The Imp Site


Chris Humberstone of Woking, Surrey, designed a luxury kit, based on the Imp.



408 Imp-based
408 prototype


Chris Humberstone offers a design service. The 4O8 illustrated is one of many products of his very individual design work.

The 408 is an attractive 2+2 body featuring detachable gullwing doors, which are stored in the boot, when open-air motoring can be enjoyed. Re-fitting the doors takes only a minute, and besides being much quicker than a hood, they are watertight and permanent. Other features include retractable headlamps that cleverly provide daylight-flashing even when lowered, and a new type of built-in front aerofoil duct. The interior is in keeping with the rest of the design, being to a very high standard and of advanced, professional appearance. Full instrumentation is provided for, and four matching, luxurious, attractive seats and a leather-rim steering vheel are included in the kit, and all are specially designed for the 408. Detachable bumpers blend into the styling and are normally finished in a reflective colour.

All you need is a Hillman Imp floorpan and running gear. By purchasing a mechanically sound Imp (or Singer Chamois, Commer Imp Van or Sunbeam Imp), if possible with devaluing poor bodywork, it is possible to build a 408 in approximately 36 man hours, for less than £400. To ensure a continuing high standard of arppearance of all 408's built, all the difficult jobs are done at the manufacturing stage. Alloy wheels and wide tyres are supplied in the kit.

Work starts by bolting strengthening members inside the car. It is possible to still use the car with these fitted. Next, remove doors, disconnect eight items, and then cut the top of the body off just below the waistline. The new body then fits on to pre-drilled mountings on the strengthening members. Wipers, washers, heater and instruments are then re-fixed. The bonnet, boot, doors, glass, existing wheels and tyres, seats, trim, steering wheel, bumpers and roof etc. can then be sold, either for scrap or for spares. The ideal basis is a recent Imp Sport with a damaged roof.

The 408 is not just an Imp with a different body. It has been designed to provide a low drag factor, calculated at 0.31. The new body also reduces the weight of the car by nearly 3 cwt (road trim) thus raising the power to weight ratio by 20%. The combination of the low drag factor and low weight will dramatically improve the performance, and the response to Imp tuning will be even better. Also, the centre of gravity is lowered, and combined with the wider wheels and tyres the already excellent roadholding and Imp handling will be improved.

the whole character of the Imp with its race bred engine and responsive controls are ideally suited for the 408 project. Later, the 408 will be offered with its own chassis, and as a ***? car with *******? power *****?.

The manufacturing and marketing arrangements for the 408 have yet to be finalized. It is likely that another company will, by manufacturing rights acquired from us, be able to market the kit in September. Already, several firm orders have been placed, so a little delay is inevitable -but it will be worth waiting for - whoever makes it. The price of the finished kit will be around £250. Customer and trade enquiries should be directed to Chris Humberstone at the address below.


Other Designs: Illustrated on the back page is a photograph of the 408 in its early prototype stages, and a model of a new projected car 'Savannah' which has an exciting specification, to sell at around £3,500. Besides outside design work on cars, special purpose vehicles, houses and home extensions, Chris also pursues his own projects.

Favourite is the Quartette, featured by the 'Telegraph' and exhibited in model form by IBCAM on their stand at the 1970 Earls Court Motor Show, where it created a lot of interest and speculation. It is a full four-seater of unconventional design, with a mid-mounted power unit and lots of space for luggage - all in very compact dimensions. One for the future.
Another interesting project is an amphibious utility vehicle, very small, low cost and multi-purpose. It looks like an Italian styling exercise, scaled down. Uses include shopping, commuting, golf-buggy, mowing the lawn, rolling, general garden runabout (the world's fastest wheelbarrow), teaching children to drive, commuting to the boat (it's fully sea-worthy).
It makes the arduous jobs like collecting the kids from school a lot of fun. Talking of fun, it could start a new fun craze - a sport ot its own. Cheap to buy, cheap to run and so small you could keep it in the bedroom.

Chris Humberstone will take on pretty well any type ot interesting design work. He has facilities for Modelmaking, Artwork, Publicity, Promotion, Advertising, and he even offers a while-you-wait Instant Re-Print service
-all at

Telephone 67083 anytime.    

rear view of the 408, signed by Chris Humberstone


Maybe ? cars were made.


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The Allard J2X Story / By Michael J. Fuller
Chris Humberstone was a designer with a flair for tackling and managing complex engineering projects. Over the years he had worked at various racing teams and manufacturers, accumulating an interesting resume; Beatrice / Force F1, Benetton, and Brun Technics. In the late 80s Humberstone approached Alan Allard, the son of Sidney Allard, about licensing the family name for a future road car project. Though delayed a number of years, in the early 90s Humberstone finally formed Allard Holdings with the intent of moving forward.
In the meantime, Humberstone began to bring together a group of young, enthusiastic, if somewhat inexperienced, designers and engineers. Humberstone approached Hayden Burvill and began forming the core of the design staff, starting in late 1990.

Jaguar estates / Barto
Chris Humberstone is the designer of the Jaguar Owen Sedanca, the XJ12 Rapport Forté, the Triplex Ten Twenty Special show car, and of many others. He managed his own company, Chris Humberstone Design Ltd, specialized in one-off conversion for rich and famous. In the 80’s he worked as a freelancer for several years, notably as a consultant to several Formula 1 teams, including McLaren and Benetton. In 1989, he decided to capitalize on the resurgence of interest in the Mini by reviving the Harold Radford name. In 1992 he designed the innovative Allard J2X Group C Le Mans racer. He later became managing director of Spice Racing Cars in Australia. His career was cut short by his untimely death a few years later.