The Imp Site

1965 Rootes Farmobil


From: Fred Werring
          c/o The Maya Truste for Vehicle Preservation
Date:  Mon, 19 Nov 2001
Subj.: Farmobil

Regarding the updated site, as advised in our previous e-mail -
There are now apparently two prototype UK-modified Farmobils in existence. They are quite different in design from one another.
The one we owned and restored was an awful thing to drive, although it would go anywhere offroad in mud, due to its rearward weight distribution. The steering was its worse fault, being very notchy and imprecise as well as very light on the wheels. It may well have been capable of 50 mph, but on-road 30 was interesting enough!
The modifications involved in fitting the Imp engine and its attendant radiator and cooling system was also not that successful, as despite the best efforts of all our local auto engineers and Imp specialists, it would still overheat.
The cause/s appeared to be: too small a radiator (possibly an Imp unit) and too long a pipe run from the front to the back.
The restoration was undertaken by a professional restorer on our behalf. All the rust was cut out from the body, and a new corrugated floor section was made up for the 'well' in the pickup body. The colour was changed from the original beige and red to a light blue. A new hood was made up for the cab.
Otherwise, the vehicle was left almost totally original. It retained its original Coventry registration, and the logbook showed the Humber Motor Co as the one former keeper.
The Devon farmer from whom we bought it was a personal friend of Lord Rootes, which is how he came to own the Farmobil.

The original development work for this light agricultural all-purpose flat-bed truck was undertaken by Steyr Puch in Austria or Fahr Gottmadingen in West Germany according to another source. The rights were sold to Helios in Greece, who produced it with a 700cc BMW Isetta air-cooled engine. Chrysler obtained a controlling interest in Helios (Chrysler Hellas S.A.I.).
Chrysler International then bought the world-wide manufacturing rights. They developed the basic vehicle considerably. They imported two Helios-made vehicles for trials in the UK. Both got fitted with the water-cooled Hillman Imp engine, with a front-mounted radiator. (1965)

The design of the Farmobil is simple. No heavy presses were needed to make the body panels. It has a robust unitary chassis-body structure, independent suspension (leading and trailing arms) for all wheels, and a large ground-clearance for off-the-road operation. The power unit is mounted at the rear-end of the vehicle and drives the rear wheels.

After the board decided not to continue the experiment, one was broken up (?) and the other was road-registered (CVC 631D) in the name of Humber Motor Company. Six months later this was sold to a farmer in Devon, who used it from 1965 until 1986 under 'agricultural exemption'.
When the little vehicle suffered a total brake failure, it was consigned to a barn and advertised. Ron Werring of Launceston bought it. He and his son Fred restored it from 1991 until 1995, at which time Thoroughbred & Classic Cars featured a ¼ page article on this farming curiosity which proclaimed the restoration complete and the vehicle for sale.

It was sold in 1996 to a collector in Leicester. At that time it was thought that this was the only remaining example of the two prototypes that Rootes outfitted with Imp engines. However, the man in Leicester subsequently located the second one in a scrapyard in (?) East Anglia. It differed in several ways from the one R. & F. Werring restored.
Fred Werring from The Maya Truste for Vehicle Preservation: "I understand he was negotiating to buy this machine, but I have not heard whether he was successful."

Simon Benoy bought it and still had it March 2000, saying it was in a very poor condition but worthy of attention and awaiting restoration.



The Imp Family
The Imp Site

The drawings are taken from a Belgian 4-page leaflet in Dutch about a Chrysler Farmobil that does not sport the Imp engine, but a 2 cylinder 697cc engine of 35hp @ 5000rpm.

De wagen met duizend-en-één mogelijkheden

4 onafhankelijk-geveerde wielen - luchtgekoelde motor - 4 synchrone versnellingen - laadvermogen (fabrieksopgave) 568 kg (inclusief bestuurder)

Farmobil een uitzonderlijke, lichte vrachtwagen die aan AL Uw eisen voldoet

In de Farmobil bezit U een uiterst handig en practisch voertuig dat alle kwaliteiten van andere merken in zich verenigt. Uitstekende rij-eigenschappen door onafhankelijk-geveerde wielen. Pittige, luchtgekoelde en zuinige motor die gemakkelijk toegankelijk is voor onderhoud en nazicht. Met de Farmobl kunt u allerlei vrachten vervoeren. Bovendien is hij vlug omgebouwd tot een 6-persoons wagen.

Met de Farmobil kunt U werkelijk alle kanten uit

De gemiddelde lichte vrachtwagen voldoet meestal uitstekend aan bepaalde doeleinden en onder gunstige omstandigheden. Doch er zijn grenzen aan wat hij kan doen, waar hij kan rijden en dus ook aan wat hij voor U kan opbrengen.

Daarom hebben wij de Farmobil gebouwd - een solide, handige wagen die zowel op de weg als op ruw terrein, ongekende mogelijkheden biedt. Kortom, het is een universele vrachtwagen voor gebruik in de stad en op het platteland.

Lage aankoopprijs. Geringe onderhoudskosten. Een door en door beproefde, luchtgekoelde motor van 700cc. Vergt een minimum aan onderhoud. De buitengewone toegankelijkheid van de motor maakt een snel nazicht mogelijk. Zeer stevige doch lichte constructie, aangepast aan alle gebruiksmogelijkheden. Uitstekende suspensie middels de vier onafhankelijk-geveerde wielen. Rijdt op alle terrein. Laadvermogen van 568 kg. Mogelijkheid tot het inbouwen van een krachtaftapping (power take-off), zodat de Farmobil niet alleen rijdend doch ook al stilstaand voor U kan werken. Lichte besturing. Comfortabel en veilig rijden. Maximum snelheid op de weg 90 kmu.

Farmobil biedt zoveel voordelen