Wednesday 1 November 2023

Corgi Toys @ 60: Hillman Imp


Another November 1963 release was the lovely little Hillman Imp. This was invariably in metallic blue but there are quite a range of shades to be found. The interior, though, should always be a quite startling yellow.

Probably not available at the start but appearing in boxes at some stage was the metallic bronze edition with a pale cream interior and a white side stripe. This was the version that was put with the Car Transporter in Gift Set 41/48 some years later. When it actually first appeared is anyone's guess.

The Hillman Imp suffered from poor suspension, especially at the rear where we were encouraged to press down hard in order the engage the cog wheel that turned to move the rear seat back up and down. All good fun and a nice feature but it took its toll on the suspension that was provided by a simple folded piece of plastic which also is now often very brittle. So if you have suspension that has survived, do not be tempted to try it out and turn down the rear seat yourself!

The front suspension eventually followed suit, faster it we were enthusiastically braking on our layouts!

Below I have illustrated a couple of scarer Imps.

First is a bronze edition with jewelled fog lamps. This is essentially what would become the Monte Carlo edition #328 but it metallic blue some years later. This came without the transfers which I sued merely to cover some wear to the paint on the bonnet. You may spot the later style of windscreen which incorporates horizontal 'heating element' bars not included in the unit supplied with the #251. Quite what this model is all about I do not know but I have seen several with these lights, always in bronze.

The other is this special edition produced for Jensen's a meat firm in Denmark. These are valuable with only a few produced.

Later you will find the Imp casting used for a second Monte Carlo model (as a 'Sunbeam Imp') and a further twice for various versions of a Police 'Panda' Car. You'll need to wait until 2029 for the last of these!

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