Nailing up a Nymph : Geoff Phillips shows how he turned a rough bit of old tat into into a pretty little Nymph. - Hot Car November 1976. - p. 47-49
Geoff Phillips was the not so proud owner of a Mk 1 Imp that was the finest collection of rusted holes you could hope to find. Mechanically it was sound and the lively little engine was threatening to tear itself out of the ailing bod. Then Geoff read a copy of Hot Car and everything fell into place.
The Hot Car in question included an article on the Nymph kitcar, a kit that would turn Geoff's rot box into a nippy little runabout and so Geoff forked out the dough for one of the very first Nymphs to roll of the production line.
Considering that this was such an early production example, the ease with which the thing went together was little short of amazing and the biggest building problem encountered was the need to make a hole through the bulkhead for the steering column support. There were one or two other slight mods mainly because the base car was a Mk 1 Imp and some of the pre-drilled holes were for a Mk 2.
A bigger hassle was actually getting the bits from Bohanna Stables, the manufacturers, as they were in the process of setting up production and some of the parts supplied from outside firms were slow in coming through.
No matter how good a condition your basic Imp is in, if you intend to follow in Geoff's footsteps and build a Nymph (or any other kitcar for that matter) you would be well advised to carefully clear all the components as you take them off and particularly on the subframes. Check for structural defects and apply some sort of protection. Geoff painted every thing in Hammerite hammer finish paint. This both looks good, covering a multitute of sins, and offers rust protection. He also overhauled the brakes fitting new hydraulic seals.
How long did it take? Tricky to say because it was done in dribs and drabs, but Geoff reckons that a week of concentrated effort would see a Nymph on the road.
Total cost was £594 for the basic kit plus £89.64 for the roof and sidescreens. A hardtop is also available at £84.24 and solid doors for £69.98.
Bohanna Stables are at Trevose, Cadmore End, High Wycombe, and delivery stands at around 2-3 months.
The 19 photos that go with the items below could not be scanned in a good enough quality.
Front suspensionHaving removed the complete suspension and steering as a unit from the Imp, it was simply jacked up into position in the new body shell and bolted into place. On Mk 1 Imp models, you are advised to fit a decamber kit (this one came from Ripspeed) as the lighter body makes the excessive positive camber even more so. The top of the spring / shocker unit bolts into a metal bracket that is supplied with the Nymph body all ready to be bolted into place as are a completely new set of brake and clutch hydraulic pipes. Under the fuel tank in the front compartment, a plate houses both brake and clutch master cylinder (worth replacing the rubbers on). Above the tank, a cross brace and steering support are fitted to keep the Nymph's knees apart! Again, all these parts mentioned come with the kit.
Rear suspensionYou'll need a trolley jack or two strong men when lifting the rear suspension in place. The body was rested on two large chocks of wood (axle stands would be even better) and he rear suspension cleaned off and painted with Hammerite. A plank was then placed under the two suspension wishbones and this was jacked up until the fixing points married up. It was necessary to cut away part of the engine cradle / spring support to make room for shock absorber. Where the suspension bolts to the bodywork, you'll need a helper or a pair of mole grips as the bolts have to held on one side and done up from inside the car. Don't forget the fuel pipe, brake pipes, throttle cable and clutch pipe which all go through and round the rear subframe. The brake light switch unit is also locate here.
Engine swap overWhen fitting the engine and the gearbox, slide the complete unit under the rear subframe with the rear engine mounting removed. Locate the front mounting or the rear suspension bracket and jack up the engine until the rear mounting can be fitted. Then, lower it until the rear mounting is sitting in the subframe. Fit the bolts on the front mounting and tighten, then align the rear mounting and check that nothing is fouling. Drill 4 bolt holes through the rear subframe and bolt up the rear engine mounting. The radiator cowling must be reshaped by cutting away 4-5 inches at the bottom as shown in the picture, and the wire mesh reshaped and self-tapped back in place. You'll also need a couple of Dexion or similar brackets to fix the rad mountings in place.
Fitting the interiorAs the original seats were rather tatty, a new set were bought from the breakers yard at a cost of £20. Various bits and pieces of trim were supplied with the kit, including leatherlook panels on the sides and a dash mounted parcel shelf with panels to cover the top half of the wheel arches and bulkhead. There was also a small panel to cover the fixings for the gearlever, handbrake and the choke. This was a manual Mk 1 conversion kit that was best fitted between the handbrake and gearlever - the early Mk 1s had an auto choke that gave a lot of trouble. Special strengthening points are built in where the seats belts are mounted - the chrome fitting next to the belt mounting in the pic is for the hood stay.
ElectricsAs the Nymph body is made up from fibreglass, every electrical item has to be earthed. The easiest way to do this is to fit a number of of terminal blocks - one on either side of the engine and the same at the front of the car for lights, dash, radio etc. These were made up using plastic terminal strips and male Lucar connectors so that the earth wires could just be pushed on. The complete loom from the Imp together with instrument cluster was transferred to the Nymph. This is threaded through various holes in the bulkhead and then along the side panels all the way to the engine compartment.