The Imp Site

Famous Impers

Michael Parkes

Twenty Questions : Mike Parkes tells Motor Racing what it is like working for Ferrari / Motor Racing 1967, February. - p.80-81

he had joined Ferrari in 1963 after a succesful decade of spare-time racing in many (very diverse) fast cars. At the time of the interview he was 35. When asked what private cars he ran, the answer was:

'I have a 1,000 cc Rally Imp and a 1952 manual gearbox mark 6 Bentley'

Ayrton Senna

Hearsay: "the car that Ayrton Senna loved"
Ayrton Senna when he first came to UK was said to have loved racing the Imp, because the handling was so close to a rear engine single seater and because of the fantastic little engine. I had never heard that about Mr. Senna. William Ware told me, Peter Ware's son. He said he thought he saw this in a Classic Car magazine - but could not recall which one.

Peter Gabriel

Phil Collins has a sort of blog on The Official Phil Collins Web Site. On October 31, 2006 he added a long post, and he mentions a Hillman Imp on the subject of 'Drinking on a gig day':

It's difficult to imagine but the Genesis with Pete, used to drive to gigs in his Hillman Imp... 5 of us... drove us crazy. He'd often forget, while he was talking and the poor car would be straining in 3rd gear at 90mph !!
Then when that packed up, we used Mikes Mini Estate. Every time we went through bad rain, the engine would stall as the plugs would get wet. One day the windscreen smashed and we did a couple of hundred miles with the wind roaring round our heads. The almost final straw came when we broke down 3 times on the way to Aberystwyth and 2 times on the way back, having arrived too late to play anyway...

Sir Norman Wisdom

Sir Norman (Entertainer) owned a Stiletto

Shane Lynch

Mr. Lynch (performer Boyzone) owned a '73 Sunbeam Sport.

Cary Grant

(1904 - 1986)

Cary Grant

Cary Grant was an English comedian from near Bristol, who left England at 16 to go work on Broadway. He retired from acting in 1966.

When the Imp was first launched in the US, it was called the 'Sunbeam Imp Sportsedan'. This photo shows Cary Grant taking delivery of his Imp Sportsedan.

Other Sunbeams
Intended mainly for export to North America, the 50s Sunbeam Alpine Sports roadster had a minor supporting role in the Cary Grant/Grace Kelly film 'To Catch a Thief' (Hitchcock, 1955).
Later Gary Grant owned a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger, I think.
1966 Sunbeam Tiger MK - Lost Photos

Anthony Perkins

Antony Perkins leaning against an Imp 7420 VC
Photo supplied by Jaap ten Hoeve

To escape typecasting, Perkins left America after playing Norman Bates in Hitchcock's 'Psycho' (1960). See his filmography: during 1962-1967 he played in european movies.


Rootes review, section 'Photo News':

"This Imp co-stars with Brigitte Bardot and Anthony Perkins in their new film 'Adorable Idiot', scheduled for release in the spring. The Imp and a Super Snipe police car, which also has a part, are now in Paris where the film is being completed. Another Super Snipe, a Sceptre and a Vogue appear in the film, too.
During filming in this country, 'B.B.' used a Super Snipe, and Anthony Perkins an Imp and a Sceptre for getting to and from location."

Rootes Group Review, March 1964, p.13


Prince Rainier III of Monaco

1923 - 2005

Prince Rainier III (Prince of Monaco) owned a Sunbeam Stiletto.

Anita Harris

Anita Harris (singer/entertainer/actress) owned a Sunbeam Stiletto.

Edie Adams

Edie Adams (US entertainer) owned a Sunbeam Imp.

H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip

The Duke and the Imp
the Duke drives an Imp ;-)  

See my file on the Duke doing the opening ceremony of the Linwood factories, 2nd May 1963.

Les Missiles


Une bombe, quatre Missiles
[supplied by Andrew Webb]
SIngle by Les Missiles, the cover features an Imp  

'Les Missiles' had hits in the sixties - the two mentioned in this advert ('Quand on est jeune' and 'Salut Larry') were published on a 1964 single. The song they were famous for is 'Sacré dollar', 1963 and again in 1976". It is a protest song against international economy and in particular against the dollar.
Their 3rd single featured a grey Hillman Imp on the cover. They were under a publicity contract with Rootes.


Richard Broinowski

'Driven' is a memoir by distinguished Australian former diplomat Richard Broinowski, with a particular focus on the cars he has loved and driven in Australia and his various postings in Asia, the Middle East, and North and Central America. While stationed in Tokyo, he bought his first car: an electric-blue Hillman Imp. I came across his book when I did some googling after two Imp folder by C.Itoh.


Gilda Sherwin

Not an Imp owner, but model Gilda Sherwin's photos with the Chamois at The Motor Show of 1964 are too pretty to not give them a spot...

The Imp Site
   Imp History>
Miscelaneous Imp stuff
© Franka