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Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

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Thinkpad4by3
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Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#1 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:20 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:00 am
Back in 1989/90 I had such a Toyota Camry.
It had the standard 2.5 liter V6 and on the German AUtobahn it would easily do 250 KMH (= 155 MPH).
Faster than most cars of those days (and they also had a lot less traffic then!).

My one and only 'sleeper' was an RWD Hillman Imp Coupe (better known in USA as Sunbeam Californian)) with the reverse-mounted engine of an FWD Oldsmobile Toronado in the back.
The original engine was a tiny 4-cyl. 875 cc (53.3 cu in).
The replacement was a humongous V8 7.0 ltr. (425 cu in).
During one of my many house and country moves, the pictures I had got lost. Real shame!
That with a big block V8 in it. :lol: :lol:
I would have loved to see that. How did you get your hands on something like that?
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Re: Another IBM NetVista sleeper

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:08 pm

My original profession was automotive engineer (not just a mechanic).
While in college, we did various unusual engine experiments.
One was digging up a crashed Junkers Ju-290 bomber from WWII, to see if there was anything still "usable".
We "played" with one of its 14-cilinder star engines for nearly a year, and eventually got it going!
After that, any engine was child's play!

My mother's 1963 Hillman Imp blew its (rear) engine from being rear-ended by another car (this was in early 1968).
It could be repaired but she wanted a new car.
I'd just come across an Olds Toronado that had slipped on an icy road and crashed sideways into a tree.
The car was a write-off but the engine was still OK.
With the help of my colleagues I put that engine in the rear of that Hillman, but we had to turn the engine-block with transmission 180 degrees around, otherwise the weight of the "overhang" would lift the front wheels from the ground!
To compensate for that heavy rear weight, we also had to almost fill the (front) boot with concrete weights.
And we also had to take the rear seats out to make room.
The transmission was taken apart and "reversed" from 3 forward/1 reverse into 3 reverse/1 forward.
All in all it only took about 2 months before I could take it out on the road.
Could that thing fly!
A few months later I emigrated to Canada, so I sold it a friend of mine.
We lost contact and I have no idea if that thing is still "alive"

PS: In Canada I joined IBM instead of Ford, where I was supposed to go to.
That's where I picked up programming, and the rest is history.

PS 2: sorry for going Off Topic...

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Re: Another IBM NetVista sleeper

#3 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:26 pm

That's an amazing story.

Digging up a WW2 bomber, then getting the engine to run!? :bow:
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Re: Another IBM NetVista sleeper

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:36 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:08 pm
The transmission was taken apart and "reversed" from 3 forward/1 reverse into 3 reverse/1 forward.
You didn't just flip the camshaft around and play with the distributor wires until the motor ran backwards? :lol:
EDIT: oh wait that would mean you would always be going in reverse :lol:
How exactly do you reverse a transmission...and I'm assuming this was a stick? I can't even imagine opening an auto and putting it back together again...especially the old ones with hydraulic "computers" for the shift logic.
RealBlackStuff wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:08 pm
PS 2: sorry for going Off Topic...
That was one hell of a off topic. Came for the NetVista build stayed for the 14 cylinder resurrection. What kind of test stand do you use for a 14 cylinder engine? I bet that thing had a displacement in the dozens of liters.
oeuvre wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:08 pm
Nah, just a current- gen F150. Noticed you're also from Lawn Guyland!
Ha yes I am...the island that doesnt seem to have random 14 cylinder crashed bombers where no one really cares if you take or or two. :mrgreen:
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Re: Another IBM NetVista sleeper

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:49 pm

My colleagues somehow changed the drive rotation in the differential.
How? I don't know, THEY did it for me, but I guess they made new cogwheels.
The gearbox was automatic, and we concocted a gearlever in the back, that you could reach from the driver's seat.
I have forgotten most of it, this was 50 years ago! (shows you how 'young' I am).

As for that aircraft engine: we built a metal stand to mount that engine in vertically, just above ground level.
Looked a bit like this BMW801D:
Image

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Re: Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#6 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:14 pm

Now here's the million dollar question....how do you lug a 14 cylinder engine home. I'm guessing it probably weighs in the ball park of 1-2 tons. Like what kinda engine hoist is rated for that....and oen that is plain big enough. Go to Enterprise and say "hey I want to rent a 60ft crane for the day"?

And on the note of the Olds.... if I recall correctly the Toronado was FWD through a V-drive and a standard RWD engine and transmission layout. You put the engine in the back of the car and looped the V drive back to the rear differential location that was already there(assuming you replaced it with something beefier because you would have likely grenaded the orginal). My best guess is that the carrier of the diff would be flipped around and the helical gear would have been cut and flipped, and welded so they meshed again. Not what I would say an easy job. Much respect for that kind of dedication for suck a ridiculous sleeper swap! :mrgreen: :thumbs-UP:

On the note of 60's cars....specifically drag cars....did you ever hear/see in person some of the cars where they were putting chemical H(hydrazine) in methanol powered cars and making them go ridiculously fast back then?
"If the ground's shaking and the flames are green,
They must be running that hydrazine..."
I hope you don't mind me picking your brain a little bit...I love all these old car stories from when you could do all this crazy stuff. *cough* Turbonique *cough*
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Re: Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:44 pm

It was actually a shipwreck salvage team that dug that plane (or what was left) out with the help of a big hoe and torches.
They transported only the one engine to us on a big truck with a crane.
We had the support frame (on wheels) ready when they arrived.

In those days I was only interested in F1 and demolition derby.
I haven't worked on any cars since about 1970 (other than replace a battery), don't like to get my hands dirty.

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Re: Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#8 Post by shawross » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:46 pm

After the World Wars engineering talent in the British Isles went into automobiles and racing with F1 being the pinnacle of this.

Towards the later stages of last century computer technology and engineering merged in F!.

So if you got involved in F1 you could have merged both passions.
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Re: Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#9 Post by UMPC2024 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:57 pm

Did you ever have the urge to test it against the Hillman Imp police car? :mrgreen:

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Re: Sleeper: Hillman Imp with Oldsmobile Toronado Engine

#10 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:57 pm

Other than on UK-pictures, I've never seen a 'life' police Imp.
I'm sure I could have driven circles around it!

Image

Apart from that, we did this Imp-Olds work in the Netherlands.
And that plane engine came from a crash site in Denmark.

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