It’s always been a bit of a mystery to us about the enduring appeal of the Hillman Imp.
Having grown up with our miserable next door neighbour polishing an immaculate version every Sunday for at least fifteen years – from the late sixties to the early eighties – we never saw the appeal.
In our minds these boxy rear-enders were associated with everything in car culture NOT to aspire to. If moody Mr Fluskey drove one, then they couldn’t ever been cool.
But this weekend we had the chance to have a little drive of a friend of a friend’s Hillman Californian – the fastbacked version of the Imp (Below) – now we can see what the fuss is all about.
Stories abound of the Scottish built motor’s tendency to overheat at the suggestion of a sustained hill – and build quality and corrosion resistance has never been a value associated with any British made cars of the era.
But – the car we drove , equipped as it was with upgraded running gear and engine mods like a new cylinder head and an exhaust manifold – was intensely fun – and it even looked pretty sexy, too.
It flew like a little demon. Like an Imp, in fact. It’s not exactly a 911, but if you’re more in the market for this sort of price point it will improve your mind-driving fantasies no end.
And there is, of course, a legion of enthusiasts out there who have dedicated themselves to the bijou, oversteering delights of this car.
You can find out all you need to know about these from a variety of their sites.
If you’re unconvinced of the ability of these little motors to give a satisfying drive, however, then check out the video below.
We think you’ll agree …
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