toy of an Imp

The Imp Site

Toys & Models

Though in my opinion all Imps are toys, some are more so then others.




Dinky Toys

Dinky Toy no. 138 was the Hillman Imp, which came in at least two colours: metallic pale green and metallic red. It's length was 3 3/5 inch. Dinky Toys were made by Meccano Ltd. in Liverpool. The Meccano Magazine of June 1963 featured a detailed article on the new Imp (with Rootes publicity photos. Five months later, in November 1963 the polychromatic green dinky Imp appeared. It was continued until 1972.
The Dinky Toys version of the Imp was nicely detailed. An opening boot shows an aluminium finished engine, and an opening bonnet shows a luggage compartment, complete with luggage: a brown suitcase. It had all the customary Dinky features: prestomatic steering, windows, seats, steering wheel and 4-wheel suspension.

Duncan Chew tells me that Dinky made their imp in blue as well. It is very rare. The only one he ever saw for sale was over £100.00 ($150.00).

There are two casting variations on the Dinky imps: the sizes of the front numberplate are different.

When it was introduced they asked 4 shilling 11 dime for one. I came across a site (7-'97) that sold toy cars and saw two Hillman Imps mentioned. The one had to fetch £55.00, and the other £60.00. (I suppose everything is worth what people are willing to pay...)
The rally versions are the more valuable, certainly the Dinky rally Imp, which seems to be rarer than the Corgi ones.

advert for Dinky toy
Later on Dinky also made a Rally Imp, marketed under sales no. 214. Its distribution coincided with the Monte Carlo 1966 (production stopped in 1968). It came complete with the cluster of three headlamps that had the real Imp disqualified.
It had competition no. 35 and reg. MTB 217C

Advert in a 1966 issue of Modern Motoring & Travel: the Rootes Group's motoring and lifestyle magazine

  blue Corgi on its box
Taken from Gene Abezgauz' web site
(used with permission)

Corgi Toys

Corgi's Hillman Imp had sales number 251. It was issued in December 1963. It had an opening rear window and a folding rear seat (operated by pushing down on the rear suspension, while moving the model backwards). And it had a tan plastic suitcase that would open.
(The plastic interior detailing and spring suspension was by then Corgi standard.)

Its colour was a very nice metallic blue, advertised as a 'superb flamboyant finish'. Colour variations exist with some models painted a distinctly a greenish-blue shade.
Silver trim was added to the headlamps, front decoration, side lights and front and rear bumpers. The rear lights were picked out in red. The interior was moulded in bright yellow. The wheels were of the shaped style that was introduced in 1961. The base was painted grey and included the model's 1962 patent number.

The Hillman Imp was packaged in the standard blue and yellow Corgi box of which two types exist. Both have the same picture illustrating the model in orange from a rear angle with the rear window open. Early boxes have the pictures on the two side faces whereas on the later type the pictures are on the uper and lower faces (in relation to the opening end flaps). The models features were listed on a white panel on the early box type and in white lettering on the blue box background on the later type. The end flaps of the early boxes show the model number on a black background; on later boxes this background is red. The box faces without the illustration had the wording rearanged, including the omitting on the later boxes of the wording "Glidamatic Spring Suspension" and "all with windows": these features were by now of less importance as the competition had caught up with Corgi in these respects.

A rare promotional version of the Hillman Imp was issued in Denmark. This model was painted non-metallic light blue with a decal on each door bearing the name "Jensen's" on a dark blue background, topped by a yellow crown. The Jensen company is a food distributor known for paté and preservative products. The pale blue model is also known to be available without the door decals.

Golden Bronze/ Golden Sand
The standard Hillman Imp appeared in a revised colour scheme in 1967. The body was now painted metallic copper and the interior was moulded in cream plastic. The same silver paint trim was applied as on the blue version and an additional white stripe was painted along the length of the model just below th side body rib.
The base of this later model was painted a different shade of grey that the blue version.

Further body colours on the Hillman Imp are listed in the book Corgi Toys by Dr. Edward Force and published by Schiffer. These colours are gold and maroon, but no further details are known.
The listing of the maroon version may have originated following confusion with the contemporary Dinky Hillman Imp, which was produced in red. The gold colour may simply have been the copper version wrongly described.

Production numbers
The sales of no. 251 totalled 593,000 before its withdrawal in 1967, after which it remained a component of the car transporter gift set no. 48 for a further couple of years.

Rallye Imp
Corgi also made the metallic blue Ralley Imp (white stripe down the side, black competition number on white background on both doors). The rear window opens. White interior, rear seat folded down. There are two types. 328 was available very soon after the rally ended on January 21. The only casting change to the no.251 Hillman Imp was the reproduction of large spotlights attached to the front bumper.

Corgi no. 328 (January 1966) 340 (March 1967)
typeHillman ImpSunbeam Imp
 Hillman letters on the bonnet and the arrowhead-shaped Imp motif on the front panel 'Hillman' badge on back panel above bumper barthe round Sunbeam badge with chrome strips on either side on the front panel 'Imp Sport' badges moulded into the doors
regn. no.FRW 306C
This number was attached to the lower edge of the Monte Carlo plate both front and rear. In reality, the number plates were positioned in the already cast locations below the front bumper and on the rear panel. But this would have been a rather difficult application in such a small area.
teamRosemary Smith / Valerie DomleoAndrew Cowan / Brian Coyle
winners of the class for production cars up to 1000cc
liveryThe works colours: metallic blue (of a much darker hue than 251) with a white flash (which was not extended in the front panel to facilitate production).
Rallye Monte Carlo 1966 plates on the bonnet and boot
a transfer stuck to the bonnet
blue with a pale creamy white interior. It featured white side racing stripes, number 77 door decals and Monte Carlo Rally decals on the rear engine boot and front plate. It also featured jewelled front spotlights, an opening rear window and silver shaped wheel hubs.
Monte Carlo 1967
a Monte Carlo number board mounted out the front and at the rear on the engine cover.
competition no.107 (decals: white number)77 (decals: black numbers on a white rectangle)
head lightsa pair of jewelled spotlights fitted into holes alongside the painted headlights on a blue front panel (though the panel on the real FRW was white)two pairs of jewelled yellow spotlights alongside yellow jewelled headlights on a white front panel
wheelsvaguely resembling regular Imp hubcapsvaguely resembling Imp Sport/Stiletto hubcaps
other details- cream interior- a large rib on the edge of the boot lid
- slatted Sport engine cover
- a windscreen demister moulded into front windscreen
- a rib over the front axle position
sales- only available for one year
- 138,000 were sold
- price: 5s 4d
 mint: £200; fair: £20; poor: £5

One was sold on Ebay by George's Good Stuff in April 2006 for £274 in the following condition: This beautiful and very very hard to find rally car model is in perfect mint condition, you won't find better than this anywhere, it's an absolute gem - one for the serious collector! It comes in its equally superb original box which apart from the lightest edge creasing is very crisp, clean, bright and 100 per cent complete, and also retains the original authentic white and blue stick-on label which was added to the original 328 model box, when this went on sale in the toy shops in 1967 - very nice indeed! Also included is the original correct Corgi Model Club News leaflet with the operating instructions for the fold-down rear seat on the reverse - very rarely found these days with this model! Overall this is a pristine example of one of Corgis many superb racing and rally car models from the mid-1960s, one of the most difficult to find and very rarely offered anywhere, and an absolute beauty for any serious collector!

The box of the 1966 Monte Carlo Imp was very similar to the later box used for no. 251 - even the same illustration was used, but recoloured to show the correct colour and decals. The box described the model a "Hillman Imp in Monte Carlo trim".

Police Imps

(Both at E-Bay) Corgi #506 near mint (light pain worn on the roof - white spots on the roof on pic - it is just reflection - C8.5) Panda in good box (some wear, wrinkles and small hole made by roof dome - C7.5) Don't miss this one! Shipping $2.50 -- $62.33
Corgi Sunbeam Imp Police car, in playworn condition. The model retains its jeweled headlights, and police bumper plate. It has a driver, but has lost its roof light. The glazing is intact with no major scratches, and the tail gate lifts.

Corgi Web site


The Hillman Imps in the 1/43rd scale car range. Vanguard have an online catalogue (Visa or Mastercard accepted).
  HM Coastguard
Board of Trade
HM Coastguard, COP 236: Vanguard Hillman Imp VA26002
can't seem to scan it right - it's dark blue, not black...
Vanguard, trademark of Lledo, had plans to release a police Imp in July 1998, together with another police panda.
Mike Scott, Grampian & Highland ACO and owner of the well-known Dumbartonshire Police Imp replica, has been in contact with Lledo's production managers in relation to the production of the Hillman Imp models through his membership of the Police Vehicle Enthusiasts Club. The PVEC die-cast model representative, Steve Woodward, had instigated the production of the Hillman Imps with Lledo for the purpose of obtaining a variety of Hillman Imp police forces car models, including the possibility of a limited edition set of Loch Lomond Imps.
Vanguards die-cast models collection now (Jan. 2000) includes one two-model set, the Hillman Imp Dunbartonshire police cars 'Pinky and Perky' (with a recommended retail price of £19.99).

Vanguard Hillman Imp (£11.99)

Vanguard Imps can be bought via The Imp Club's Regalia.

Lledo went bust Sept./Oct. 1999 and they are no longer trading. - Wrong again - check

VA40003.Singer Chamois Coupe - Polar White

  Telsada Hillman Imp California [sic] a red one and a yellow one.


Telsada made a six inch long plastic friction Californian, in red, blue or yellow. No. 81099. The box calls it a Hillman Imp California, saying it has a super smooth friction motor, chromed wheels and tinted windows.

There is at least one other large plastic friction drive Imp, made in Hong Kong. The example that Duncan Chew has, is a saloon, bigger than the Telsada fastback. It comes in a picture box with nice artwork on it.

Minix - Blue saloon in box   


Tri-ANG toys did not just make trains. During the late sixties, they made a series of HO scale plastic vehicles with chrome wheels and bumpers. Number RC10 was a Hillman Imp, a basic saloon. They were marketed by Rovex under the Minix name.
Scale 1:76 - OO Scale , for use with Model railroads
Can be found with several different colored interiors

a herd of Minix Imps

Minix made their Imp in at least nine different colours

The box has no cellophane so model can be removed for inspection and display on model railroad etc.

UK Minix site at

  lightblue Fun Ho! Imp on box

Fun Ho !

Fun Ho ! ® of New Zealand made a 1½" long Imp saloon, no. 15 in their series. Die cast made, it had no windows and black plastic wheels. They made their Imp in at least three different colours, including turquoise and grey. They used two different boxes:

Slot cars

Scalextric Imp shells
There has never been a Scalextric Imp, i.e. one made by Triang/Rovex/Scalextric/whatever but there was a lightweight slot-car shell in the form of a race Imp with wide arches etc. (also a Clan!) Very good proportions, but very thin plastic. They are 1/24 scale (rather than the Scalextric standard 1/32 so are a tad bigger.
Gillian Hill [Feb 21, 2001]: Imp Club Regalia had a stint of supplying scalectrix shells - there is an Imp and a Clan, one was 1/32 and the other was 1/24, I think, but can't remember which was which. They were available in different thicknesses, clear or white, but that varied. Will still have the contact details if anyone is interested...

From: modelracingcars
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2005

hello franka... would you be interested to learn of our 1:32 scale Imp saloon and California slot car models ? ...

the brand name is Highway32, the body and interior is resin, the chassis is from an mrrc model...
H1600 is the Hillman Imp saloon
H1700 is the Hillman Imp Californian Coupe...
it runs on scalextric track...
a kit costs around 45-49 GBP...
here is the weblink...

best regards...steve [tmc]

Model racing at Apex club

Linwood's Apex Car Club added in 1966 to their very full programme (of rallies, discussions, lectures and film shows) a slot model racing section.

Enthusiasts have clubbed together to buy wood to build a replica of Ingliston racing circuit. It has four tracks, accommodating four miniature cars at a time and is 60 ft. long. The L-shaped track has a 16 ft. straight and a full assortment of hairpins, S-bends and a wicked 'hump'.

So far, the Apex Club has acquired four racing cars. These however, are likely to become 'visitors cars', for already enthusiasts are at work on private models, miniatures with alternative axle ratios, special suspension systems, steering and braking.

This is achieved by shorting the electric motor, producing power braking or wheel locking. Some models are even equipped with lights - just in case the Club decides to run a miniature Le Mans!

Most models have been developed from standard slot-racing cars (obtainable from sports shops at prices ranging from 10s. to 45s.). But Linwood men who build Imps by day have decided to make scaled-down models of their own product. These little racing Imps will be formed in glass fibre and driven in the slot by the usual electric power reduced through a transformer.


Rootes News : a monthly newspaper for Rootes employees
October 1966; No.3 : p.6

r/c imp shell

Board Game
Another toy is the Hillman Imp board game. It's basically just Snakes & Ladders but with an Imp theme.



Miniatures. Pewter. Hand made in Sheffield, England
Nick Cleak gave me the Sunbeam Stiletto version. It's tiny (1/92nd scale) and very cute and has much detail. The windscreen is too steep, but the rest seems correct.


A model company in Wellington, Somerset, owned by Gerald Gilbert: Recollections, handbuilt white metal models.

1/43 scale model of a Hillman Californian, nothing short of superb, according to Nick Webb (Impressions 1994, Jan.). It has individual chromed bumpers, door handles, bonnet hinges, boot handles, rear lights and wipers, as well as superbly detailed interior (with early binnacle and correct seat pattern). There were going to be two versions: red with black interior and white with red interior. A Stiletto, Husky and saloon would possibly follow. A complete collection would be rather costly as each model would be offered to club members at £59.95 (£5 less than normal). Given that mint and boxed Corgi and Dinky Imps often sell for more than that, the Californian represents excellent value for money, as the quality is in a different league. Only 500 were to be produced (250 of each colour), so rarity value was assured.
Grahame Pearson liked it very much, too, and remarked how much heavier it is than the Corgis and Dinkies.
An advert in the same impressions.

Coal Imps
Anne Donnelly (Northumbria A.C.) was selling model Imps. They were designed to look as though they're carved from coal - you've probably seen similar models of other cars.
They're the same scale as the Dinky/Corgi models (1:43) and are priced 8 each.

   Doctor Who mobile
Dapol master-model. Figures at the controls: the 7th Doctor Who & Ace
picture taken from Paul Moore's site, previously located at
Dr. Who mobile

The WhoMobile

The Dapol range of Doctor Who action figures never included the Whomobil, though they thought about it. There is a picture of the tooling master-model in an early Dapol catalogue. The model of the Whomobile was intended for production during 1991, depending on approval and continuing market stability... It never appeared. Dapol Ltd. gave a press release January 2002:

"... after over 14 years of making Doctor Who products and actively promoting the Doctor Who brand, the BBC have decided not to renew our license."

Black Tree Designs
Black Tree Designs added three more Doctor Who Invasion Earth profiles to the Dr. Who section of our Articles and Rules pages on 21-May-2001, amongst these the Whomobile (Collection set DW1008 Who Mobile). Black Tree Designs make 28mm Hand Made Metal Models.

Cuddly Imp

The little FreeBSD Daemon


Corgi Hillman and Sunbeam : Philip Bowdidge details the models produced by Corgi toys of these popular British cars. - Model Collector. - p.17-21

Getting back to your Rootes ? Part 1. - Diecast Collector 1999, February. - p.15-19

Dave Lane on Dinky and Corgi models. - Impressions

More on miniature Imping... / Duncan Chew. - Impressions 1991 (Spring). - p. 11

Web references

Gene Abezgauz' Corgi page
Official corgi website is Corgi Collector Club

Diecast Toy Collectors Association at

The Imp Site
   Miscelaneous imp-related files
      Models & toys (this file)
© Franka
File start: July 5, 1997
File version: December 26, 2013

Duncan Chew helped with this file:
Five of the photos are his and
he send me the two magazine articles, too !