Car enthusiasts mark 60 years since production of first Hillman Imp

The compact car was unveiled in Linwood on May 3, 1963 and has retained its cult appeal decades on.

Car fanatics and former factory workers have gathered in Renfrewshire to mark 60 years since the first Hillman Imp was produced there.

The compact car was manufactured by the Rootes Group, and later Chrysler Europe from 1963 to 1976.

The factory in Linwood produced roughly 440,000 cars in that time.

However, the models were plagued by internal design issues and the site closed in the early 1980s.

Despite its earlier reputation, the car has retained a fond place in locals’ minds.

Just 2,000 remain on the roads today, and some were put on display in the town for the anniversary.

Hillman Imps were put on display in Linwood

Alex Knox, a retired engineer and self-proclaimed Hillman Imp enthusiast, organised the celebration.

He told STV News: “As a 17-year-old, my first car was a Hillman Imp, and working in the local area, we got to know the people who could help us.

“Everybody here really had a Chrysler car or a Rootes car, for obvious reasons.

“It brought a lot of wealth to the area, and Linwood prospered for many years, up until the factory closed.”

Around 6,000 people were employed by the companies.

Among them was Mario Pellegrini, who was an assembly worker.

Speaking to STV News, he joked: “I think it’s great [to be here] because I built every one of them, I had a hand in every one of them.

“That shows how good a job I did! How good my welding was, using the welding guns!”

Angus Horsburgh, and his three brothers, were also employed at the factory.

He said: “It’s amazing, looking about. They’re beautiful, some of the cars.

“Where I was working, we didn’t see the cars when they were painted, they were just getting welded together. So to look at them now, it’s lovely.”

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