EXCLUSIVE: 1976 Sunbeam Imp Restomod

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Update 6/22/2017 – After emailing the seller about his asking price, he decided to set an asking price of $15k. Considering he spent about $12k just on the engine, this seems like a great buy!

Seller Description: Is any project complete? I had always loved the Sunbeam Imp Sport and when the opportunity presented itself, I endeavored to create this restomod. I started with a good shell, and had it professionally finished, all rust was removed and the whole care repainted in Chrysler’s Intense Blue with pearl coat (Chrysler bought the Rootes group in 1967). I have replaced or rebuilt every mechanical item. No expense was spared.

The engine was upgraded to the stronger 930cc block for added reliability, and the head was modified by Ben Boult in the UK (Ben worked in the competition & development unit in Rootes and is a renowned builder of Imp race engines). I believe the 930cc in this Imp is the only one he has built specifically for a road going Imp. A milder cam is fitted, but Ben assures me with the right cam and carbs it will be fit for the race track. I am only selling as I can no longer give this project the time it needs.

What a great little car! It sounds like Murray has put a ton of time and money into building this Imp. It’s located in Woodstock, Connecticut and has seen just 4k miles since it was completed. It’s hard to put a price on a restomod Sunbeam Imp, so he is asking for offers. So if, like Murray, you are an Imp fan and would love to give this one a good home, be sure to message him below with your best offer. Special thanks to Murray for listing his Sunbeam! If you have a cool classic that you just don’t have time for and want to see go to a good home, please consider listing it here on Barn Finds.

Asking Price: $15,000
Location: Woodstock, Connecticut
Title Status: Clean

Contact The Seller

Sorry, this one has SOLD!

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  1. Dave Wright

    When my partners and I were racing Formula Ford at the European championships in England (late 70’s) these little guys were zooming around the track. Very fun looking little roller skates. Off course, the British will race a bath mat but they have fun doing it. This one looks great and would be a blast at vintage road race weekends.

    • Murray Mitchell

      LOL, the Imp actually won the British Touring Car Championship 3 years in a row. This one is a little too young for historic racing, but is non the less a blast.
      Women love it.

  2. Bill

    Cool little car. The seller needs to list an asking price.

  3. JimmyJ

    I agree with bill alot of times i wont respond without an asking price.

  4. Jesper

    Engine photos please..
    Without a price, it will never sell.
    Its not easy to come up with a price, and its always a risk to offend the seller.

  5. Sam

    Cool car, very stylish! I see ques from a Corvair. 2002 and a little Cortina. The tall roof seems out of proportion.

    A vintage race with an Imp, Mini Cooper, Cortina, 2002 and Lotus would be cool…throw in a Saab and Volvo for good measure.

    • Per Eliasen

      Sam, for a vintage racing event to be complete in the small-bore category, I believe you forgot the Fiat Abart’s, NSU’s, etc. 🙂

      OK, I am biased (!) since I race a NSU 1200TT (from 1967) against Mini Coopers, MG’s, Austin’s, Triumph’s, etc. and would LOVE to have someone show up with an Imp! Used to watch road racing in Denmark where a number of Imp’s would participate – always entertaining!

  6. Dan

    This kinda feels like an auction. Best offers, and I take the highest! On only two pictures?

  7. Charlie

    For all of you people requesting the price- you’re not going to purchase it anyways.

    He knows the value of the vehicle. Not posting the price weeds out the people who aren’t serious about it.

    The car is worth a fair amount and looks to be in fantastic shape.

    • Dave Wright

      I feel the same thing applies to posting a bunch of photos. Anyone that might be a real buyer will inquire about them……..too many easy chair experts here.

      • Jesper

        There are missing info photos in that ad.
        It looks like he is fishing, not realy want to sell. And how will he ever find a buyer, with only exterior fotos.
        He is writing a half roman, about engine, but no photos to support it.

      • Dave Wright

        If you were a buyer…….you would just inquire about it. Most guys here just like to look at the photos as automotive porn. He only has one to sell…..there will be a real buyer interested enough to pursue the car without fulfilling your pornographic curiosity. From a little study, this car is worth maby 15- 20 grand. A real buyer will know that and be prepared.

      • Steve65

        When I’m a real buyer, I skip past ads with no price without a second glance. I’m in the market to buy, not to play stupid games.

        Same thing with photos. If I have to contact the seller to find out if it’s worth contacting the seller…Whatever it is, there’s another one out there somewhere in the hands of someone who’s serious about selling.

  8. Rattlinglikenuggets

    Nice wee car. The UK factory that built the Imp was in Linwood which was only a couple of miles from where I grew up 🙂
    My father-in-law used to race 998cc Imps in the 1970s and still has some lightweight components from them in his garage. I was startled at how light the magnesium wheels were.
    I remember them being everywhere when I was growing up, but I don’t think I’ve seen one on the road in more than 20 years.

    • Kenny

      Where did your father inlaw race imps was it ingliston. I used to go there myself in the 70s good memories.

      • Derek

        Do you remember the Escort estate racing in road saloons there?

      • Kenny

        Don’t remember the escort estate was it yours good saloons at that time.

  9. rando

    no LS3, but maybe a HAYABUSA engine? LOL

  10. Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

    This is dangerously close to my zip code. Done exactly the way I’d restore one of these. GLWS.

  11. michael streuly

    Would be way fun blasting that car thru the canyon on the way to the ROCK STORE here in socal.

  12. Vintageracer

    I would not bother to call with NO PRICE in the ad.

    If the seller does not know what they want for their car how should I????

    Barnfind’s shame on you for allowing exclusive listings WITHOUT the seller providing a price for their car!

    • Charlie

      Hahahah. Poor. If you know what it is you know what it’s worth, then you’ll buy it. You’re just making snarky comments.

      Take a hike you bum.

  13. Russell

    These are so cool but every time I see one I want to take 6 inches off the roof.

    • Derek

      Have a look at a Sunbeam Stiletto – there might’ve been a Singer Chamois version too – it’s a much more pleasing shape.

  14. Garm

    Personally won’t reach out to a seller without at least an idea of the asking price; I also won’t unless there are pictures of all the usual main stuff. So I will respectfully disagree with those saying there’s no need for those things.

    • Dave Wright

      I buy at least 4-6 cars a month…….have 25 in my private collection……. I buy mostly at auctions with little information, have been doing it for 45 years. Have made a good living when I needed and a great part time job when I was doing other things. I love a skeptic. I will beat him every time. A poorly written description is gold to me. One example was the Gamagoat I bought described as a Dodge 6X6. If the sale writer had known what it was…..he couldn’t even sell it. There was a moratorium on the Government selling them at the time. I made 10K clear on that one. So….please don’t ask about items with poor descriptions or photos. It leaves more for professionals.

      • Jesper

        Wow a flipper.
        Flippers are one of the reasons why we pay so much for our hobby.
        Im looking on BF. Becourse its my hobby to restore, and drive classic cars. Not for making money. And that you call yourself a pro, dosnt make you a cool guy, in my world.

      • Dave Wright

        So…….How do you make a living? Everyone except some government hack buys and sells something. Even if it is just your labor. I am not convinced that “flippers” add any cost to the hobby. The market will go where it will. Retail is retail and if you can use your skill and tenacity to find something wholesale you have earned it. Off course, after investing your own money and time on the bet. This entire hatred of someone called a “flipper” is just irrational. They are frequently the people that bring items to the market so everyone else has access to them. You wouldn’t even know these things exist if it wasn’t for them. So…..in this case Rootes group is the flipper. they buy raw materials, hire a designer, build a factory, bring it to market, invest so much capital that if they simply kept it to themselves, they could live lives of luxury there intire lives and not deal with the insanity …….all for a profit. The car (or product) would not exist without them and thousands of people wouldn’t have a job. Do you watch TV? They only exist to sell things. Even this forum is based on selling something, it is supported by advertisers with products to sell. That is what pays the guys so they can devote there time to its production……….I guess they are flippers too.

      • Dave Wright

        As far as how much you pay for the Hobby……you are a total volunteer. There are millions of people that go about there lives happily without interesting or collector cars. There treasure is either to valueable for them to partake in the “hobby” or they are focused on feeding themselves and there families. They are not wrong either. We have freedom to choose in the western world that is why we can be involved in this insanity. If it is too expensive for you…….might I suggest chess?

  15. John Norris

    Cool car. I used to have one, it fell over in an autocross!
    I wonder what he tows?

  16. CKKurtz Member

    Wow, this thing is ‘king cool!

  17. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    ’93 14K mile Ford Mustang Cobra: 8 comments

    ’76 ungainly looking Imp restomod: 24 comments

    In Barnfinds terms, the definition of punching way above your weight

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Could not have said it better, Dolphin!!! I have stayed out of this one because literally one of the first cars I fell in love with was a blue Hillman Imp, located in Brandon, Suffolk, England. License plate 62YOO. Had Cosmic Mk. 1 wheels and I saw it almost every day walking home from school. Begged my father to go by and ask if they would sell it — he did, they wouldn’t (not that I would have had the money). Someday. This is a cool car and I hope the seller gets whatever it is that they want for it. Unfortunately I’m in sell mode rather than buy mode at the moment 🙁

    • Dave Wright

      93 Mustang is common and boring. This little imp would be just super fun. I wouldn’t call it a restomod, it sounds engine was enlarged and warmed up but no crazy conversions. This wouldn’t be a street car for me but at an auto cross or vintage road race , a set of sticky racing tires and a roll cage, it would be as much fun as you could have with your pants on.

  18. scottymac

    Maybe for a Californian Coupe or a Stiletto, not for a regular saloon. Have to wonder how much of the mentioned $12,000 went into the engine, and how much went for postage to and from the U.K. Don’t make any claims to be a Sunbeam expert, but not familiar with the 930cc engine.

  19. Reese

    Funny, I just bought an Imp today and I come on here tonight and see this. What a beauty. I bought the Imp posted on Barn Finds about 3-4 weeks ago (South Dakota car auction). It’s pretty much just a shell. I’ve been trying to figure out what to swap into it. At approx. 1500lbs should be a blast regardless.

    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Staff

      Reese, I remember that car (I wrote up the post). Would you mind sending us some photos and a recap of your experience buying it? Would love to hear some firsthand feedback. mail@barnfinds.com, put to my attention. Thanks! -Jeff

      • Derek

        The most sensible conversion that I’ve seen is the BMW K-series 4 cylinder bike engine. Depends what you want.

      • Reese

        Hi Jeff, will do. The auction wanted the vehicles removed by this past Thursday but when I called, the previous owner said I could leave it there as long as I wanted “It’s been on my property for 30 years already”. So, I won’t pick it up for at least a few weeks or more. I’ve already got way more cars then space so I’ve got to make some room.

    • Kenny

      There’s early imp for sale in Kansas advertised beginning of May 4,000 dollars looks good that’s the one I would buy if it wasn’t so far away. Also a Manta ray car as well. they have been stored for about 30 years. The early imps have are the ones to get thicker gauge steel.

  20. Rattlinglikenuggets

    FHi Kenny, I believe it was Ingliston and Knockhill. His name is Andy MacFadyen. He also raced Davrians too. He’s a fascinating guy. He learned to drive in a Chevrolet Impala even though they lived in Glasgow!!!

  21. Wolfgang Gullich

    We need an asking price, interior shots and some kind of pictures of the legendary Coventry Climax

  22. Jesper

    Right said Wolfgang!!!!!

  23. Jesper

    Bs. Dave. I have 7 classic cars, and i restore one every winter, so its not that the hobby is to expensive for me.
    But i never buy from middelmen. I can easy find the cars, for the right price.
    But it all began with i asked for a price, and more photos.
    Who called your number.
    And when you meen you provide a service, so have fun with that.
    I dont need your service, or info about how many cars you buy pr. Week.
    What does that have to do with photos or price??

  24. John D.

    @John Norris, judging by the lightness of the hitch, I would venture he drives to the track with a small utility trailer with his tools, racing tires, and any spares he expects to need to get home.

    @Dave Wright, I have bought cars at auction for our dealership to sell. I guess I am a flipper, or was. I wonder how these guys would feel when you have all of 45 seconds to a minute to open then defend a bid, against 20+ bidders, before the hammer comes down? True, you don’t need pictures as the car is in front of you with the hood up, but you do get to hear it run and drive up to the block. That’s factory dealer auctions, open dealer and most public auctions are more leisurely, with sometimes 5 or 10 minutes on the block.

    It is nice to know more of what the seller is looking for price wise, but not necessary. Like the TV Show American Pickers, sometimes they know what the seller wants and sometimes they make an offer first. If you are close, you get a counter-offer. If not, then you need to up your offer. Either way, you need to know pretty close to what the market is. In any case, be prepared to think on your feet and to go home empty handed. It all starts with a conversation to learn about the item and the owner.

    • Dave Wright

      You are correct. Most of my purchases are done at government sales of one kind or another. It is seldom that you get anything to run but most are clean one owner!!! Every type of busisness has its own technique and we all learn the ones we are involved with. The bottom line is still the same. Buy wholesale sell retail. Sometimes it doesn’t work that way…….(how often do you feel lucky to get your original investment back?) and sometimes you hit a home run. I do take great exception with deceit or lying. That is not nessisary to be successful. The foundation principles are the same selling anything. In my body shop we mostly sell labor, still the same subject…….we make a couple of bucks on supplies buying them wholesale but the big thing is labor. If I can make 10.00 an hr from my workers labor after paying them an appropriate wage, pay for the shop, utilities, advertising, taxes and supplies I am doing good with 6 employees while feeding there families and supporting the community. My brother has 18 employees…….he makes a lot more money than I do but the principle is the same. I wish everyone the best of luck and success in there chosen endeavors. This is not a zero sum gain society (someone has to loose money for someone else to make it) and there is plenty of prosperity for anyone that applies them selves. Jesper never told us what he does for a living………Hmmmmmm. Maby a school teacher that takes a salary from all of us with little risk….

  25. Kenny

    Agree with Derek BMW bike engine lots of horse power bullet proof engine.

  26. Martin Horrocks

    A friend has an original Fraser Imp here in Spain which will be sold soon. The Ingliston guys should know what that is!

  27. Kenny

    That’s what we raced at ingliston in early the early 70s the ex Logan Morrison Fraser imp with the deep valve head 5 bearing cam still have all the bits just need a good body shell wonder how much that Fraser will make looks good. roll cage looks original thanks for the info.

  28. Martin Horrocks

    @ Kenny

    The Fraser team was sold up at end of season in Canary Isles (I think in 1969, allegedly to avoid tax difficulties in UK). The Fraser Sunbeam Tiger (now in California) was part of the sale as well. In addition to the UK cars, Alan Fraser built 4 LHD cars in Tenerife as well, for local dealer team HH. All genuine Frasers, which ran in Fraser colours.

  29. Kenny

    Never knew that.I thought Alan Fraser retired when he went to Tenerife. he sold some of his uk imps to Peter Harper who did rally cross he was his mechanic in the 60s Interesting to see what the car makes at auction how are you fixed for a sub? Is that car in the picture the one that’s being sold.thanks for the info Kenny.


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