The Imp Site

Singer Chamois

October 1964 - April 1970

As the Singer Gazelle had been in existence for many years, Singer decided to embroider on the theme and called their Imp version Chamois: small, surefooted and fast. Maybe not overly glamourous, but charming and effective, with a startling acceleration.

'Singer' stood for luxury cars and Imps with a Singer badge maintained that traditional image. The interior was really beautiful with polished walnut veneer. Seats were larger and more comfortable than in the Imp. A temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge and heater blower were standard fittings. On the outside they sported a large dummy grille, bumper overriders, anodised aluminium wheel trims and an exclusive range of colours with a stripe down its side.

The Singer Chamois was first introduced in October 1964. Most of the Imps teething trouble was over, but customer enthousiasm needed a revival. This new model took care of that. The Chamois was an immediate succes. It received a very favourable press and it sold !  Better than the competition (Riley Elf, Wolseley Hornet, Ford Anglia Super, Triumph Herald 12/50), although it was more expensive (at first). The basic price was 582, only £50 more than the De Luxe.

It took advantage of the detail improvements of the Imp's first year. It retained all the mechanics of the Hillman Imp and added a few virtues.
The Chamois differed from the early Imp in that it had Dunlop SP41 radials fitted to wider (1/2") rim wheels. These were an improvement on the C41 crossplies, which caused gradual understeer. The SPs kept handling neutral up to much higher speeds.
Other differences were a heavier clutch, better sound damping.

'Motor' Road Tests Max. m.p.h. 0-50 m.p.h. (sec.) Overall Fuel (m.p.g.) Touring Fuel (m.p.g.) Test Report Date
Hillman Imp, 875 c.c.
superseded by later models
78.4 14.9 35.1 43.7
Singer Chamois, 875 c.c.
superseded by later models
79.1 15.0 33.4 42.1

Mark II arrived in September 1965. It was much the same -- the Chammy mainly wore its Mk II badges because the other Imps did.
In April 1967 there was a limited edition of Chamois Spring specials.
October 1968 the Mk II designation was discontinued. Along with the rest of the range the Chamois was given a new dashboard layout with full width facia and round dials; new seats and upholstery and different external trim. Both the Chamois and Chamois Sport gained four headlights but lost their pretty veneer trim and had to make do with plastic 'wood' trimming instead.

The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, family Bovidae, order Artiodactyla, is found among the mountain crags of Europe and western Asia. The agile chamois has padded hooves that enable it to be extremely surefooted. Both sexes have slender vertical horns 15 to 20 cm long (6 to 8 in) that look backward at the top. The chamois is on average 122cm (103-134cm) long (48 in) and weighs 23 to 45 kg (50 to 100 lb). It eats lichens and mosses in winter. Hunted for meat and for their soft skins, chamois are now protected in the Swiss National Park in the Alps of Graubunden.

Singer Chamois Sport

The Chamois Sport was announced in October 1966, together with the Sunbeam Imp Sport. When Rootes dropped the name of Singer, in the first half of 1970, only the Sunbeam Sport remained.

Singer Chamois coupé

After the Hillman Californian was introduced in January 1967, the Chamois coupé followed in April. Neither the Californian nor the Chamois coupé lived a long life. They did come through the major face-lift of late 1968, but they soon fell victim to Chryslers' rationalisation policy, due to their limited sales.
October 1967 - April 1970

Lledo make a Singer Chamois coupé in their Vanguards series. It's Polar White with red interior and a blue side line: VA40000 (expected: December 1999)

All three Singer Chamois types were discontinued in January 1970. (Other sources say April 1970).
Sport and Coupe models are quite rare to find.

Singer Rallye Chamois

A limited production was made autumn 1965, at the same time as the Hillman Imp Rallye (or Rallye Imp). Sportscar wrote in their December 1965 issue: Rootes are now offering a rally version of the Singer Chamois, similar in concept to the 65 bhp Imp. Price of the factory conversion is £302. (p.374, page with bits of info, called 'Insight'.

  Colour Scheme
Sunbeam Chamois Mk2
   Coachwork  Pencil Line  Trim
dark green

Sunbeam Chamois

The Sunbeam Chamois was only sold outside of the U.K. In the U.S. all Imps were sold as Sunbeams.

The Imp Club - Chamois Model Registrar: John Simister.
He started the register when the Club began, and still holds the office.

The Imp Site
   The Imp family
      Singer Chamois (this file)
         Spring Special
         Sales Promotion Singer Chamois Spring Special - letter of W. Elsey
   The Library
      John Surtees says: Women will like this chic car (news paper article)
   The Imp Gallery
      The Sunbeam Chamois gallery

Links to other sites:

British Pathe: Motor Show - Earls Court, London, 1964. quick image of the Singer Chamois [sic: Shamois]

© Franka