The Imp Site

Economy Competition

Mobil Economy Run

When Mobil gained a part of the UK petrol station market in 1952, it copied the Mobil Economy Run from the United States to Europe. The Mobil Economy Run determined the fuel economy or mileage per gallon potentials of passenger cars under typical driving conditions. The U.S. Mobil Economy Run had eight classes based on wheelbase, engine and body size, as well as price.

1965 French Mobil Economy Run
2nd outright (class win): Joe Lowrey and Margaret McKenzie
1965 Danish Mobil Economy Run
1st in class: Jensen and Andersen
1965 Austrian Mobil Economy Run
1st in class: Imp
1965 Canadian BP Economy Run
Lowest Consumption of any competitor with 46.34 mpg

These drivers achieved marvelous high mileages on cars which for the rest of us were performing only half as well. It was well known that the drivers were highly trained to drive in a manner which minimized acceleration and moved at speeds which minimized air resistance and inefficient fuel consumption. Read 'driving as though one had a screen to look at'.

    Mobil economy Run 1965
Mobil Economy Run 1965. - Mobil Oil Company photo, sent in by Joseph Lowrey (Green Shutters)
Hillman Imp in action on Auvergne racing circuit, scene of the 1965 French G.P.
  Margareth MacKenzie in Hillman Imp
Margaret MacKenzie driving, Joseph Lowrey with watches in the passenger seat.
photo used by Good Motoring (Thompson Press)?
  Mobil Economy Run - class win for Hillman Imp
Association Sportive de l'Automobile-Club Basco-Béarnais
  Economy Run class win: Hillman Imp
XHS 912 - Mobil Economy Run 1965, competition number 58
  Hillman Imp winning mobile economy run
Mobile Economy Run 1965 at La Schlucht, at an altitude of 1159 m. - Clayton R 53503 / C
  Hillman Imp winning Mobil Economy Run 1965
3 people in a car costs more energy. How much tyre pressure would have been allowed? Only standard?
  Hillman Imp won the Mobil Economy Run 1965
Mobile Economy Run 1965
  Hillman Imp
An observer was placed in each car to prevent any deviations and penalize for traffic or speed limit violations. This particular observer doesn't seem to be lightweight - although he does fit in the back ;-).
  Mobil Economy Run 1966?
Competition number 42, not 58. The 1966 Mobil Economy Run ? In filthy snow
  Mobile Economy Run 1966
  Again Hillman Imp XHS 912, but in a different Mobil Economy Run. Would this be the year 1966?
  shield Mobil Economy Run
The other photos don't have a shield as such, just a sticker.
A new kind of car for Rootes to build, the Hillman Imp had first-season problems with light alloy die castings for the overhead-camshaft engine which pushes it along.
Its Chrysler backed second year of production will really prove its potentialities.

Joseph Lowrey (Green Shutters), ref. 7813. - 253

Mobil Economy Run 1965

The 10th european run was organised by the Association Sportive de l'Automobile-Club Basco-BĂ©arnais with the cooperation of Mobil Oil. There were three stages with a total of 1.780 km. plus the tests per class of which one of efficiency on the Circuit of Charade at Clermont-Ferrand. Finish was at Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Mobil Economy Run

There were 7 classes:

Total Economy Drive

Total Economy Drive 1975

Chrysler UK wrote:
In the 1975 Total Economy Drive, Chrysler scored the best British performance in three classes.

(Our own touring figure is 45 mpg. - see Owners News on page 3 for more economy soties). Bernard Unett, better known for his success in rallies, won his class in a Hunter Super with 43.52 mpg.

Owners News

Three Imp owners supposedly wrote to Chrysler UK and got published in Chrysler News October 15th, 1975: a small selection of the sort of letters Chrysler receives every week from the cost-conscious Imp brigade:

John Clark, Kennoway, Leven, Fife:

"I have kept a very careful record and can absolutely vouch for these figures. When the car was new, and the engine still tight, the first measured consumption was 43,7 mpg. As it was run in, consumption gradually improved until it was regularly around 49 to 50 mpg. On many occasions it has been better than 50 and the record so far is a remarkable 54,6 mpg.

In September of last year this uncomplaining little car was unexpectedly pressed into service to take four adults and their luggage plus a large quantity of food on a week's self-catering holiday in Skye... Even during that gruelling week, whicj involved much second and third gear work on twisting and hilly single-track roads, the Imp averaged better than 48 mpg."

H.J. Shepherd, Beeston, Nottingham:

"I have recently completed a continental tour of 2967 miles and used 58 gallons (4.54 litres per gallon) which is 51 mpg. We, my wife and myself carried 3 cwt. of camping gear in the car which made the car ride very comfortably.

L. Clay, Fiskerton, Newark, Nottingham:

"Starting on 5th February 1975, I have kept a record of mileage and petrol. The averages are as follows: 50 mpg, 51.37 mpg, 50 mpg, 51 mpg, 49,16 mpg and 53.46 mpg.

I put it to you that this represents truely economical motoring under ordinary conditions with ordinary drivers.

Nor is our Imp (Mk 2) new. It is a G registration car with approximately 80,000 miles behind it."


John Simister
Grand Day Out : Mobil Economy Run / John Simister. - Practical Classics 2001, July. - p.30-37
A small-scale re-run of the 1966 Mobil Economy Run, which was won by an Imp (as was the 1965 event). For the re-run we tried to gather together the four types of car that won the different engine-size classes, an Imp, a Renault 8, a Wolseley 16/60 and a Humber Hawk. The Renault didn't make the start, because it blew a head gasket (rear engine, blown gasket, sound familiar?)
Colin Gunn provided his 12,000-mile-old, almost completely original Super Imp Spring Special, and it was almost like driving a brand-new Imp. Amazing.
Three degrees in economics. A gallon of petrol went a long way on the mobil economy run. John Simister takes three class-winners on a re-run of the 1966 event.

MOBIL ECONOMY RUN 1965 / Director: Geoff BUSBY. - Production Company: Films of Today (Great Britain), 1965. - 40.0 mins.; Colour

David Reei follows the 1965 Mobil Economy Run and provides a completely unscripted record of the event. - 25 min. ; Colour. - [... Guild]. - (a mention in: Film user: Volume 20. - p.260)

Total Economy Drive. - Chrysler News vol. 1, Nol. 1 (Oct. 15, 1975). - rear page. - [Motor Sport]

Car and Driver January–February 1981,
As the second energy crisis descends, C/D responds with another Reader Punishment Issue, chockablock with EPA Urban Driving Schedules, charts showing former winners of the Mobil Economy Run, and [...]

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