Hillman Imp: The car that drove Linwood to disaster
Which tiny 1960s car was proud to be British, was loved by families, and had a name to match its miniature size?Probably not the one youre thinking of.While the Mini became a motoring icon, another little car was once the rival to its crown – the Hillman Imp.When it first rolled off the production line in May 1963 the Imp was intended to revive the car industry in Scotland. Instead it was a commercial failure and left one town on the brink of disaster.Industrial expansionThe Hillman Imp was conceived by the British car firm Rootes. The Suez crisis in 1956 had led to petrol shortages and manufacturers needed small vehicles with better fuel economy.Rootes car was designed to be speedier and more spacious than the Mini, with a host of innovative features. It had a rear-mounted aluminium engine, an automatic choke, fold down back seats, and an opening rear window to squeeze in more luggage.