From Weird to Wonderful - the World of Climax and Imp-based Specials.
Part I. Climax-based Specials

Robert J. Allan

© R.J. Allan 1996-2004

When we said we were going to do another book about Imps they said "you must be crazy". But then we told them it would be about Climax and Imp-based specials and kit cars. The ``seen-it-all-before'' expressions turned into mildly interested silence followed by the occasional question over the intervening years. Undeterred we plodded on, wading through magazines, notebooks, pestering former owners, and following up rumours. No doubt there will be a car in your back yard which deserved a chapter all on its own, and we didn't even known it existed, but we have tried.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Imp was one of the most widely used cars for the design of specials, second only to the ubiquitous Mini Cooper and the VW Beetle with which it shares the rear-engine layout, directly bringing it closer to more exotic beasts, such as Formula racers of the post 1950 period. In the under 1000cc and under 1300cc competition classes Imp-engined specials became pre-eminent, ousted more recently only by cars constructed around Japanese motorcycle engines. The Coventry Climax engined John Cooper and Lotus cars have of course been the subject of many books in their own right, which we cite in the bibliography. There are however many less well known racing specials with Climax engines and they are described in Part I on Climax-based specials.

We have attemped to list all Imp-based cars (and other devices) which came to light during our research, no matter how obscure. In addition we hope to show you in the following pages something of the zest with which amateur, as well as professional, constructors went about taking one of the best designed small cars of its time and ``improving'' it. The outcome of some of these experiments was an unqualified success in racing and sports car circles. Others - well you can draw your own conclusions ...


  • Introduction
  • The Power Plants
  • Body and Chassis Design
  • A personal tribute to some of the designers and builders
  • Drivers of, and major speed records held by Climax engined cars
  • The Familar Names
  • Less well known
  • Bibliography

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    Web site developed and maintained by R.J. Allan
    "Hand Knitted Software" 2004-24

    Comments on and contributions to the Web site should be send to Bob Allan.