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?



Friday, 28 December 2012

Will sets up the first hull skin panels to his i550 kit

One thing with kits  is they do save lots of time, Will cut all panels free in one and a half hours, I assume this was all sixteen sheets of 6mm marine ply we cut for him.

Hi Roy,

Merry Christmas and thanks for the mentions on your blog - I can see some clicks coming through from there.

Here are the latest shots of the boat as of yesterday evening. I was able to stitch the sides to the bottom single handed without much drama, the full cradle really has helped here (not many builders use them). Note that the centre seam is completely closed now (I had to lift the panels into a 'V' shape and pull very hard on the cable ties). I also had to add some lead ballast to get the forward section to deform to fit the cradle. I am also going to re-do the Stem fitting, hence the temporary looking nature of the bow.

The Ply panels I have used so far are cut millimetre perfect. They line-up and fit like a dream which means two things, a big time saver and an improvement in quality over what I could have done myself.

A fast build of an evenfaster  boat!


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Patin Catalan boat kits

I met with a person who has seen Patin Catalan sailing in Spain, he asked did I know of the boat class? I had to admit that I did not.

It was then explained to me that this class design has neither dagger boards or indeed rudders, I asked how you steer the boat? the reply was with body weight only!

The beach sailing here looks similar to South African conditions, just we have cleaner water.

Given there are very few fittings on this boat, it just has to be a whole lot less costly to build and having just posted a set of Oppikat bulkheads to a customer by SA and USA postal services, it possible we can do the same with this design?


Taken from a Wooden Boat magazine:

Sailing without a rudder means that the boat is constantly in balance. For small path deviations, the trim of the sail is used. When bigger manoeuvres are needed, the sailor has to shift his body weight. The inclination of the mast can be adjusted to the front or to the back during sailing.

I read that no plans are available and that only fully built craft are available, this certainally may open a way for kits and owner/home building.

The Patin is maintenance-friendly, quick, light and easy to rig up. One man takes the boat from the trailer to the water line in only ten minutes! It resists the hard beach life, it is resistant to sand, salt and sun. It is the most appropriate vessel to conquer the breakers!

Hout Bay from up high

How high I have no idea but a local HBYC member who is also a pilot took the picture, he told me I may have heard his plane as he flew over head the other morning?

Picture taken and supplied by Tojan (code name Scotty Dog) many thanks. Click on the picture to open it and see more detail.

Flying from the south and looking north, the plane was over Noordhoek at the time, with Chapmans Peak just in the sunlight. Hout Bay is then next and further on is Table Bay with Robben Island just visible to the right.


The pilot replies to my question on his height:

At 7500 feet. Regards T

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

i550, Dont mention White Elephants!

Will is building South Africas very first i550 sail boat, he has to find out for himself what goes where and why?

There is a very informative web site set up to show you progress and what Will is discovering about building the i550 from  one of our plywood kits.


A Christmas Message from Dix Design in the USA.

This one does seem to have a little more Christmas feel to it than my humble attempts!

Bill Connors Didi 40cr waiting for spring!


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Christmas message to Imp Club members world wide.

Its  Christmas 2012, my greetings and best wishes to all Imp Club members world wide go out to you today.

Not any old Imp engine but one of the very first made.

This is one of two early Mk1 Imp engines I have  rebuilt recently, the engine number on this one is B / 41 / 1 / 501572 WSO, the wso means an export engine and the last four digits are the engines series number.

This engine was 875cc, its now fitted with 0.030" pistons, so a little larger in capacity.

The cylinder head is an early and quite rare one in that it does not have a valley in the top of the head below the tappet cover landing.

This engine is now 49 years old and will soon be ready to run for the Imps 50th anniversary next year, May 3rd 2013 celebrations in Coventry.

The Imp Club may be found at  we have members world wide!
All members recieve a monthly printed magazine by post, much of the content is now in full colour.


Turner Climax, circa 1960

We have been asked to supply some Coventry Climax stickers to complete a Turner Climax sports car, I must say the car looks great, seen here at Brands Hatch race circuit.

The Coventry Climax engine is 1220cc with a class limit overbore.  In 2013 the car will be campained as a race car. How alike the Austin Heally this car is!

From Alan:

Engine size? Well, I have to be a bit circumspect here (Homolgation and race specs may be an issue!). The Turner originally had a Coventry Climax FWA engine (1198cc?) but when they were holmogated in 1962 - after getting Class wins in the Sebring 12 hour of that year - or so I am told, the owners had upgraded the engines to ones out of the Lotus Elite., That would be the FWE engine of 1220cc.

But my engineer pal, who has always loved the Climax engines, has taken an FWA and after working his magic, we have an FWA bored out to 1298cc. That would be the 1220 limit plus an allowable overbore. I don't have any current pictures as the car is being re-fettled down at his place, but some early pictures are attached.




We have seven units left from this batch, at R20 each, plus postage they are well priced.

The Coventry Climax logo and seen here on a I967 Singer Chamois.

Mail from Alan, the owner:

Here's a couple of pictures of my little Turner Climax. Top one is at brands Hatch where we are shaking down the car (blew the engine up on that day and we've only just got it re-built!! Hope to start Historic Racing in 2013! and the second one is in my driveway.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Seasons Greetings from Cape Town!

On the worlds news I am seeing folk  around the world freezing or flooding, how about a nice picture of Cape Towns inner harbour to warm your hearts!

Picture at a V & A Waterfront TBA Easter Regatta,taken by R McBride.

All the best for Christmas and New Year!

Roy and Jean

Hout Bay
South Africa

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The first SA i550 hull assembly has started

Seen here and with pictures from Wills own web pages is the kit we cut last week.
Our CNC cut kit makes boat number 471 in the class the very first ever for South Africa, we now look to expand the i550 class and Wills lead will help others as the questions start to be asked on what follows what?

Words by i550 builder Will.

Posted on December 22, 2012 by sailskkf


Well the CKD boats plywood kit finally arrived today and my boatshed suddenly looks full. Plenty to do ths Christmas weekend as I also picked up the Oregon pine for the keel, rudder, stem and compression post.

I cut the kit out ths evening with a jigsaw and had the whole thing done inside 1.5 hours. Now i have got to tidy up and get ready for my first ever attempt at glassing seams. I think I will practice a bit first!

It looks to me as though Will is making progress and working the night shifts!


The Didi 38, Black Cat races to St Helena Island

Dudley Dix designed and built this boat for himself and in his back garden, I was there to help him turn the hull over, nice party later on!

Picture supplied by Dudley Dix and taken by Clive Dick.

Here she is as of yesterday and with Adrian Pearson as the owner/skipper at the start of the Governors Cup Race .

Dudley comments that given the boat is sailed well she can take both the handicap and first over the line.

We can do this Didi 38 as a kit set of course, P.O.A.