Friday, 30 November 2012

The Mk1 Hillman Imp engine,1963 to 2012 is 49 years?

To join in the planed Imp Club celebrations in Coventry, England, next May 2013, I decided to go back to my Rootes. Yes, thats Rootes as in the Rootes Scotland Car Company. They launched the Hillman Imp on the 3rd of May 1963, so next year will be the cars 50th anniversary! The 1967 Singer Chamois we have is just 45 years old right now, so has a few years to go untill its 50.

Note the mark where the inlet valve has struck the piston top, this was the reason later engines had the normal  valve cut outs in later engine pistons. The three other marks have been made when the engine was stripped at some other stage and to show which bore the piston fits.

A later and standard sized Imp piston with the valve cut outs.

I  will not be able to attened the planed May 2013 meetings and events, so I have thought up one for myself that Impers in South Africa can see, I have just rebuilt the short motor on a very rare 875cc engine.

Not too much wear in either the bore or on the piston.

This is where the oil return on the back end of the crank fits, there is no wear here at all!

The engine and parts were well washed and then bead blasted, then re washed many times to ensure it is spotless.

The original crank and still on standard size bearings, the old bearings are unmarked.

Here I am checking the hight of the piston crown to the top of the Imp block, its about 0.015" down the bore and ok. The gasket is the last of an order I had Payen make up for me, with these gaskets I have never had leaks or a gasket blow.

Note, this is the first Mk1 engine block I have rebuilt since I put my 998cc race engine back together in 1977? all engines since that date having been the Mk2 versions.

 A letter to Imp Club member Richard in England brought the following reply (in red)

Can you give any info on a very early Mk1 block I have just rebuilt to a short motor status, the idea is to have it set up and started for May 3rd 2013!

Engine number B / 41 / 1 / 502369  WSO     B 411 502369 was off track 11-10-1963      w = C.K.D    R.H.D   S = SALOON     0 = STANDARD  AS PER FACTORY BUILD RECORDS

This motor is one with pistons with no valve cut outs, from what I have read very few of these left the factory?

The steel sump is also dated  7th July 1963 so we know when it was made?

I had Rootes piston rings and new, the motor is still on its standard sizes, pistons and crank journals.

Check here if you have the time?      pictures of the motor etc.

I am trying to source the correct foot control to suit the early carb, any idea who may have one?

Oppikat by Dudley Dix

We have a request to supply prices on the Dix Design Oppikat. As a base kit we can do you just the plywood bulkheads. They will cost and weigh little, so by using the postal service we can easily supply you with those to get you started.

This little boat was commissioned by a production builder which went out of business before even starting mould construction. More recently a South American builder started tooling to put her into production as a GRP boat and work has also started on a South African production version. There are also some one-offs being built in the UK and the Med.

She is a small and manageable boat for children to sail either one or two-up as a primer into cat sailing. She is also versatile enough to allow father to sail her either by himself or while teaching small children.

Available as a bulkhead kit set from CKD Boats in South Africa.

We have our first bulkhead Oppikat kit order, it will be cut from a sheet of 4mm ockume marine ply and packed as a bundle, then using the SA and US postal service, shipped to the customer in the USA.

We took payment via Pay Pal, a simple and safe way to move funds and you can use your own credit card to transfer the money.  and

Now listed that CKD Boats cc can supply you with a set of bulkheads.


News for today, 07 / 12 / 12, we have the first bulkhead Oppikat kit cut, it will now be packed and ready for the postal service to the USA on monday. Check tommorrows blog for the pictures of the bulkheads.

Hout Bay by Justin

Just to show you the place can have its normal and nice days.

Another superb picture by Justin and from the cockpit of his boat Quest, racing hard in very light conditons. Thats Chapmans Peak Drive in the background and where Justin took his pictures of the high wind conditions yesterday.


Hout Bay winds, a view from Chapmans Peak Drive

Pictures and words by Justin Philips.

Pity I didn't have real camera with me this evening, these are from an oldish Nokia. But its years since I have seen williwaws like this.....

This is looking down to Chapmans Bay.

This is Hout Bay proper and off the Northern harbour wall, Justin took his pictures from the road across the bay and looking South, which is to the right of this picture.

Thanks for your pictures Justin!

A picture today I have just taken.

Right click the pictures to view in a larger size.


Day three and this wind is still blowing, we guess its gusting 65 knots right now?
the bay as above is just white spume at times!

Day four and the marina saw an Easterly peak at 82 knots!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Gusty winds on the Hout Bay Marina

When we look at the old B&G wind indicator I fitted at the marina office a year back, we can allow plus 20% and more out in the bay?

Forty knots showing

Now on forty five knots, it was fifty knots a moment before.
Today its showing a speed around 30 to 40 knots with gusts to 50 knots and more!

The B&G grey control box is now around thirty seven years old?
B&G Network instruments are always welcome!


A new visitor to the HBYC marina

Yes, this is a big one and over the size we can normally take, the boat was towed in by the NSRI Station 8 at the request of Jean (there may have been others) as the night before she lay to her own anchor and off Hout Bays beach.

News from Chris in Durban just yesterday tells me this may be a record year for cruising visitors?

We have an armada of internationals in Durban. A weather window is opening soon so many of them will be leaving Durban soon. Hopefully the more interesting ones will call at Hout Bay.



In the case of the visitor in the picure, that boat had mistakenly anchored off Kommetjie, he was told to move to Hout Bay by the NSRI? He then spent the night to his own anchor and off the beach. As the SE was becoming gale force by mid day, it was important to get him into the harbour. Thank you Station 8 NSRI,yet another service to yachtsmen!

About the only safe place to drop anchor near Cape Town and when a SE wind is blowing, is off Cliftons 4th beach, it can be remarkably calm there when a gale is just the otherside of the outer rocks.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A black Dragon class yacht

This has been a winters project and the guys have worked hard through all the bad and good weather the elements could think of. Its now time to launch the boat, then mark the position of the waterline, remove the boat from the water and do antifouls, then re launch.

Teak wood, Mahogany flexible veneers and ABE 201 epoxy fairing compounds were supplied by CKD Boats for this project.

The boat was built in  traditional carvel planking in 1956 and for the 1957 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. The hull was later cold moulded and I assume with two skins of veneer or wood.

Will and his able assistant did all the work!

Thats quite a shine!


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Epoxy export to Africa

We have exported to other African countries over the years, either as materials or boat kits or as in this case, as epoxy to do foils and rudders on wood epoxy Optimists, which we also supplied the kits to some years back.

This is AR600 epoxy and curing agents, some 10.4 kgs and a repeat order. As long as you allow us to ship direct there will be no 14% Vat on your purchase.

An Optimist built from one of the CKD Boats cc kits.


Another TBA book finds a good home

They are going to new owners quite well, must be the christmas rush!

Malcolm of Legacy Yacht Sales, called in yesterday to collect the copy he had booked, his R120 donation to the NSRI , Station 8, will be paid over along with some other payments we have.

Remember, your TBA book purchase is a direct donation to the NSRI.

Thanks to Colin Davies for writing and publishing the history of Cape Towns TBA.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Hillman Imp, May 1963 and the very first engine batch

I wonder, as one engine I sourced had a July 1963 stamp on the bottom of the steel engine oil sump.

A standard 875cc bore piston and without the valve cut outs that the later Imp pistons all had. If you right click on the picture and enlarge it, you should see the small nick where the inlet valve has touched the piston?

The intention is to rebuild the motor to a standard Mk1 Hillman Imp specification in time for the celebrations in Coventy, England, next year.

Pistons are cast in LO-EX aluminium alloy and have two compression rings and one oil scraper ring. The piston runs in a nominal bore size of 2.6770 in. dia and the piston-to-bore clearance, measured at the skirt is, depending on tolerances, between 0.0017 in and 0.0010 in. These measurements are taken at right angles to the gudgeon pin hole.

On all except very, very early engines, of which only a few were built, the pistons have two cutouts machined in the top to provide clearance for the valves. Two compression ratios are available as far as the pistons are concerned. The one for use in the cars gives 10 : 1 cr, whilst the low compression for commercial vehicles such as the Imp van give 8 : 1 cr.

More info here.

In my case the fact that I have the pistons with no valve cut outs, plus a Mk1 oil sump panel with the date 5th July 1963 clearly says this is a rare piston set.

This early Mk1 sump had its box section removed to make a larger capacity sump for the sprint car built 2011/12, check the white date stamp to the right.

The date on this Imp sump is the only one I have ever seen.

There is a spot of rust on the 3 but it was clear enough when I got the Imp engine.

The early Imp piston and con rod set, they have been cleaned. The bearings are still good too, I also have new Rootes standard piston rings in stock.


Pay-Pal payments

A reminder that you can still purchase your order from us and by using your choice of credit card by sending us funds by Pay-Pal, its reliable and safe.

There have been Pay-Pal transactions for some while now,you may find your own purchase is made more easy and safer for you using this method.


The South African Ginetta G15 uncovered

Seen here is a very (really very) stripped down Ginetta G15, its starting to look like a mid 1972/3 model as it has the later Morris Marina door handles fitted.

Morning Roy,

The car was in fact yellow, not dissimilar to this one you sent me in these pics. There is still a little paint on the bottom of one of the doors.

Check link out to see what this car will have looked like once!

Commendably light, its box-section ladder-frame chassis played host to a rear-mounted Hillman Imp Sports 875cc drivetrain, Triumph Herald / Spitfire front suspension and sleek fibreglass bodywork. Benefiting from a very low rear roll centre and negative camber up front, the G15 proved an exhilarating drive. Reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 12.9 seconds and 94mph in standard tune, the two-seater could also be had with an enlarged 998cc 'sports' engine. Evolving through five series, the diminutive Ginetta fell victim to the oil crisis during 1974 but not before some 796 had been made. Arguably, the Walkett brothers' most famous model (and certainly their best seller), the G15 achieved considerable competition success at the hands of Chris Meek and Allison Davies among others.

From an auction house, check the link for full details.

We can look forwards to the progress pictures as the car is re assembled.

Looks better than I imagined!



Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ginetta G15 found in South Africa!

This came in today:

Hi there Roy,

 Today I managed t pick up a G15 Ginetta with a sport imp engine, albeit in terrible state of disrepair!

 The chassis number is O672.

 Do you know much of the Ginetta?

As it happens I have a signed copy of the book on Ginetta and number 212 on its certificate.

A brief look tells me the car was first seen circa October 1967, with sales taken from the Earls Court Motor Show in London, it was six months later before cars were supplied, so  in August 1968. While it has the Imp motor in the rear of the car with Imp rear suspensions, it has the Triumph Herald type suspension in the front.

By the 1969 motor show, orders were being filled at seven being produced each two weeks, with around 250 new enquiries from the show, many with deposits they were going to be busy! At launch the car sold for 799 pounds only, some said it was too cheap?

I would think the car found in South Africa is either a 1971 or 1972 model?

From Wikipedia:

In 1967 the G15 was launched with Hillman Imp engine. This two-seater coupé had a glass fibre body bolted to a tube chassis and used Imp rear and Triumph front suspension. Over 800 were made up to 1974 and the car was fully type approved allowing for the first time complete Ginetta cars to be sold. Eight G15s were engineered for Volkswagen engines and called the Super S.

I wonder where those eight cars are today?


Note, we now know that the existance of this car as found was unknown by the Ginetta register in the UK, they also tell us that a Ginetta G4 was known to exist in the Randburg area, where is that car now I wonder?