Saturday, 22 September 2012

CKD Hillman Imps?

Yes its true but a long while ago and down to those Complete Knock Down days at a factory in Portugal.

Note, I have just checked both Impressions, the Imp Club Magazine and the print out from the menbers list for overseas members, I find no Portugese members listed at all and thats in a country who used to build CKD Hillman Imp cars!

Does anyone know where one of those cars are?

An extract from Ken Sharpes days with the Imp.

in 1963 at the introduction of the Imp
Portugese C.K.D. Imps

Actually getting to Oporto was interesting - the national airline T.A.P. were still using Constellations for internal flights. The visit to the factory was an eye-opener. The main assembly building had two tracks, one assembling Triumph Heralds (I think) and the other C.K.D. Imps. They weren't breaking any records in terms of cars per day, but the quality of the Imps was superb. I had driven many many Imps between 1960 & 1966, probably hundreds, but those built in Portugal were the best.

Why? They were doing nothing special on assembly just taking care to do the job properly. I think the difference occurred when they built the body shells. When the separate body panels were brought together and spot welded, the joint was filled with braze, with the result that the body shell was very rigid. We all know the scuttle and facia shudder the Imps have when you hit a sizable pothole, well these Imps just went thud - everything just moved together.

After this visit it was back to Ryton to carry on problem sorting.