A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
The works homologated the Rally Imp as a 'Group 3' car for 1966. Badged as Hillmans, Singers or Sunbeams, the Rally Imps boasted 998cc twin-carburetor engines, servo-assisted brakes, better engine cooling and competition suspension among many other improvements. Driving a works Imp, Rosemary Smith won the 1965 Tulip Rally (a handicap event) outright and went on to secure numerous Coupes des Dames and class wins, while other prominent Imp exponents included Peter Harper, Roy Fidler, Andrew Cowan and Colin Malkin. During the next 1967/68 season the competition department came under Chrysler control and the works Imps (those that were prepared by Rootes' Competition Department to be used in rallies by the works drivers, such as JDU46E), used a 998cc engine. This was achieved by boring right out, and re-sleeving, on selected blocks, to a bore of 72.5mm. Wells Rings. Stroke remained unchanged at 60.4mm. It had a Smiths Tachometer, Lotus Cortina calibrated speedo, and ancillary gauges in a cluster behind the steering wheel. Its suspension was altered significantly with stronger springs and shock absorbers and the cars were fitted with a full rollover bar and harnesses, Halda Twinmaster, Smiths/Heuer Mastertime, and stopwatches. They had bigger radiators and an oil cooler, high-lift camshaft, twin SUs or Strombergs, larger valves, double valve springs, special Aston Martin exhaust manifold, and a compression ratio of 10.5 to 1. A small front mounted radiator accompanied the small rear header tank and they were joined by red-painted water pipes running straight through the inside of the cars. The specification also included body air scoops to feed the engine, competition suspension, Ferodo Brakes with VG95/1 anti-fade linings, vacuum servos, a Triplex heated windscreen with large plastic anti-mist rear windows. GRP Bonnet and Boot, Alloy Fuel Tank with wood dip fuel gauge, and Steel Wheels with Dunlop SP44 radial 'Weathermasters'. At the end of this season, with the introduction of the Mk1 Escort to the Rally scene and the Imps inability to compete on power, the Rootes Competition Department switched from preparing works cars to supporting private teams and drivers, and in 1969 Chrysler withdrew from official rallying. JDU 46E COMPETITION HISTORY Driven by Peter Harper/Robin Turvey the car debuted in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally with the allocated No 170 and finished 2nd in the Group 3 Class and 46th overall and awarded the Challenge Trophy. Not bad for the gruelling, 3,400-mile event. Driven by Peter Harper/ David Pollard went on to compete in the 1967 Tulip Rally with the allocated No 89 and achieved its best international rally result coming 2nd in class and 10th overall. Driven by Roy Fidler/Alan Taylor competed in the 1967 Alpine Rally/Coupe des Alpes with the allocated No 83 but retired due to head gasket problems. The car was also used as a service car by Des O’Dell the Rootes Competition Manager in the Circuit of Ireland Rally and Scottish Rally in the same year. JDU 46E was prepared for the November 1967 RAC Rally to be driven by Rosemary Smith/Val Morley and allocated No 5. Due to the outbreak of ‘Foot and Mouth’ and the movement restrictions put in place, the 1967 RAC Rally was cancelled at the 11th hour leaving many disappointed Teams, Drivers and Spectators already in situ. To overcome this understandable disappointment, the Rally organisers, using nearby MOD land not affected by the restrictions, put on what has come to be known as a ‘Rally Cross’ and this was the first rally cross event to be televised, and JDU46E driven by Rosemary Smith was a proud entrant. In 1968, the car was converted to a 'Group 6' spec, which is how it remains. In 1969, after Chrysler withdrew from official rallying it is believed that JDU 46E was kept on by Rootes for a number of years as a Service Car before been sold for private rallies. Years later, it was discovered by an avid Imp fan being used amongst other cars in a grass track racing business. He approached the owner and bought it and kept it very much private in his collection for years until our vendor was lucky enough to purchase it. The paintwork is rather flat and carries numerous battle scars from its competition life and it could not by any means be described as a show car, however, the engine has been verified as being the engine prepared for Rosemary Smith, and its patina, provenance, and the fact that it was piloted by the legendary Rosemary Smith, the talented, glamorous and witty 'Queen' of the sixties rallying scene, mean that this little rally car fits very neatly into the annals of British Rallying History. Our vendor has generously agreed to include in the sale, the original Monte Carlo and Tulip Rally finishing awards and papers along with the DVD footage, original photographs, and further related automobilia from the 1967 season.
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