I started work at Rootes Coventry in 1955, aged 15, in the 85 Engine Shop at Stoke Aldermoor, assembling Minx and Rapier engines. I don't know why it was called the 85 Shop; all the Minx and Rapier engines were built and tested there. At that time six members of my family also worked there in different departments.
In about 1965 I applied for a transfer to the Competitions Department to build the new Rally Imp. ... Another fitter mechanic on this project was Peter Burgess. The man in charge of the engine mods was Bob Lamb, with John Winters on gearboxes. We also had apprentices with us from time to time. Those I remember were Dick Guy, David Brown but there were several others I can't remember the names of. ... General mechanics do everything, apart from engines, gearboxes, axles, electrics, body and trim but most could turn their hand to anything. I had a flair for engines, having learned every aspect in the 85 Shop.
The works Imps and Tigers were both prepared in the same shop by the same mechanics. The section included Gerry Spencer (charge hand), Ernie Schofield (mechanic, worked with me in the 85 Shop), Derek Hughes (mechanic), Jack Walton (mechanic), George Coles (mechanic), Dick Wright (mechanic), Ernie Black (engines), Arthur Bird (sparkie), Ron Bakewell (trim and bodywork), Mike Coomb (stores, also raced a Tiger).
The private rally Imps included Jim Ashworth (foreman), myself (mechanic), Pete Burgess (mechanic), John Winters (gearboxes), Bob ? (gearbox and axles), Bob Lamb (engines). Apprentices included Dick Guy and David Brown among others.
I left the Competitions Department when Chrysler took over and closed it down. ... I then transferred to the Experimental Department as a road test engineer, still testing Imps, Hunters, etc. And later the new Avenger, when that came into production.
There were no new prototypes in the pipe line; there was talk of Peugeot taking over and moving to France. They started asking for voluntary redundancies which made sense at the time for me, so I left a wonderful old Coventry firm. I spent the next 20 years as a service manager at a local garage.