Part of Kenneth Sharpe's memories
KS0899: The car is Apex 3 (I think) in the wind tunnel at MIRA.
Advanced Design Department
An Advanced Design Department was set up at Stoke. Earlier in the 1950's, in order to increase facilities for the whole group, a cold room that would accept a whole car was built in this same workshop. And serious consideration was given to constructing a wind tunnel at the rear of the test cells. This would have been very expensive, money was tight and in any case there was a much better one at M.I.R.A.
Cooling at max speed
Many different fan and cowl designs, including a reversed flow set-up, were tried in the attempt to provide adequate cooling for high speed running, without absorbing too much engine power.
Wind tunnel tests were another of those tests that had to be carried out during the evening. Apparently the electrical load caused by the 4 huge motors that drove the propellers resulted in a mains voltage drop in the area, so the wind tunnel could only be used 'off-peak'.
Most of these tests were in connection with the Imps known sensitivity to cross winds and of course the high-speed cooling problem. One of these tests brought the unexpected finding that the Imp van was less affected by crosswinds than the saloon.
Testing the Imp
The Imp Site The Apex: