The Imp Site

Ladbroke Hall, Rootes London,
Technical Department racing team

The Ladbroke Hall TD racing team did circuit racing (Brands Hatch; Mallory Park; ...), hillclimbs and sprints.

Drivers (TD, too ?):

     Roger Bailey, Bob Clarke, Alan Moore, Ian Lowe, and Rowan Leck; GYO 636C
Roger Bailey, Bob Clarke, Alan Moore, Ian Lowe, and Rowan Leck
  Woburn Hillclimb: F. L. Smith (Ladbroke Hall), comp.# 10A; KGT 423D
On the start line at Woburn Hillclimb: F. L. Smith (Ladbroke Hall, sales promotion liaison executive) has
his specially prepared Hillman Imp at peak revs. The car finished second in its class. Story on page 4.
  Woburn Hillclimb: F. L. Smith (Ladbroke Hall), comp.# 10A; KGT 423D

Service men race pair of Imps

A GOOD deal of success in restricted race and sprint meetings has been achieved throughout the season by a group enthusiasts in the service of department of Ladbroke Hall.

Organised jointly by N. P. Jackson and F. L. Smith, the team fields both 875 c.c. and 998 c.c. versions of the car. The latter has a modified Rallye Imp engine, with two twin-choke Weber carburettors.
As in other forms of endeavour, not everything has been troublefree all the time. An engine blowup at Mallory Park involved a great deal of midnight oil burning before the car could be prepared for an event the following week.

The time was well spent, however, and at Santa-Pod on September 25, the car, driven by Roy Capell and John Samways, was first and second in its class, beaten for fastest time of the day only by a blown Elva and a stirring device powered by 6 litres of Cadillac machinery.

Associated with the project have been Roger Bailey, Bob Clarke, Alan Moore, Ian Lowe, and Rowan Leck, seen below.

Rootes News, Oct. 1966, no.3. - p.4


From: Bob Clarke
Sent: December 2005

  Roy Capel, Ladbroke Hall TD racing team
One of the first racing Imps.
Driver: Roy Capel
testing (Bob Clarke believes) at Brands Hatch

TD at Rootes London
As members of the technical department at Rootes London, our responsibilities were to work with the factory to provide technical support for our own workshops and the dealer network. As you can appreciate we were kept very busy with the various manufacturing and technical problems that did exist with an evolutionary vehicle like the Imp.

TD racing team
Lead by the support of our then General Manager Neville Jackson, we were given permission to evaluate running our own racing team. But one of the main conditions was, that it had to be low key - in order that we would not infringe on the factory activities with the Fraser Imps or compete against them. The other condition was that we built the cars and ran them in our own time.
The team consisted of myself, Roy Capel, Ian Lowe and two others.

Low budget
So the team was formed with a limited budget sourced from Ladbroke Hall division and to keep costs down, as we were also responsible for warranty activities our spares had to be developed from warranty return scrapped components. A large task as you can imagine.

We also developed upgrades for customers cars and produced a limited run of Imps for sale as CP Imps (ComPetition).

Hill climbs
Our first car was the one I sent you a picture of, which we used on a low key basis mainly on hill climbs at Woburn which was successful in the first year (1965).
Our competitors then were people like Bill Blydenstein - first with his Mini and his Vauxhall Vivas (and it was from there that he formed the long term relationship with Gerry Marshall and Vauxhall).

  The perspex Imp might have lasted longer if not for the limited budget of Rootes.

Not a Rootes works team
In 1966 we then entered various championships where our cars were successful, however as we had to be low key and given that we were not running with a full budget, we had to be careful that we were not perceived as a Rootes works team and seen as 'Pot hunters'.

During 1966 we built our first true racing car from a shell to run in the 850 Free Formula championship and achieved many successes in the years that followed.
The frustration was that we could not maximise on the successes due to the Fraser team relationship. However we were expected and did support other teams including Fraser under the technical management of John Griffiths and also the successful George Bevan Imps.


This is a potted history as there is much more, as we also built the Imp for Jeremy Nightingale which was driven by numerous drivers such as Ray Calcutt, Barry (Whizzo) Williams and even James Hunt.


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File started: October 9, 2008
File version: December 25, 2013