red rally Imp, from an '84 design by Nick Webb

The Imp Site

The only Imp information I found on the web (before I decided to put Imps on the electronic highway myself) was a photograph of an Imp in a rally.
The Imp has been doing well in races and rallies, and in Historical Competition, it still is... The number of Imps engaged in competition today [Imps at YouTube] is surprising (not!). And it isn't just all in the U.K. either: the Imp is eg. quite popular in Finland.

Competitive Impers

    Historic Rallies
    Historic Races
PCTs & Classic Trials
Economy Runs
Sprints & Hillclimbs
Grass track racing
Hot-rod races (banger racing)
Boats (hydroplanes)
Sidecars (motorcycles)


Successes of the Imp
in major competitions
in the first 40 months of its existence

Over sixty outright wins, class wins, and team prizes in rallies and racing events. As often as not the Imp is the smallest and slowest serious contender in the events.

1964Monte Carlo Rallybest performance by a British private owner
best performance from the Glasgow start
Hunt and Mac
April 1964 Belgian Twelve Hours Rally won- the 850-1150 c.c. class for touring cars Truillet and Mollers; locally-entered car
November 1964 R.A.C. Rallywon the one-litre G.T. classPollard and Baines
1965 Monte Carlo Rally
35 finished out of 237 starters
22nd overall; 4th in the 1-litre G.T. class + 2nd in the Coupe des Dames
2nd in the 1-litre G.T. class + 15th overall
Rosemary Smith and Margaret McKenzie
Pollard and Hughes
April 1965 Circuit of Ireland Coupe des Dames; 16th overall
3rd in the 1300 c.c. G.T. class
Rosemary Smith & Sheila O'Clery
Tiny Lewis and R. Turvey
April 1965 Tulip won outright + the Coupes des Dames, the G.T. category and the 850-1150 G.T. class
2nd overall, 2nd in the G.T. category and 2nd in the class
Rosemary Smith and Valerie Domleo
Tiny Lewis and David Pollard
May 1965Tanzania rally outright win  
May 1965 French MobilEconomy Run second Joe Lowrey with Margaret McKenzie as co-driver
May 1965Danish Economy Run won their class Jensen and Andersen
June, 1965 Scottish Rally winning the ladies' prize, finishing fifth overall and second in the 1300 C.c. G.T. class
won the class and finished second overall
Rosemary Smith and Shelia Taylor
Tiny Lewis and Robin Turvey
June, 1965MobilEconomy Run, Austria class win  
  International Gulf London Rally won, of all things for an Imp to win, the unlimited capacity class Evans and Spokes
 Alpine Coupes des Dames and the first prize in the 1-litre G.T. class Rosemary Smith and Sheila Taylor
  Polish Rally finished second Thistlethwaite and Yond
 Canadian BP Economy run lowest consumption of any competitor with 46·34 m.p.g.  
1965 R.A.C. Rally Manufacturers Team Prize Rosemary Smith and S. Reeves, Tiny Lewis and Robin Turvey, and Cowan and Coyle
   sixteen first places and seven lap records Alan Fraser racing team: Jacqui Smith, Bernard Unett, Nick Brittan, Ray Calcutt
1966 9th July international saloon car race at Silverstone won Bill McGovern
 Monte won the one­litre modified production class
the series production cars one litre class
Lewis and Bosence
Simonetta and Dirren
Lier and Vuarrez
  East African Goodyear Rally won the 1300 c.c. class + 3rd overall Collinge and Dunk
A month later Nairobi Rally won outright  
  MobilEconomy Run best overall fuel consumption: 54·37 m.p.g. - won the one­litre class but was also the best consumption of the whole event J.A. Parham
  Ireland won the ladies' award + 2nd in the 1300 c.c. G.T. class
won the 1300 c.C. G.T. class
third and fourth
Rosemary Smith's turn again ­with Valerie Domleo
Malkin and Lyall
yet two more Imps
  Tulip first three places in the 1150 c.c. class Lewis and Bosence, Rowe and Turner, and Heijndijk and Martini
April 1966 Governor's Cup Race in Venezuela won its class  
  Arboe and Veralpen Rallies, in Austria three of the first four places in their class in both events  
  Canada, Shell 4000 Rally finished eighth overall, first in her class and won the ladies' award Rosemary Smith with Anne Coomb
  Acropolis Rally, Greece win the Coupe des Dames, to finish second in class and third overall Rosemary Smith with Val Domleo
  Scottish Rally won the Coupe des Dames and the 1300 G.T. class, finishing third overall, while more Imps took the next three places in that class and another won the 1-litre series production class Rosemary Smith with Val Domleo
  Swiss Tessin Rally, Yurrup outright win;  
  Austrian Alpine Rally a class second  
  Swiss Championship Slalom a class win  
  Geneva Rally A second overall and a class second Lier
  international Gulf London Rally first three places in the 1600 C.c. G.T. class + the team prize as well Cowan/Coyle, Pollard/Baines, and Rosemary Smith/Valerie Domleo

Rootes pull out

Source: Sport scene / Reported by Mark Cole. - Hot Car August 1969. - p.23

Rootes have announced that they are withdrawing from motor sport. It seems a great pity that they are going to rest on their laurels, laurels which have earned them great respect with their victory in the London-Sydney marathon in a Hillman Hunter, their clinching the World of Sport Rallycross championship this winter with a Sunbeam Imp, the Imp's success in the '69 Mobile Economy Run, and notable successes in rallying and circuit racing.

Rootes say: 'Although we have achieved considerable success in international events over the years, we now feel the stage has been reached when, due to the limited number of manufacturers participating, the commercial value obtainable is now outweighed by the cost of achieving the highest honours in the sport'.

What a shame that having put so much in, they are now pulling out just when motor sport needs all the support it can get. I can't help thinking that Andrew Cowan/ Brian Coyle might have won the Scottish last month in their 2nd place works-prepared Imp if they has official service and backing. Let's hope Rootes will be back before too long.

1975 results


Results of the Works Imps (1964 - 1970).
Imps in rallies (post-Works) 1970 - ...
(Both files are very incomplete, of course).

Historic Rallies


Le Jog: Land's End to John O'Groats
Entry: about £800.

The MSA are organising the AXA Classic, a Classic Car run at the end of May. 10 start points and finishing at Millbrook. Each route takes in a variety of Hillclimbs, test tracks etc. The cost is £160 for the 2 day route or £90 for the 1 day.

The Classic Rally Association

Classic Malts Reliability Trial: Scotland
Entry: £2,350 incl. accommodation for 8 nights

Rally des Alpes

Liege-Rome-Liege (which finishes in Rome)

HRCR Historic Road Rally Championship
Minilite MSA British Historic Rally Championship: Harry Flatters Historic Tarmac Stages
HRCR Historic Road Rally Championship: St Wilfrids Rally (Nocturnal Challenge); CARS Half Night Rally (Nocturnal Challenge); Ross Traders Historic Tour; Hughes Rally; East Anglian Classic; Welsh Retrospective; Powderham Historic Rally of Devon
The Ypres Historic and Classic Tarmac Stages
Gremlin Rally; Co-op Motor Group Robin Hood Historic Stages

P. Loveridge: Historic Rally Car Technical
Permitted modifications to Hillman Imp

World Motorsport

UK Rallying:

Historic Rally Car Register HRCR

Rally Marshalling Site

The UK rules are layed down by the RAC. Cars must have either an RAC Historic Vehicle identity form or a more detailed FIA document. The basis for the identity form are the Homologation Papers produced by Rootes for the Imp. These are essential, as they contain all the legal extras that can be added to the Imp. There are two homologations:

They can be obtained from the RAC.

National Rally Britannia 1997, Final Classification

Class B1
 7     1   114  Alistair Bell / Peter Horsburgh  Austin Mini Cooper    0:50:15
11     2   117  Nigel Barnet / Paul Marshal      Hillman Imp Califo    0:51:03
12     3   116  David Rayner / Phil Smith        Hillman Rallye Imp    0:52:31
19     5   131  John Holloway / Mike Matthews    Hillman Imp           0:58:31 

East Anglian Classic Historic Road Rally, 1997

This was a historic rally with both Regularity sections and stages.

Class B1
Pos.  CarNo  Total   Driver            Navigator          Car                  Ability
 1       9    2629   Peter Valentine   Tony Pettie        Austin Cooper S         E       HRCR/HRCR      No/No
 2       8    4591   Owen Turner       Andrew Dadswell    Hillman Imp             N       GBMC/GBMC      No/No
 3       7    5725   Fiona Duncan      Michael Turner     Hillman Imp             N       GBMC/GBMC      No/No
 4       6    7871   Jason Thompson    Hugh Thompson      Austin Mini Cooper     SE       HRCR/HRCR      No/No
 5       5   11013   James Turner      Simon Hawkins      Hillman Imp             N

Historic Rally Championships:

   unlnown Imper


While the Rootes competition budget was devoted to rallying, the factory did support third-party teams on a small scale - officially only the Fraser team.


Index of racing Impers

The Imp Motorsport Gallery: all about spaceframe Imps

  part of 1967 Stromberg advert

Historic races / Vintage races / Classic races / Old School races

Historic racing Impers


The Finnish Ice-Racing Championship of 1995 was won by Ilkka Jutilas in his Stiletto.
Eleven Imps took part. Ilkaa Jutila won his 7th ice racing championship with his Citroën-engined Imp. Reijo was second with his Stiletto.


    From: Mark Chater
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999
I've never broken a diff or a do-nut on trial or autotest. I must be blessed in some way!

Classics are rough, but we are fortunate in the Bristol area to have the best and least damaging one of the whole lot - the Allen. I am somewhat biased as it is promoted by my club and the CoC is a friend, but the ACTC has voted it trial of the year about 5 times in the last 6 or 7 years.

There are Production Car Trials (PCTs) and Classic Trials. There are also Auto tests, but an Imp might break a donut or differential over those. Classic Trials are rough, PCT's are gentler. The entry fee is maybe £15.

1973 Production Car Trials Championship (Mike Hinde) - Clan Crusader.
1993 Production Car Trials Championship (Bill Moffat) - Clan.

Caltex North Eastern Car Trial (Victoria, Australia), 1966
Up to 1100cc: 1st - Driver: Peter Janson; Nav.: Peter Davidson

Colin Valentine does PCTs like the Southern Autos PCT

Stuart Cairney

David Wright
Steve Court

  Martyn If you would like to do speed events (sprints and hillclimbs), you will need to join a motor club that either promote them or are invited to them.
In the UK, if you run your Imp in road legal state, safety regulations are not too demanding. (But with early Imps the front seats may not be latching in place, and this has to be sorted out.) The standard belts, seats etc. are fine, no roll cage or extinguisher is required.
The idea is to keep this a sport. Many events you will be allowed to attend in your unmodified road car.
You will need overalls and helmet (maybe £50-60 each) and a 'non-race National B' competition licence (£27). Entry fees are maybe £50-65 depending on venue.
No-one runs a 1000cc class anymore. Likely class for an Imp would be 'Roadgoing under 1400cc'.


I have a video "Motorsport Moments; Hillclimbs", published by K.L. Speedvideo in 1992 which features a few Imps and Clans. It is the kind of video where not all goes right...

The Hill Climb at Longleat House (26-Sep-98): the Cashmores Imp attended and 15 Davrians, 12 of which were Imp powered. It was wet.

Imp Sprint '96: a hillclimb

Gerald Stanley/ Ray Stammers' G15

Norm Beechey

Joao Manuel Tavares

Philip Lomas used to hill climb in his very fast Clan Crusader.
He also had a Californian he raced, sponsored by Mobile Windscreens. He raced it at Castle Combe 3rd August 1990. And he raced a space-frame Stiletto ( at Castle Combe on the Saturday of 1991 National Weekend. So did Ian Skinner in the other space-framed Stiletto ( 15) that visted the National Weekend.

Simon Benoy and Gerry Richards

Gary Bond (Coronation Rally with Neil Fraser as navigator; sprinting and hillclimbing).


Ben Boult ran his 1040 Saracen Imp in Hillclimbs and Sprints. He participated at Weston and at Brighton (and where else ?). It was quick and it beat the Cosworth BDJ's (which cost some 12K).

Mark Chater converted his Davrian from Ford to Imp power (Sep 99), and then took it to Colerne for a sprint. (Colerne is an RAF airfield, where his motor club runs sprints). It is a very fast course of about 3000 yards (nearly 2km). Maybe 95% of the lap is done at full throttle.
One convoy lap to know the course, two runs in practice and two serious runs.
With his 998 Imp, he was thrown in with the Modified Production Sports Cars up to 1400cc. And the rest did have those 1400cc. He was fastest on the second half of the course, which has some very high speed corners.

A 998 Clan attended the Weston-super-Mare Sprint of 1983.

Autograss / Grasstrack racing

Roger Gill

Dave Payne used a Chamois during 1989 for autograss racing with the Mid Kent Autograss Club. He participated in class Production Cars up to 1000cc, so he was up against Minis and fiat 127s.

     rallycross Imp, comp. #89
Flying Imp, flying mud


Roger Burn was a BTRDA Autocross Champion in the 70s.

Andrew Cowan and Colin Malkin
Peter Harper (Fraser Team)

Juhani Kynsilehto, Oulu (Northern Finland)
A kind of pioneer in the Imp's rallycross history: First Finn to drive a rallycross in a factory team.
He had been the Finnish motocross champion. In the late sixties he was employed by the Wihuri concern, the importer of Imps in Finland. No wonder this keen competitor with motocycles, rally and race cars got the privilege to drive the Imp's rallycross-specials for Chrysler U.K. in England. Then and while he had some cars visiting Finland too; one race/rally Imp by British register REG-3 was here about 1970. That one had 110 hp at some 10500rpm.   - [Kari Tossavainen, 4 Feb 2001]


Paul Anderson, Norway.
Oslo Champion 1985. Imp, Sport engine, R15 cam.

Steig Hardeng, Norwegian Slalom Champion (class 1) 1990.
He drove Paul Anderson's 1969 Sunbeam 900. Paul himself ended up fifth. The championship was held in Sarpsborg in August 1990. The previous champion, Ivar Opås in a very special mini, was beaten.
Class 1 is for cars shorter than 4 meters.
Some specifications:

Team Wimedo


Imp engines were used for drag-racing motorbikes. They gave amazing power, but the pistons only lasted the event.

Hot-rod races

    competition Imp, Comp. #21
Unknown sport, unknown imper, likely Dutch, maybe French. Stamp on rear of photo: 11.1.74
 competition Imp, Comp. #21
Likely Dutch, maybe French imper. Comp. no. 21. Stamp on rear of photo: 21.2.74

Grahame Waite (in the late 70s)

One Imp competed in Scotland with moderate succes against the Escorts, circa 1974.

Date: 23-5-2010
From: Bill; (Dreambook Entry 58)

[...] Reading your article about various competitive imps, you mention Graham Waite as being the sole competitive Imp hot rod in Scotland. I must correct you there, as this is very inaccurate. I used to be a regular attender at Cowdenbeath hot rod circuit, which was run by Spedeworth Scotland in the 70s. The grid line-ups consisted of mk1 and mk2 Escorts, the odd Mini and Hillman Imps ! Regularly the Imps outnumbered the Escorts on the grid and were very competitive due to their suitability to short circuit racing. The only dissadvantage they had, was their lack of weight. Hot rod racing was supposedly non-contact, but inevitably it happened, and an Escort would be more successfull in pushing an Imp aside, than an imp pushing an escort. Top Imp drivers of the time were:
  • MALCOLM WATT (130)
  • JAMES KIRK (21)
  • ALEX GRANT (127)
  • GRAHAM WAITE (140).
There were more, but i can't remember them all. These drivers regularly embarrased the larger more powerfull Escorts end their drivers.


Alan Smith's double championship winning Imp powered Davrian Stiletto

Dutch Koni advert of 1976. (jpg, 111 Kb)

Leeds - RAC International Historic Rally 1996
Classification after Leg 1

OVERALL CLASS NUMBER                 CREW                         CLASS  TOTAL
  1     1     1  Jimmy McRae/Beatty Crawford    Porsche 911        G11  1:21:25
 12     1    41  Lee Matthews/Gary Matthews     Hillman Imp       TC11  1:43:46

James and Jenkins Coronation Rally, March 29th (1997 ?):

1) Clive Fidgeon/Cathy Fidgeon  Porsche 911   69mins 39 secs
7) John Morris/Peter Rust       Hillman Imp   74:32

Circuit of Ireland; Historic Rally 1996

General Classification - Final
Pos. Car #  Driver / Codriver  Make             Class   Class Pos.  Time
  9  213    Derek Parling / Christine Parling
                               Sunbeam Stiletto  B1       1         4:54:39
11   218    Philip Wylie / Gregory Lockwood
                               Hillman Imp       B1       2         5:07:26 

SpeedSport Design Clubmans Rally Championship
Hughes Historic Rally, 1st June 1997
final results
Historic Cars

No  Driver        Navigator         Car               Overall Pos   Class   Class Pos  Score
9   Ted Roberts   Rob Granger       Singer Chamois        7          B1         3       844
49  Wayne Ellett  Mark Wojtanowski  Sunbeam Stiletto     36          B3        NF        NF

Post-Historic Cars
No  Driver           Navigator        Car            Class  Posn  Score
27  Dave Williamson  Joan Williamson  Clan Crusader  C1        6   1345


Alan Conley in his works Clan (rallying?)

The Imp Site
   Imps in Competition (this file)
© Franka