Design John Watts
design John Watts
A twinkle in John Watts' eye...

The Imp Site

Imp special in the making?

to be or not to be

John Watts writes that he would like to build an Imp special, based on the sketch that Jack Turner of Turner Sports Cars made. Let's cheer him on and maybe something will actually come of it...

The following entry has been added to your DreamBook for Feedback on The Imp Site
Date: 5 Dec 2010
Remote Host: (United Kingdom, Sheffield, Mobile Broadband Service )
Entry number 64:

Jonathon Watts
Something about you :
I have a Hillman Imp special which I am trying to get registered: a Turner Imp. And also I have some pictures of a friend's Imp special if you like to use them. The car is called a Dutton Warp.
Why did you visit / what were you looking for ? Did you find it ?:
to find my Imp special, which doesn't seem to be listed, but is a great website part from that
Which subject(s) need(s) better coverage ?:
a bit more on the special Imps, even if just one-offs


  Turner Sports Cars sketch
Jack Turner's drawing
by J. Watts
Watts' 2nd modification
Watts' 3rd modification

From: Jonathon Watts
Originating-IP: (United Kingdom, London, Mobile Broadband Service)
To: Franka
Subject: RE: Turner Imp - Re: Dreambook: Entry 64 for The Imp Site - Feedback
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010

Hi Franka
I am building the Turner Imp. I have some designs of my own, which I have done, which I will send to you. I plan on starting to building the Turner Imp sometime this year.
About the Dutton Wasp: my friend wishes it not to be shown to anyone, so I can't send you any pictures. But I would like my Turner Imp project to be recorded just in case I never get chance to finish it or start, so someone else can in the future.
I have added a few drawings, which I did by hand and some done on computer, which are added to this message. My design uses an Imp coupá and bonded a Turner designed body onto the outside of the shell. It maybe a convertible as to original design, as long as it will pass the new IVA test. I'll send you more pictures as I start to build it.
It will be made from aluminum and glassfibre and uses as much original Imp as possible and try to keep to the original Turner design with a few modification.
The doors will be the original Imp ones just reskinned.
If you would like anymore pictures or information please email me
Yours Sincerely
Mr John Watts


When I wrote back, asking about his background, about any skills with aluminium or glass fibre, I received a reply:


From: Jonathon Watts
Sent: Sat, Dec 18, 2010
Subject: RE: turner imp - Re: Dreambook: Entry 64 for "The Imp Site - Feedback"

My work experience is very good.
From the age of 6, I was helping my dad greasing his car (Morris Marina 1300) and went to a few car shows with dad and that is how I started to like old vehicles for simple engineering approach.
I left school at 16 without qualifications English or science, but i was told by my engineering teacher and my art teacher that I was gifted in these two subjects and should think about going on to college. I went to college and did an engineering course (castle engineering at the South Notts College) and I got my qualifications.
A few months later I met an old family friend, who owns a small collection of classic cars. I decided to help restore a few classic cars and buy one of my own: a car from the period, which I had seen when I was younger and which is no longer around as much.
My first car was a 1969 Ford Escort mk1, which I started to restore and made up new floor pans and repair panels and slowly started to know a lot about bodywork and welding. I bought another car after reading a buyer's guide in Practical Classics in 2005. And went out and bought a van of the car, which was of course a Hillman Imp van, which I still have and am still working on to get it back on the road.
A few months later I was offered a Hillman Imp Husky estate, which I decided to buy and use as a guide on restoring the van. I spent many hours just measuring the Husky and the van to make my van perfect again.
A year passed and I found this website on the Imp specials, which were made on the Imp mechanicals. And I was thinking about making my own, as seen that the Imp engine was one of the best engines that Rootes had ever made, all thanks to Coventry Climax. And I thought about what car I should make. I looked at the Davrians and Clan Crusader. Then read the Imp Club magazine (Impressions) about the Turner Imp project and how it was never finished and I felt that the car's design looked to be very ahead of it's time and would have sold very well, if it was produced.
This was 2008 and by this time I decided to go back to college and do a car mechanics course at Brookby Melton college. I did upto IMI level 2 as government cuts have stopped me completing the course. While I was at college I used the libary and read as many books as I could on fibre glassing. And I did some practice: making a small model in glassfibre about 1:20 scale of the original car. And I did a few body repairs to my Husky after the front wing arches need repairing after welded in metal i glass fibered the repairs.
It was now about 2009 and I bought another car (Austin Allegro with very low mileage) on eBay, after selling my Ford Escort mk1 to raise funds for my Turner Imp project. I designed the Turner Imp on paper and I made a small model. But where I store my vehicle, there was a small fire in my workshop late at night. Luckily it only damaged my paperwork and my model and not my cars - but one didn't get away so lightly. My van was damaged after a roof beam had crashed on top of my van, damaging the van roof, which I had repaired this early 2010. I started to redo the drawings. And now, college had just finished, I decided I could get started. But I would need room, so I sold the Imp Husky in October this year. Also the money was going towards my driving test, as I never passed my test in all this time, only driving off the road on private land.

I decided to get as much ready as I could on the Turner Imp project. And I made some half scale wings in alumimum. And I put a wanted advert on the Imp Club forum for an Imp coupé. And this is as far as I got with the project so far, but I will keep you updated. Hope this is helpful to you Franka.

Yours Sincerely
John Watts


IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval)

The Imp Site
   Imp Specials
      Turner Imp
         Trying for a Turner Imp? (this file)

External site: 

  • turner imp project / BritishLeylandman's photostream
  • Club member hillmanimpfan at the Imp Club forum - on Apr 03, 2010 he starts the thread 'turner imp replica'.
    Sep 13, 2010: 'started making a body made aluminium'
    Dec 02, 2010: 'i have built two front wings'
  • The Imp Club members section - Bodywork and Interior Help and Discussion: panel beating tips
  • Practical Classics forums - Classic chat: SVA/IVA Test rules
  • Practical Classics forums - Classic chat: DVLA is getting to big for its boots
© Franka