Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hillman Imp and engine numbers

Most will know that the engine number and also the Imps chassis number are the same, odd but thats the way they did it.

An engine number in 1963 looked like this  B41/1/501572 WSO , which means that the engine was the 1572 made  the WSO means for export.

Click the picture to enlarge it.

In this case, this is that engine and we know it will date onwards and from May 3rd 1963 when the Imp was released by Rootes Scotland.

I asked Colin, an Imp specialist in the UK if he knew if the engine number had the WSO (export) or HSO ( home saloon) stamped when it was made, or were the letters added when the destination  of the car was known/

To my surprise I find that Colin worked in one of the Rootes factories down south of Scotland!

I don't know when the engine numbers were punched onto the block.

If they matched the Body number then it would be on the Assembly Line in Scotland.

Otherwise it would be on the engine Assembly Line in Stoke Plant Coventry.

I never saw the Imp Assembly line, although I did visit Linwood a couple of times on various projects.

I worked as a Management Electrician in Stoke Plant during an Electricians Strike in 1973, ans saw the IMP Engine Line, but never got to see it working.

There was only the one Line, so I think engine would be assembled in batches, as required and when components became available.

So it would be something like 500 UK Spec engines, then 500 export.

Separate runs for Sport engines, and again separate runs for Low Compression Vans, and maybe some Export markets where fuel quality demanded low Compression etc.

My job was Systems Analyst for "Export Systems".

The Specification for each Country had to be Fixed and recorded on the Computer System and this would determine what engine Spec was required for each Car. So batches of engines would be built at Stoke and shipped to Linwood for Assembly into the Cars.

A stock of engines would be held to allow "economic batches" to be built. As there is a "down time" when swapping from one Spec to another. Some of the Assembly machinery and tooling migth need re setting between batches of different Engine Specs.

Remember that the Plant was probably producing 400 cars a day. But in the later years it didn't run everyday.

So the workforce might do 3 days on the Hunter Assembly and 2 days on the IMP Line.

Many thanks on this info Colin, it may help others sort out what they have and where it came from?