This Hillman Imp represents the car which in real life was developed to compete with rival BMC's classic Mini and was launched in 1963. The small light car was designed by Michael Parkes and Tim Fry for the Rootes Group and manufactured at the Scottish Linwood plant.
The design was decidedly different and a decade ahead of its time, incorporating such features as rear mounted 875cc engine with aluminium engine block and cylinder head; rear-wheel drive, coil springs; an opening rear hatch; automatic choke, temperature, voltage and oil pressure gauges and a folding rear bench seat.
These innovations allowed a large passenger and luggage capacity amongst other things. Its rear mounted engine was the first to be seen in Britain on a mass produced car and the Imp was also the first to feature a diaphragm spring clutch. Its many attributes made it a popular and successful family car as well as excelling on the race and rally scene. The Hillman Imp ceased production in 1976.
Our 1:76 scale model is registered NVP 200R from 1976 and represents the Hillman Imp Super. Decorated in a bright blue with black interior, it is a colourful addition to its muted green, metallic tangerine and bright red companions released already in the same scale. It looks quite stylish too with a central silver waistband, silvered grille with the Hillman name printed off-centre, silver bumpers, wipers, door handles and wheels. Two details worthy of note are the white rims to the wheels and the Super Imp lettering on both sides behind the rear wheels.
The Rootes Group was taken over by Chrysler in 1968 who continued to produce the Imp in a Mk III form with associated upgrades until 1976 so don't be confused if you hear of the car being referred to as the Chrysler Imp as well after 1968.