John Lockwood built his racing Hillman Imp all by himself. It took him twelve months, during which he worked very long hours.
The Imp was stripped of anything unnecessary: inside only a racing seat and a safety harness were all that was to be found. Its bonnet, boot and doors are fibreglass.
Suisse Auto is the name of John Lockwood's Imp tuning and restauration workshop. They sell all the parts that John used to make this Imp special. It is painted in the House colours: bright red with a white cross on the roof.
The modifications to the Imp include a lowered suspension. The rod end bearings are spherical, to have more room for adjustment. The front wishbones are fabricated by Suisse Auto and the spring rates are what Suisse Auto recommends.
The Imp's first outing was at Mallory Park on May 28th 1991. It had a few teething troubles, but it finished second in class.
Since then the Imp has won its class in every race and it has set a string of lap records.
Donington Park, race weekend 12-22 July 1991
Racing on the big track at Donington was a novelty for John Lockwood. His practice time was 2m 9.35s, which made him 15th on the grid and fastest in class.
From the start of the race, Joihn maintained his position of first in class, leading the Austin A40 of Marcus Pye (editor of AutoSport Magazine). On the third lap, a misfire was detected, but John carried on and quickly closed on a Lotus Cortina , a Triumph 2000 and a BMW 2002 Tii. On lap seven he pulled off a spectacular outbraking manoeuvre on the BMW. By the next lap the misfire had worsened, forcing John to retire on lap nine (handing the the class win to Marcus Pye).
The misfire was later found to be caused by a broken spark plug.
BRSCC 1989 Historic Saloon Car champions with 6 lap records; champion of 1990 and 1991, too.
The Imp Site