Bob Blackman and Colin Valentine own the only two Llamas
known to the Imp Club. Bob's car was at National 99, Colin's is
(and I quote himself:) 'almost' running, and has been since 1997.
There is one Llama in The Netherlands in a rough condition.
A kit car designer, Neville Trickett, thought up a Mini-Mokish car using Mini parts and a steel chassis and a fibreglass body. He continued to use the Imp engine & gearbox and suspension parts in a similar looking variant. This was taken in production by Siva as the Llama.
The Siva Motor Car Company Ltd., based at Aylesbury (Bucks.), marketed the Llama in Britain as a fun and utility vehicle, starting with the 1974 Motor Show.
At the time they claimed an assembly plant in the Lebanon and other overseas locations. There were also claims of sales in Malta, Seychelles, the West Indies and Middle East. The publicity handout said: "The whole conception of the Llama is that of a cheap economical utility vehicle capable of production in developing countries where there is a shortage of skilled labour and a need for industrialisation."
Siva offered plans, tools and techniques to any (third world) country that wanted to set up an indigenous motor industry.
An 80 hours Do-It-Yourself packet: a simple glass fiber body, a tough tubular steel chassis (other source states: square steel frame chassis), and the trusty Hillman Imp engine, transmission and suspension. The kit included all glass and seats.
It was available as a convertible, a saloon or a van, or with an open top.
Not every owner was a fan.
It seems the gear change had suffered from from the Imp-to-Llama transplant.
Colin Valentine has made several attempts to track down rumours of other Llamas, but so far (21 May 1999) without success.
When the Siva operation failed in 1978, the moulds for most of the Siva vehicles were bought by a Mr. Cyril Malem of CTG Racing Ltd. of Wimborne, Dorset. He still had them in 1984.
The Llama was produced in very limited numbers during 1976/1977.
The first one ever to be produced was seen in the television series Doctor Who, where John Pertwee drove it all through one series.
It was restored by Mike Sturrock (Iver, Bucks.), at age 15 (1983). He wrote to The Imp Club that he was amazed at the strength of the chassis and body.
Siva Motor Car Co Ltd.
P.O. Box 41
Central Trading Estate
Bucks HP19 3 DF
Phone: Aylesbury (0296) 87321
There's nothing like it in the country
What exactly is the Llama, we're asked as soon as someone takes even a glace at it? An open-top? A two-seater? A four? Solid doors or easy-zip flaps? A van? Work-horse? Cross-country? Family car? Fun car? And the answer is: yes! It's all of those things and any of those things. New cars are so often old cars with a face lift.
Strong, chunky, multi-purpose, changeable to suit your specific demands of it. An exciting new experience - but with valuable long experience behind it. Literally. At the rear of the Llama is a proven Chrysler power unit. Our heavy-duty fibre glass is lioght but strong, fire-resistant and rust-proof. The Llama is quite the most versatile vehicle on the road. Or off it!
You might be tempted to compare the Siva Llama to other famous versatile vehicles. Go ahead! It certainly shares their ability to eat up motorway miles almost as easily as it laps up a run over a farm-track. But the big difference is price. There's nothing near Llama's versatility at Llama's price. Even adding your choice of an extra top, there's still a saving over the competition. With its multipurpose nature, strict fuel economy, lively performance, and resistance to old bugbears such as rust and knocks - the Siva Llama is the way more cars will have to go. But the Llama's here now!
What a performer!
That word 'performance' is used very loosely, in our opinion, by so many people in the motor world.
But there's much more to performance that speed. You must think also of economy, handling, ride, traction, cornering, manoevrability; the Siva Llama combines all these in a strikingly original design. Neat, compact, sturdy, purposeful, it looks like it could take a hard-working life - and it can.
Llama's rear engine adds weight over the driving wheels for traction when you need plenty of grip. A tight turning circle means fewer three-way turns when you're cramped for space. Economy naturally deoends on both the terrain and the driver. But you'd need a very heavy foot not to get 35 mpg. Steady road cruising will push that up to around 45 mpg (6.2 litres per 100 km).
Or in town. A Llama is a very civilised vehicle among traffic. Smooth a low revs, nippy when acceleration's called for, and so handy when it comes to parking.
But mechanically-speaking, it's an experienced vehicle. Llama's power components being those of the popular Chrysler Imp, you don't need to hunt around for spares or servicing. Chrysler's nationwide network of dealers are there to take care of you, too.
Test-drive a Siva Llama soon.
Siva Press photo
unknown magazine or newspaper, 1974
Inevitably, like any large company, British Leyland have made one or two unpopular decisions in their time. Not least of these was to put the Mini Moke out to grass. Its cheeky character and tough go-anywhere air found popularity with many, particularly the young and adventurous.
If you feel because of this that your ideal transport no longer exists, then focus on the Llama. No, not the furry sort, but the new glassfibre go-anywhere runabout by Siva.
Siva are best known for their gull-wing doored, Aston Martin-engined S530 that took pride of place on the styling stand at the 1971 Earls Court show. Prior to that, their designer, director Neville Trickett produced the Mule, the forerunner to the Llama and he was also responsible for the Dr Who car.
Priced at £1150 for the basic vehicle, the Llama has a body in self-coloured GRP, mounted on a treated steel chassis. All running gear is supplied by Chrysler and the car is powered by the 875cc Imp engine, mounted in the rear and driving the rear wheels. Initially sales will be restricted to the UK, but eventually its designers hope the simplicity of construction and consequent ease of assembly will find it favour in countries all over the world.
Carrying capacity is 600lb, turning circle 28ft and, as Siva claim, it can of course be serviced by any Chrysler dealer. We had a quick look at several versions of the Llama and drove one briefly on the road, but sadly not on the rough. We felt the finish was as they say, basic; perhaps a little too much so by modern standards. Also, having found the unladen ride quite firm even on smooth surfaces, we wonder how it would fare on the rough, with what is actually quite a low ground clearance and if it would in fact be any better than, say, a Renault 4 - a remarkably adaptable vehicle with go-anywhere tendencies that is considerable cheaper and better equipped. Time will tell.
Siva Llama. - Drive : the AA magazine. - 1975 Summer
reprinted in Impressions 1993 November. - pp. 34-35
The Siva 'S160' began as a project for Marcos as a GT with a Hillman Imp engine. Marcos dropped it. Siva re-designed it. The introduction was on the 1971 Racing Car Show. The 'Spyder' was based on a VW beetle floorpan. Special was that all the switchgear housed in the driver's door. A complete build car came for 895 pounds, a bare bodyshell for 525 pounds. There were in total 12 'S160 / Spyder' produced.
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Edition: 2022, January 23
File started: 2013, August 17
There's another company called Siva, or really S.I.V.A.: Società Italiana Vendita Automobili in Lecce, Italy. They made the sporty little Siva Sirio, which had a 2 litre V-6 with three double Webers.