Hillman Imp Reviews

1971 Hillman Imp Basic 875cc from UK and Ireland

Model year1971
Year of manufacture1971
First year of ownership1981
Most recent year of ownership1985
Engine and transmission 875cc Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Previous carHillman Imp

Summary:

Good British and cheap car, that people don't see much now

Faults:

When I owned this car, there was too much needed to be done; welding, over heating.

General Comments:

Brought the only Imp I had before passed my driving test, it cost £65.00, and I spent a lot more on it.

Why did I have one? They were cheap to buy, cool to drive and after it was rebored and new pistons fitted, fast.

Why pick that model? My dad could do them up, he got my brother and me involved, we would help him take out the gear box, very easy to do.

In our family we had six in total; my Imp, my dad and brother Sunbeam Stillettos, my ex brother in law a Husky, my uncle a Chamois, and my mums sister had a Imp.

If anybody knows the where abouts of RJL 664J, I would like to know, called her Impy, she was black the last time in 1985, had to sell, got made redundant, wish I kept her, would be cheap to run now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2009

1969 Hillman Imp Basic 875 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1978
Most recent year of ownership1983
Engine and transmission 875 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.5 / 10
Distance when acquired65000 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles

Faults:

My head gasket blew 3 times

Engine reconditioned and replaced at 80,000 miles by local agricultural engineer!

New Exhaust required at 75,000 and 110,000 miles

Interior side panels replaced

Back window stays replaced at 110,000

Front drivers seat replaced at 80,000.

General Comments:

A wonderful introduction to cars, driving and the open road

Performance was exciting at the time, but really pedestrian viewed from today

Fantastic use of space

Dashboard was ahead of its time.

This car was with me when I met my wife at university,was better than a mini in most ways , and took me all around the country in a small blue haze of smoke.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th September, 2003

1965 Hillman Imp de luxe 875 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1965
First year of ownership1980
Most recent year of ownership1988
Engine and transmission 875 Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.3 / 10
Distance when acquired41000 miles
Most recent distance62000 miles
Previous carMorris Mini

Summary:

The only car I miss..

Faults:

Severe overheating.

Cylinder head gasket failure.

Water pump failure.

King pins wore out.

General Comments:

The overheating/heag gasket prob solved with replacement radiator.

Water pump was original and it's replacement never gave any trouble.

The car was a stunning white very early MK2 (with king pin grease nipples)

It was considerably improved with the fitting of a Stiletto engine from a very rotten, but mechanically good 1969 car. The head must have been skimmed sometime as the compression pressure was approx 250 p.s.i. The Imp Centre (now gone) in Watford assisted in the setting up of the engine - I could not get it ro run very well initially - they fitted Triumph Herald spark plugs

(short reach) to lower the compression a bit. I have never driven a car like it - 70 mph in second gear with just me aboard!!!. To think I replaced it with a Ford Cortina!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th September, 2003

1969 Hillman Imp Sport 875 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership1977
Most recent year of ownership1979
Engine and transmission 875 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired66000 miles
Most recent distance105000 miles

Summary:

The original pocket rocket with an almost un-burstable engine

Faults:

Clutch failed.

Cylinder head gasket went due to incorrectly torqued bolts.

Water pump failed

Camshaft chain snapped.

General Comments:

I modified my car quite extensively during the time I owned the car, but this was mainly because as parts wore out (shock absorbers, exhaust, tires, clutch, various engine parts) it was preferable for me to uprate rather than just replace.

The car was much more interesting to drive than my friends' Minis and was quicker too once I'd replaced the exhaust and carburettors.

I also fitted a negative camber kit, which drastically improved the handling, and then went on to fit 175/70HR12 tires to the front and 195/60HR13 tires to the rear. Suddenly the car out-cornered almost anything on the road, except a Porsche.

The list of modifications I made is too long to list here, but the car was always economical (38mpg+) and fun.

A shame Chrysler didn't develop it a little more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2003

1970 Hillman Imp De-Luxe 875 Sport from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1970
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 875 Sport Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired60000 miles
Most recent distance95000 miles

Summary:

Superb fun on minimal money

Faults:

Gearboxes have proved to be quite weak, but usually when they are going to go you get plenty of warning.

The original engine blew it's head gasket due to a clogged radiator, however replacing the radiator and fitting the Imp Sport specification engine have resulted in ultra reliability from the engine.

The king pins seized after a year or so, probably because I didn't grease them enough.

General Comments:

I've done extensive work to the car including fitting plusher seats, Spax shock absorbers, lowering springs, alloys, Weber carburettor, Janspeed exhaust and various other tweaks. This has resulted in a seriously good fun car, which in the dry is tremendous fun.

The car is well supported by a good network of specialists and a superb owners club.

The cabin is light and airy, the controls are all well placed, and there are acres of head room even for very tall passengers, although rear seat leg room is somewhat restricted now that the front has got plusher seats in it.

The opening rear hatch is very useful, but when first acquired leaked badly. Fitting new seals from one of the specialists cured this immediately.

Tuned Imps are very good fun, but lose some of the comfort of the standard cars. The standard cars are quiet and provide superb ride quality. Tuned Imps tend to be noisy and a bit rattly.

The car is extremely cheap to run.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2003

Average review marks: 6.5 / 10, based on 7 reviews