that would be maniacal with most saloons, and its stability is unaffected by sudden rough patches.
Door windows, which in this car rise and fall easily and quite rapidly, are a very desirabie fitting in a small car, where too often the less convenient sliding type are used. These, coupled with the very handy opening rear window of the station wagon type, give the body characteristics of a much larger car. By folding the rear squab down on to its companion cushion, an enormous amount of luggage for a small car can be carried. There is also a large full-width parcel tray under the dash, as well as receptacles at each side of the rear seat.
Even on a wet road the IMP is very safe and gave me a feeling of security. Night driving with a swept screen and bright, well-adjusted sealed-beam lights was a pleasure.
The accent of the IMP's character is on overall lightness of control which contributes greatly to the tireless manner in which it can be driven both in town and on the open road where the cruising speed can be as high as an indicated 70 m.p.h.
The floor mounted change lever for the four-speed, all synchromesh box is very positive and smooth to use and does not jiggle about as the result of engine movement under acceleration and deceleration.
Performance figures include a top speed of 80 m.p.h., a touring petrol consumption of between 40 and 45 m.p.g. and an 0 to 50 acceleration time of 14.9 seconds.
Women drivers will appreciate the lightness of all the IMP's controls - from the precise rack and pinion steering to the clutch and brake pedals, yet the lightest and most accurate of the controls is the accelerator ... thanks to an ingenious new system devised to replace long rods or cables. You would be a candidate for a worst-driver-of-the-year-award if you managed to turn the IMP over. It has remarkable stabilily even at speed.
The famous engine factory of Coventry Climax has combined with the Rootes Group to produce a family man's 'baby' car with racing car performance - the result is the Hillman IMP. "Yes, son, a surfboard can be carried inside the car with just its lail jutting out at the back, doing away with the need for ugly roof racks".
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