Saturday, 31 December 2011

Disc brake kit fitting to a Hillman Imp/Singer Chamois Sport

Since this set fitted so well,we have seen another set being imported for a local Imper who drives his imp on the road.The difference from drum brakes to discs is quite something of course.

Let me know if you want this option,we can back your order up with our next one.

These are fitted only to the front of the car,many small modern cars have the same set up,no brake servo will be required,you can even use the .625 brake master cylinder that is standard on the Imp but the sports .700 size is said to be better?

The brake caliper with a mount plate.

In this case I did a dry run on a spare stub axle,in all cases I assembled the brakes to the cars actual stub axles on the same bench,it made drilling and bolting together very easy to do.

With the kit as supplied,the job is very straight forward,the longer wheel studs are not part of the kit and the two large nuts are only there to hold the disc in place.

Drilling of the front wheel stubs 8mm holes (two) will be required,the new size being to 10mm,this is easy to do with most tools found in the home garage.

Note the black painted plate,its that which bonds the parts together.

Refitting is easy,I recomend removal of the stub axle when your doing this upgrade,new king pins and wheel bearings  are almost certainally going to be required as well.

I have a good reason to smile,this job was quite straight forward,there are detailed instructions and a picture page of the process supplied with the kit.

SKF Speedy-Sleeve

This Hillman Imp / Sunbeam Sport / Singer Chamois, crank pully has a Speedy-Sleeve fitted,normally we have them ex stock or to other applications the next day and by post to you.

This Lower Crank Pully had the normal shaft wear from its old Lip Seal,using a new seal and a suitable stainless steel Speedy-Sleeve makes the pully servicable again,its a fast fix job too!

This S&L Windlass gear box was loosing its lubrication oils,at the high cost to repair the gears,it was vital to ensure the oil loss was controled.The alloy casing has been bead blasted and primed with twin pack Sigma Coatings etch primer.The assembly will now be stripped and the two new lip seals and Speedy-Sleeves inserted.
Speedy-Sleeves are stainless steel,so no rust will take place at a later stage.

When rebuilding engines and transaxles,it is normal to find output shaft lip seals have created a small 'wear ring'in the metal shaft face,in the past,this could mean undercutting and inserting a larger seal,or by welding then re facing the shaft,both a very expensive option and ones that leave you with what is really a stop gap solution,we now use SKF Speedy Sleeves,they are simple to install and allow the original size seal to be refitted.We can post world wide.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Hillman Imp and a mad elephant

We had assumed that this picture was done by the world class painter David Shepherd.
I tried to make contact with his agent but the response was silence,then another thought David had done it. Being in the style of the expert, I agreed and we went along with this presumption.

The Imp Club published the
picture in Impressions,the award winning monthly club magazine.

Then Richard Sozanski sent me this mail yesterday:

Hi Roy

Trust you’ve had a good Christmas.

Ref that picture of the imp/elephant I've been in touch with the administrator at David Shepherd and he says he’s never seen it before, so who painted it is the big Q

Regards and have a good new year festivity


This now leaves the issue wide open again,does anyone know who painted the picture?
A clue is the age of the Imp,its clearly a Mk1,so around 1963/4,was it a South African or Rhodesian Hillman Imp sales advert I wonder?

Any ideas?


News just in today, dated 14th September 2012

Dear Roy

Whilst recently searching online for information about this painting done by David Shepherd many years ago, I came across your blog from last December making enquiries into how the painting came about. Unfortunately the person who you contacted (if you contacted them via the website) thinking they were David’s agent/administrator, is not in fact anything to do with David. He just happens to have the “ website” address and is an independent agent selling David’s prints.

However, if you are interested, this is what David has to say about the painting:

“Seeing this painting again has revived many happy memories I have of the Hillman Imp. I received a commission from the Rootes Group to paint a painting of the Imp in Africa for their calendar; it certainly made an exciting picture. To achieve this I photographed the Imp at the factory and then added my own material for the elephant and baobab tree. I then painted the painting from the photographs and my existing material.”

I hope this answers your questions, if somewhat belatedly!



Sue Smith

PA to Avril and David Shepherd CBE, FRSA, FRGS

Tel: 01342 302480

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Puddle Duck Racer gets wet

Or PDR for short,just come in this past 24 hours,news that a customer of ours has finished his Mike Storey dinghy,the PDR.

I trust you had a blessed Christmas. We were blessed with rain that broke the dry spell of two months.

I have completed the boat and I am very satisfied with the outcome. I have had quite a few compliments from friends who could not picture the completed project unill now.

In boat building I learnt the four P's which are key to success


I have several vehicles in the garage and it was a planning nightmare to move and re-arrange everything to keep every one kind of happy. Leaving cars outside overnight was not an option.

The mornings were spent shaping, gluing, screwing hull bottom and bits together. Once done the epoxy or paint was applied and the project stowed so the cars could come back in. Space for storage is still an issue but I will dry sore the boat in the back yard under a tarp


Waiting for glue, poxy and paint to dry tests the resolve to the limit. I did my best to use this time to fabricate smaller parts, shape the daggerboard and rudder foils and make cleats etc.

Finding a reliable source for epoxy in South Africa was a challenge and I had to wait two weeks for a delivery from Cape Town via snail mail

The whole project took me three and a half months to complete, working on Saturdays only.

I spent excessive time (procrastination?) trying to figure out what type of paint to cover the boat with. It is impossible to compare brand names of South African products versus those available in the US or Oz.

Here I setlled on a paint, called "Wall and All" which is a water based latex. It took about three coats to properly seal the epoxy undercoat


The project took up a lot of my time but the one objective of my first boat sustained me despite a destroyed jigsaw and belt sander which were replaced as funds became available.

When I got stuck with problems, I could go and mumble on the woodworkers forum and the members rose to the occasion and gave sound advice.


Measure thrice and cut once is definitely true, but with epoxy, filler and copious amounts of fairing I could fix the 1-2mm mistakes. I trust the pics reflects the final product.

I have a couple of people to thank for their advice, Roy McBride from CKD Boats in Cape Town, Manie from Compax Boats in Centurion, Dries Laas and lastly my daughter Bronwyn for her assistance with the painting.

Lastly thanks to you for a brilliant boating concept which puts affordable sail boating back into public domain

CKD Boats cc Four P's

Prompt Payment Promotes Precision  (which is what you will get when we CNC cut this boat as a kit for you,just ask)

How hard can this be?


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Ex Mine Sweeper, Snow Petrel

Just in today,December 28th 2011,a web site on German Mine Sweepers,my thanks to Jens for the link.

An ex German mine sweeper,one of our customers from 2009 to 2011,materials to repair her hull (white oak) and a large selection of hand made mouldings to trim out cabin windows with.

Pictures by R McBride using a Canon G11 camera.

What great looking ship,as she looks today she is a fine looking vessel and a credit to her owners (who are they?)

Restored in the Simonstown Naval Dockyard, Snow Petrel can now be seen at Hout Bay on the North Wall.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Winchcombe in December

This came in just yesterday,its a card from Ken and Geraldine in a frosty Winchcombe, England,I have been there but not with the snow on the ground!

Happy Christmas to all of our friends at christmas 2011,

This is real,its not a film set! I have had a few pints in the White Hart Inn with my good friend Ken who supplied and I assume took the picture,many thanks Ken.

The White Hart is on the right with the pubs sign lit up,click on the picture for a better view.
This is a green, 

carbon neutral,

 energy saving, 

ecologically sound , 

21st century means of saving postage costs!

All the best for 2012

Which Ken tells me is also a leap year.

 Happy Christmas to all the readers of this blog,who ever you are and where ever you may be!


Monday, 26 December 2011

1967 Singer Chamois refurbished

The car was for sale a year or so back,we then moved that sale to the race imp and started a refurbish in general on the Singer Chamois as well,looking fine now,there are some paint miss matches to sort out but the main works are done.

The interior wood work received special attention and is now back to being a very high gloss clear lacquer as it would have left the factory with. The paint shade is based on the Rootes Group (scotland) Claret Metallic 126,which now about 45 years on,is a popular paint to be seen on modern cars.

When a man with a private whisky distillery in the UK wanted to buy the car,I declined saying the car was not yet ready as a go anywhere type car,we are nearly there?


Argie 15 mast building

We have done a number of these,its a setting up process that really does need a long and quite straight work bench.In the case of the Argie 15 you need six meters of bench.

We machine the two halves to accept a standard 6mm bolt rope with an entry slot just above the boom.The main section of the mast is hollow,the wood being removed with a very large 32mm router bit that was specially made for the job.

How hard can this be? not too sure,its was all a very common process some decades back.


Coventry Climax brand name stickers

Seen here on a 1967 Singer Chamois,we have more stickers in stock once more.They last too,the first were used nearly seven years back and are still just fine.Made in a flat silver mat finish to match the factory originals.

Cost pack and post price on request.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Some have snow

The sun will soon see it making the days longer but not quite yet in Maghull,Merseyside,North West England.

That white round thing in the sky,is not the Moon its the Sun!


Friday, 23 December 2011

A WPMC Forum

I do not do forums,not even the one run by the Imp Club to which I am a long time member,some seventeen years now but recently I discovered a forum that was discussing Hillman Imps and Coventry Climax engines.

I just had to join and have my say!

Why not join and check things out.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Brake shoes and linings to fit Ford Cortina 1500 station wagon

For fitting to the following cars:

Fords 1500 cc wagon circa 191962-64.

Said also to be suitable for the 1973-79 Austin Marina LDV front.

Made by Candy and still in the opriginal packing,these bonded brake shoes are brand new.

Cape Town
South Africa

021 790-3859 fax and phone
Posting is no bother.

Sprite gets a proper engine

This was at the Imp Clubs National Meeting in Wales 2011,why would a Sprite show its face at a gathering of Hillman Imps? check the name on the engines rocker cover!

Coventry Climax was of course the basis for the engine in the Hillman Imp.

The picture was creditd to the Imp Clubs Northumbria section,there was no name given.

I have only been to one of these meets,it was in the Wirral area and in 2004,there was easily 350 Imps on display.Time to make time for another visit?


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Republic Radio

Now on air,find is at you can now tune in to light music from Hout Bays own radio station world wide!

R Mc B

Ferodo VG95 Competition Brake Linings

Ferodo VG95 linings were the choice of most,a hard brake material that was not going to fade.

Rare,I guess so,I bought the last in the country and that was 15 years back.

Said to fit a Mini Classic,so 7" they will not fit 8" as I have tried that.
Five sets of four shoes and brand new.



021 790-3859 phone and fax line.

Cape Town
South Africa

Original parts from Rootes Cars,Scotland

I read in a South African motor magazine recently that the scribe does not care if the classic car he was selling has its original engine fitted? In his case the sale of the car depended on the original unit,so I can understand his attitude.

 To me originalality is everything,this is why a Le Mans past racer Austin Heally 100 has just sold for the staggering sum of 1.3 million U$,or in South African Rands about R10,600,000,thats right ten point six million rands for an old car!

That car still had its old paint works,it was complete with its rusty wire wheels,the bonnet was missing but may have been removed,the original steering wheel and instuments were still there,the car has done only 32,000 miles. So being original is the idea.

The plastic trim clip parts from Rootes I am using are genuine,even the plastic bags are the genuine thing,so why use copies when we can still have seems to me we are back to that engine again?

How hard can this be?


That auction?

London - A vintage British racing car at the centre of motorsport's most deadly accident sold for a record-breaking price - the equivalent of about R10.6-million - at a British auction.

The 1953 Austin Healey 100 Special Test Car was involved in the 1955 Le Mans disaster which claimed the lives of French driver Pierre Levegh - and 83 spectators. It had lain untouched in an English barn for 42 years.

By Mike Spinelli.

Like all racing accidents, the most horrific crash in the history of motorsports happened in a single, chaotic sequence. When Jaguar driver Mike Hawthorn dove unexpectedly into pit lane, Lance Macklin swerved his Austin Healey into the trajectory of Pierre Levegh's Mercedes 300SLR.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

All clamped up

The amount of detail works just to do some classic car trims amazes me,its process after process to even get close to a decent looking job.

This is one of the three bur walnut dash panel trims,last refurbished about seventeen years back,so no complaints.

A minor repair on the one lower corner,the edges had all risen,so an application of our water proof PVA glue (german import) was required.The secret is the new and clean  clear plastic,I keep a roll handy for just this job.

All that work just to get to the stage where we can start sanding.Check the final job out later ,was it worth the effort?

Better for some (many) coats of twin pack high gloss lacquer.It can cure during the night and go for a trial fitting to the metal dash panels tommorrow,thats one of the panels in the picture.


Plans,postage and delivery.

We recently posted a set of dinghy plans to a customer,it was only ten days back,as of today they have yet to arrive. Since posting we have had a public holiday and two weekends,thats five days out of the ten that no work can be expected.

The customer was on the phone at least twice today,will we send him a new set of plans? the reply was negative,we are using standard mail services and given it is December and a Christmas rush has to exist, we can really only offer the same as the plans supplier offers:

If you select standard delivery and your parcel has not arrived 3 months after mailing, we will replace it subject to a service charge of 20% of the value of the order and delivery of the replacement by courier service, at charges as set out below. (etc etc)

I trust this is acceptable and can be understood by the buyer?


Chrysler Pentastar returns

As I am refurbishing what the Imp Club says is a rare Imp Penta Star badge, I thought to check the exact colour scheme.Mine was silver with black relief,thats long gone and its just clear gloss black right now.There were a number of colours it seems?

Chrysler Corp. will revive Pentastar logo

By John Neff RSS feed

Posted May 17th 2007 10:38AM

In order to celebrate its new found freedom after being divorced from DaimlerChrysler AG, the newly minted Chrysler Corp. will ditch its current winged logo and return to the famous Pentastar logo. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that a senior executive has already emailed some Chrysler employees about the switch back to the old logo after learning about it in a meeting Monday night with veeps and senior management. In addition, the Pentastar will get a redesign to update its look.

Apparently this email from a senior exec included a few interesting tidbits, including that Cerberus CEO Stephen Feinberg regrets naming his company after the mythological three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hell. We also learn that Feinberg owns Ford and Chevy pickups, which he plans to quickly trade in for a Dodge Ram. He might want to keep them around for benchmarking purposes, though.

The Imp Club spares department would be keen to find a supplier of the Imp sized Pentastars.


Hillman Imp mark one and two front suspension pivot plates

These plates pick up the rear of the front swing arm pivots on the car,check the changes,the yellow one is the early mark 1 type and is dated 1966,around the same time the mark 2 car was to be seen and the pivots were dropped to allow the front wheels to sit more upright.

Both suspension points are workable,on the mark 2 version you may need to make changes to the cast Iorn stub axle but its an easy fix and highly recomended,once done you can change the front wheel cambers quite easily.


Monday, 19 December 2011

Singer Chamois is the star car.

Its just about impossible to park our 1967 Singer Chamois in the local harbour, without finding a discusion group talking about the car when I get back to it.In this case I opened the engine bay cover so they could see the engine inside.

These people are English,the guy in the striped tee shirt was using his hands to explain a coupe when I arrived,I said which one did you have,a Stilletto he told me.I replied that I had two of those,he came back with 'mine was wrecked when it crashed,he was not the driver it seems.One of the girls had never seen an Imp and was rather Impressed,I am not surprised of course.



Sunday, 18 December 2011

1967 Singer Chamois wood trim restorations

This job takes hours,days too as the various stages require the paint elements to cure and dry,some twin pack lacquers and paints will not accept a wet on wet coat either.

The old and the new,well the tatty front ones are 1967 but the rear one is really a 1966 Singer Chamois Sport fitting.

The new trim is incorrect as far as it is not bur walnut but over all I would like to think the cabin has been upgraded and not many would know the difference anyway?

When the correct bur walnut veneer comes to hand,I can then restore the set I have removed and then change trims over.


The seasons compliments from Roy and Jean

So here we are yet again,thats the year 2011 all run  and boxed off,in fact we exported our last order to the USA only four days back.Many thanks to all those who continue to support us and will I hope in the future.

All the very best from Roy and Jean at


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Nescafe,natures own wood stain

Not really sure about this but we may have just joined the natural products movement?

Wood trim restoration tips to do it yourself.

Some 1967 Singer Chamois interior wood trims needed staining a little darker,they were a sort of pinkish shade when hand sanded with 150 grit sand paper.

Now stripped of their old and peeling bur Walnut (long job) veneers, the upper four trims are too light,the darker ones have new dark bur walnut on them and are part finished,having no more supply of bur walnut veneers,can we meet part way?

A trip to the local Mica hardware store showed they had many stains but no Walnut and looking at the cost to a 500ml can of stain in say,Imbuia,I was put off anyway.
A check around Jeans kitchen showed me some natural products.

There was Bisto gravy thickener,Marmite spread and Nescafe instant Coffee granuals,I chose the later and mixed two tea spoons with some water,thats the stain being used above!

The lacquer is a polyacrethane twin pack high gloss,at this stage we are about half way there,when dry, I can use 360 grit wet and dry sanding paper with water and smooth to remove all the faults.The darker panels will fit on the cars dash panel,the lighter ones on the door and side trims.They will have to do for the time.

Many coats later (spray gun with low pressure) the gloss is now coming out of the wood as the grain becomes filled,each wet sanding removes the flaws and adds to the surface gloss.The lighter wood will darken with age as well.The process now moves to a second day and some 400 to 600 and then 800 grit water paper,one reason why classic car restoration costs as much as it does.

Ready to fit,yet another day,the clear gloss lacquer needs to fully cure before the trims are handled.

How hard can this be,does anyone have some bur walnut veneer for me?