Customers each and every day bring their car to us to have their wheel alignment professionally set up by AM Tyres.
We provide wheel alignment for family cars, SUV’s, 4×4’s, sports and super cars. Today however we worked on something a little different, we carried out 4 wheel digital alignment on a beautiful vintage 1971 Sunbeam Sports.
Using our state of the art 4 wheel digital alignment equipment this retro beauty is once again driving straight and true.
Sunbeam Sports slightly different to a Hillman Imp
The original Hillman Imp was developed in 1963 by the then British car manufacturer Rootes Group in response to the launch of the British Motor Company Mini. The Imp was developed with a few unusual features, the first being a space-saving engine in the rear. The rear wheel drive original saloon introduced in May 1963 also featured an opening rear window, making it effectively a hatchback. What’s more the Hillman Imp had a bunch of other great features that wouldn’t been seen on many other cars until the late 1970’s, including a folding rear bench seat, automatic choke and gauges for temperature, voltage and oil pressure.
The standard model in 1963 cost £508, 1s 3d, in today’s money it would be a shade over £8,500. Not bad at all I think 🙂
Sales of the Imp Mark 1 hit 33,000 in 1963, followed by a jump to 50,000 in 1964. However as the car gained sales reports of poor reliability started to surface, mainly due to poor cooling of the rear engine. Sales slowly dropped to 42,000 in 1965 and carried on falling slowly.
During the 1960’s Rootes re-badged a number of cars under different names in an attempt to increase sales. Cars appeared like the luxury Singer Chamois in 1964 and the Sunbeam Sport in 1966. Each of the different brand names had different heritage, Sunbeam had a history of aero engines, land speed record attempts and Grand Prix racing. With this in mind, the now Rootes owned Sunbeam brand was emblazoned across the new Sunbeam Imp Sport in 1966. The Sunbeam Imp Sport differed in many ways to the original Imp with an array of sports features including an engine power increase to a heady 55bhp @ 6100rpm from the original 42bhp @ 4000rpm.
Trying to compete with the Mini was a bigger challenge than Rootes had expected, through the 1960’s over 1,000,000 Minis had been sold. In response 1965 saw the Mk2 Imp released with improvements that tried to overcome the problems of the Mk1, in 1968 Rootes had been acquired by Chrysler Europe. The Imp continued in production after some changes made by Chrysler in 1968, although never officially recognised as the Mk3 it was this variant that remained in production until 1976.
This Sunbeam Sport still shines
All the history that goes into the Imp name has for many become one of only legend, however this example of a 1971 Sunbeam Sport, more than keeps the name alive and kicking.
This fully restored and improved example just goes to show with some tender loving care, some of the most loved names in the car world can stay on the road way longer than anyone could have imagined. This 48 year red Sunbeam Sport was a true sight to see at A&M today and a delight to work on. Here’s too many more happy miles