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Corgi: 1/43 Hillman Imp Mk2 Super ‘Grasshopper’ – Diecast Model
The Imp modelled was first registered on 12th September, 1972 to Mr Frank Surridge who purchased it from Rutland Hill Motors, High St, Newmarket, Suffolk. The total cost was £835.15; metallic paint was £10 and seatbelts, which were by then a legal requirement, were also £10! The delivery was £17.50 but Mr Surridge received £45.15 discount and actually paid £790 for the car. He used it regularly until he decided to give up driving on health grounds in May 1996, by which time it had covered 58,000 miles. He intended to scrap the car but luckily his son-in-law, Tony Canning, offered Mr Surridge £50 and was able to rescue it.
Tony Caning started his working life at Rutland Motors and was based there for 12 years, including his apprenticeship as a mechanic, so was able to tackle the restoration. The car was basically sound but required work on the brakes and a lower-half re-spray after the corroded wheel arches had been repaired. Since being finished this largely original family heirloom has become well known to fellow Imp Club members as Norwich-based Tony and wife Hazel take her father's old car to classic car events. At one rally they ran into Ted Rolfe, former salesman at Rutland Motors, who remembered selling the car new. The only modifications are disc brakes to improve safety and a water expansion tank to save the notoriously weak head gasket.
Corgi's famous model vehicles captured the imagination of millions of baby boomers and, what were once simply toys for boys, are highly sought-after in the expanding collectables market.
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