Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,446 pages of information and 230,060 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Note: This is a sub-section of Hillman: Cars
In 1963, Rootes introduced the Hillman Imp, a compact rear engined saloon with an innovative all-aluminium engine. It was intended to be a response from Rootes to rival BMC's popular Mini, and a massive new factory in Linwood in Scotland was built for its assembly. The move to Linwood was forced upon the company by the British government, which had introduced the principle of "Industrial Development Certificates" (IDCs). By their use, it was intended to concentrate new factory building in depressed areas of Britain. Thus, Rootes were not allowed to expand their existing Ryton plant, but instead were obliged to build in an area of Scotland where there was a shortage of work. The Linwood plant was a disaster for many reasons - chiefly the Glaswegian workforce who had no experience in motor vehicle assembly, and the build quality and reliability of the cars inevitably suffered. Another problem was that the component suppliers were still based in the Midlands, and the company incurred further costs in transporting half-finished engine castings from Linwood to be machined at Ryton and returned to Linwood once they had been assembled - at the same time as completed Imps returned south again – in all a 600 mile round trip!