Evening Dispatch Concours D'Elegance - Hillman Imp and Miss D Falconer
Coventry-based Rootes car manufacturers were given a handsome state subsidy to set up a plant at Linwood in Renfrewshire with the Hillman era becoming an essential chapter in Scotland’s industrial heritage.
The Hillman Imp was the first car to be built in Scotland for 35 years and became a popular choice for drivers on home turf. Coventry-based car manufacturers Rootes received a substantial state subsidy to create its new plant in Linwood, Renfrewshire, in a bid to reverse the impact of deep industrial decline. The factory employed 9,000 workers at its height, many who had come from the Clyde shipyards. The small car was marketed as a rival to the Austin Mini and, while it never matched the popularity of the British classic, the Imp was a popular choice at a time of high petrol prices. The first Hillman Hunter to be built in Scotland at Rootes. The cars coming out of Linwood were celebrated for their features such as fold-down seats and opening rear windows. In 1965, the first big consignment of Hillman Imps left the quayside at Leith for the overseas market. The Imp also enjoyed a spell as a rally car. In 1964, a 998cc version of the Imp won the Tulip Rally while others would go on to dominate the British Saloon Car Championships in the early 1970s. It wasn't all plain sailing at the Renfrewshire plant, however. Industrial disputes and problems in production to keep up with the mass output led to a string of problems at the plant. The price tag of £500 made the Hillman Imp super appealing - but multiple breakdowns and mechanical faults hampered the success story. More than half a million cars were produced at the Linwood plant but it was closed down in November 1981 with the remaining stock auctioned off.