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Sunbeam Stiletto

October 1967 - mid 1972

The Sunbeam Stiletto is considered by many to be the most desirable, certainly the most sought after, Imp model. It's name probably has something to do with the existing Sunbeam Rapier, shrink a rapier and it becomes a stiletto (medieval dagger with a very slim blade, elegant and wicked).
It combined the sleek coupé lines of the Californian and the engine of the Imp Sport. The Stiletto had four headlights as standard, along with a vinyl roof (always black Leathercloth). The dashboard is the most noticeable difference with the interior. This large, black, moulded piece of engineering (peculiar only to this model) featured novel ideas such as warning lights which can be dipped for night time driving.
All Stiletto finishes have white twin coachlines - except Polar White, which has twin red.
Stiletto models only had wheels paint black. They had the Sunbeam stainless steel wheel trims as standard.

The differences between the two types

  'Rootes' Stiletto 'Chrysler' Stiletto (Stevie)
production year Oct. 1967 - 1968 1969 - summer 1972
chassis no. 301 series 302 series
sill a stainless steel strip fitted along the top of the
full length of sill, just below the bottom of door line.
door skin on using a door skin for a later model, the position
of the handle needs to be moved forwards
The door handle is positioned 1/2in. further back.
door locks can't use a 302 door with a 301 post (or vice versa) since the door lock is totally different '69 doorlock is more anti-burst proof (supposedly)
seats   squarer shaped seats of different 'Amblair' pattern
heater housing metal plastic
steering lock   A steering lock was added in 1971.
Hence different wiring loom.
wheel trim   The width (depth) of the rim was reduced by 1/4" from 1971 (1970 ?) on.
production no.s 4,735 ± 3,378


It has the Imp Sport engine. 68mm x 60.375mm, 875cc single OHC aluminium. Twin Stromberg 125CD carbs, new cylinderhead with improved gasflow and larger inlet valves, higher lift cam, stronger pistons, oil cooler, 6¼in. Laycock diaphragm self-adjusting clutch.
The superb standard Imp gearbox, all synchromesh. 0-50 in 10.6 secs ('Motor' road test)
Top speed 90mph.
Fully independent suspension. Girling system servo assisted brakes, 8in. drums, swept area.
Full safety-standard dashboard with matt-bevelled instruments. Plus new 15in. padded leathercloth covered steering wheel.
Wind-up windows. Headlamp flasher. Carpet, wall-to-wall. Through-flow heating and ventilation. Plus: sublimely comfortable front reclining seats. A lockable glove box. Padded arm rests. Beautiful, breathable Amblair upholstery. Individual fold-down rear seats. Curved side windows.
Outside: Great trim. Black vinyl covered roof on the raking fastback. And four headlights to bring a little light in your life.
£813 (recommended price, ex-works inc. p.t. Seat belts extra)

From an advert:


Mind what you sit upon ;-)
The Trade name for the material used for the seats is 'Amblair'. This material was only used on the Stiletto. It is supposed to breathe...

(Impressions January 1988 and February 1996):
Stilettos in club: 294 in 1988, 278 in 1996

Earliest Stiletto in club: B301 000017 HCO (= 17th Stiletto produced). Registration: October 1967.
Last one from the 301 series (in club): B301 004838 HCO. Registration: February 1969,
But they started numbering at 000100, so the total number for the 301 series is 4,738 as far as is known.
Earliest one from the 302 series: B 302 000121 (it's in Eire). Registration January 1969
Latest Stiletto in 302 series: LH 302 720553 BSA. Registration: August 1972. (Mind you: from '69 on, the chassis numbers didn't count the types, but Imps in general. Total amount of 302 Stilettos is 3,378). (Theoretically the last Stiletto was the 6th Imp from last made).
So the total of Stilettos is about 8,900.
55% of Stilettos on register have been modified
41% still use the original engine.
20% have alloy wheels fitted.
11% have increased engine capacity (usually 998cc) (18 % in 1988)
0.3% have been modified past 998 (1200cc ?)
7% are owned by females
18% are not in their original colour
Most popular colour in 1988: Polar White
1996: 19% are Polar White, 18% are red (incl. Claret Metallic), 24% are blue (incl. Turquoise Metallic and Aquarius Metallic), 15% are green (incl. the various metallic greens and the rather vivid Limelight). The remaining 24% are the golds, silvers, bronzes etc.