1918, May 14 - 2000, January 13 - aged 81
Mr. Brian Rootes on the left, a dutch journalist in the middle and Peter Ware on the right, Febr. 1963
Part of a publicity photo
in the Sunday Times supplement
at the launch of the Imp.
My father essentially took over from Miller as the Engineering Director at Rootes - one of the few non family directors.
He has some rear engine rear wheel drive experience in working for Sir Roy Fedden on the rear engine Fedden car.
My father was passionate about the Imp. Even then he believed in small cars. He was a 'Small is beautiful' man and he genuinely believed that gas guzzling big cars were wrong in a world of scarce resources. When he was ill with ulcers (caused by the Imp!) he sketched out some third world derivatives for the Imp. Chrysler were not interested and the company had run out of cash. But the funny thing is that his sketches were very similar to what we now see as the Suzuki Carry which dominates the Malaysian countries Bali etc.
The Imp however was a disaster. It was launched six months too early and engineering-wise had a bad reputation for reliability. It ate up resource which should have gone into more profitable conventional cars eg. Hunter Avenger Humbers. And after that he held a very cautious engineering policy, giving rise to the Arrows, Minxes and Hillman Avenger.
His final battle with Chrysler was over the engine spec for the Avenger. He wanted over head cam (like the Imp) but the Americans would not allow it ("Ford don't have it, GM don't have it, why should we?!" When finally launched Ford with their Escorts were winning Rallies all over the world with over head cam engines!!
It was a small department and over a span of 10 years launched the Imp, Alpine, Tiger, Commer Van, Hunter/Minx, Rapier and a number of Humber upgrades - and finally the Avenger - they were young and very enthusiastic.
Quality control / Mike Taylor. - Thoroughbred & Classic Cars 1988 September. - p.62 - 67
An interview with Peter Ware, one-time Chief Engineer of the Rootes Group.
The Guardian: Obituary Peter Ware
Engineering the Imp that gave drivers the hump. - The Times (of London), February 29 2000
included here as The Times no longer carry it on their site. (From newsgroup alt.obituaries)
Peter Ware, 81: British car designer
Engineering the Imp that gave drivers the hump
Peter Ware, automotive engineer, was born on May 14, 1918. He died aged
PETER WARE was chief designer of the Hillman Imp, the small car launched
by the Rootes Group in 1963 as a riposte to the BMC's Mini. Although not
as compact as the Issigonis classic, the Imp had the same aim of
delivering the maximum amount of space in a vehicle which was light on
fuel and easy to park.
The two-door saloon had a rear-mounted aluminium overhead camshaft
engine and all-round independent suspension. The boldness of the design,
however, was undermined by production problems. The Imp was built at the
new Linwood factory near Glasgow, established far from Rootes's
traditional Midlands base under a government policy of trying to bring
work to areas of high unemployment.
But with a workforce recruited largely from the former Clyde shipyards
and with no experience of car manufacture, Linwood was dogged by labour
disputes. The Imp not only failed to reach its sales potential but
developed a poor reputation for quality and reliability. The original
aim was to build 150,000 cars a year but only 440,000 had been made
before production ceased in 1976.
As Rootes's chief executive engineer, Ware led a team which was
responsible for a rapid expansion of the car range, the Imp being
followed by the Hillman Hunter and Avenger models. By the standards of
the Imp, however, those were conventional designs and in engineering
terms less distinguished.
During the 1960s Rootes was taken over by Chrysler. Ware became
increasingly unhappy at the new management style and in 1966 he left to
join Dunlop. Here he headed the successful wheel division, as well as
working on a pioneering high-intensity natural gas burner and an
anti-skid system for commercial vehicles.
Peter Ware was the son of Sydney Ware, who had patented one of the first
carburettors and died while testing a racing car when Peter was four. At
14 he joined the Royal Navy as a cadet at Dartmouth and after passing
out he joined the Navy's engineering college.
Invalided out of the Navy in 1939 he joined the Bristol Aeroplane
Company, where he worked on improving the engine for the Hercules
bomber. Moving with his boss, Sir Roy Fedden, to Whitehall, he was then
appointed technical secretary to the committee on motor torpedo boats
and after the war joined Fedden's engineering company.
After a spell farming in Somerset, Ware returned to the motor industry
in the 1950s, working for Leyland and CAV on fuel injection systems
and diesel engines before joining Rootes in 1958.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
MR. PETER GEORGE WARE, A.R.Ae.S., M.S.A.E., has joined Dowty Fuel Systems, Ltd., as commercial manager. He has served in the Royal Navy, and held posts with Bristols and with Roy Fedden, Ltd.
From: Flight 1953, July 31. - p.150: The Industry; see photo
The Hunter (and Singer Vogue) were the first launched of the Rootes 'Arrow' range in 1966. Starting as Peter Ware's Project Swallow, it was taken forward by Rex Fleming as the Arrow Project and launched in Hillman, Humber, Singer and Sunbeam versions.
His name is on a few patents. E.g.: Dunlop Patent 1976: Support means for an electrically operated tool / Peter George Ware et al.