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Jonathan Buncombe's Chimp

In Tony Wadsworth's garage the Chevron was parked next to Jon's father's trials Imp.
It was Buncombe Senior (John Buncombe) who then provided the inspiration, suggesting ---half-jokingly that Imp bodywork on the Chevron would create a very interesting saloon.

June 1976 the Chimp partook in the Tricentrol Super saloon at Silverstone. It had a Chevron B19 GT monocoque chassis and Imp body. The car's legality was challenged: the Chevron chassis had a much longer wheelbase and the Imp body was placed directly on this chassis. The car was banned by the stewards.
In its first outing this car beat the mighty combination of Baby Berth and Gerry Marshall. It's 1981cc, 270bhp, Swindon FVD engine was placed midship.

Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999
From: Graham Begley
Subject: [imps] Baby Bertha and the Chimp

Regular readers of 'Classics' will know that Bill Blydenstein, the legendary Borgward and Vauxhall go-faster merchant has been writing a nostalagic series on his triumphs with Dealer Team Vauxhall (DTV). This month (May 1999) he concludes his series with the story of the ultimate Firenza, Baby Bertha, driven to victory after victory by Gerry Marshall.
Included in the article is the following piece and the attached photograph entitled 'BB gets out of shape with Chimp'. Both are reproduced here with all due deference and acknowledgement to the gracious Mr. Blydenstein and 'Classics' magazine.

"Our Super Saloon competitors had not been idle. Mick Hill's rear-engined Chevy V8 VW Beetle looked the part, but rarely produced the goods on the track. One that did was Jonathan Buncombe's Chimp, an Imp powered by a 270bhp Swindon Racing Engines 2.0-litre FVD and based on a Chevron B21 sports car monocoque. It caused a sensation at the opening meeting at Silverstone, qualifying just four hundredths of a second behind polesitter Marshall. Bertha blasted away on the straights, but Buncombe would harry the Firenza in corners. For once the boot was on the other foot, and Bertha started to break sweat. A lap from the end fuel starvation momentarily slowed the Firenza and Buncombe went ahead only for Marshall to outbrake the Chimp into Woodcote. On the final lap Bertha slid wide at Club Corner and a delighted Buncombe was through to win on the line. Gerry congratulated him on the podium as he received his cup and Driver of the Day award, and the headlines all screamed 'Beaten at Last!'...
But there was a sting in the tail. At Thruxton for the next round, the Chimp was protested on two counts by Nick Whiting: an incorrect spoiler and non-standard wheelbase. Effectively this put an end to its challenge for the championship pity, because it deserved to succeed and very nearly did. Good cars never die though, and more than 20 years on the Chimp has been rebuilt as a Chevron and is competing in international historic racing."

Moving the radiator to the front and discarding the fan to gain an extra 5 b.h.p. pales a little in comparison with 270 b.h.p. :-)

From: calettoimp
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999
Subject: [imps] Re: Baby Bertha and the Chimp

Somewhere in my loft I have the article by I think CCC about the chimp.
Makes good reading.


Chimp cocktail / Terry Grimwood; photography: John Rettie. - Cars & Car Conversions 1976 (month?). - pp.33-35
Terry Grimwood drives a Chevron in Imp clothing. Date for the specifications: 16 July 1976
'The Chimp', the Chevron/Imp is driven by well known saloon ace Jonathan Buncombe (1948: 27) and owned by his brother-in-law, Tony Wadsworth.
Super Saloon: beneath the all-glassfibre Chrysler-based bodywork lurked a complete Chevron B21 2-litre sports racing car boasting 270 bhp of Cosworth power.

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