EMPI Imp FAQ
This FAQ will try to cover some questions asked specifically about EMPI Imp dune buggies and possibly more general fiberglass versions.
Click here for the Unofficial EMPI Imp Registry
The floor pan is for an EMPI Imp is shorted by 12". This differs from most other fiberglass buggies such as the Manx that are shorted by 14.25".
If you do not have a frame yet or if you want a really strong, low maintenance frame, check out the Nostalgia square tubing chassis from Berrien Buggy, Berrien Springs, MI, (616) 471-1411. You will have to custom order the correct size as their standard chassis is for the standard Manx style shortened frame. They also sell fiberglass floor pans for their chassis, but this will be a little more difficult to fit into the longer Imp.
To start with, I am not an expert Imp builder, so if this description is wrong, or you have any improvements, please let me know. Beginning with a full length new pan, I started by making two cuts widthwise across the floor pan with an air powered sheet metal cutter and using the old pan as a guide. The old pan was butt welded edge-to-edge. I allowed about 2" of overlap with the new pan.
If you line the two halves up, you will notice that the outer edge is not straight. To compensate for this, using the old pan as a guide, I cut the rear half diagonally from the outer back corner to the previous cut about 6 inches from the outer edge. I then pivoted this triangle of metal around the outer back corner to make the outer edge straight. This also allowed some overlap for welding.
Then I used a large hammer and super large lock jaw pliers to push the overlapping metal together. To finish, I repositioned the jack mount points further in. Everything was welded with a wire feed welder (30 gauge wire I think) using carbon dioxide gas. Please see the following crude diagram if you are a visual learner.
John (1967BUGMAN@prodigy.net) sent this alternative floor pan cut to me. He found this in a magazine and it looks more complicated than a straight cut but he thinks he will try it for added strength and for fit and finish of the edge of the pan in his Sand Rover. Please see the following diagram if you are a visual learner. In addition, he has sent a full length picture of his floor pans after using this method, a close-up picture of the cut itself, and a pushed together picture to show how well they line up.
The original IMP gas cap was located up near the windshield . It is nothing more than a gas cap from a boat . The type you see on Chris Crafts (About $15 to $25 for a new one). Check out this diagram (not available any more) to see what it looks like. Oatsie123@aol.com)
The standard flip top gas cap is still available from BUGPACK. Check Berrien Buggy for more info.
My idea for a top was to make a bikini top, snap it on to the top of the windshield frame, use the roll bar as a support and have two straps come off of the back snapping on to the body. (Oatsie123@aol.com)
You could also consider using Velcro (with a buckle for extra leverage) to attach it around the roll bar in place of straps to the body.
The bolts are called "elevator bolts" and if your body is secured to the pan by these bolts (very large flat heads), then David Hazzard has probably turned a wrench on your buggy. He and his father built many of them for other people. They would buy the kit from a place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, assemble them, and then the owner would pick it up or they would ship it. The elevator bolts were a trade mark from what Dave says.
Elevator Bolt Suppliers:
Harrison & Bonini
Ynn Darr Enterprise Co., Ltd.
Try going Dune-Buggy.com, and clicking on the Buggy Building Tips page. There are several wiring diagrams for buggies. (Oatsie123@aol.com)
From my experience (correct me if I am wrong), you can identify an EMPI Imp (based on my '69, later models may vary) from three different markings on the body: a raised bump with a badge saying "EMPI Imp" on the nose of the hood, an "EMPI" logo modeled into the front of main body under the hood (this is not visible unless the hood is removed), and a plate below the back seats with the serial number stamped on it. Lost your badge?
After talking to Jeff Holifield from Dune Buggies and Hot VW's who wrote the EMPI Gran Sport Imp article, he has learned that Unique Supply in Redlands, CA (909-793-0212) owns the original EMPI 1970 Imp molds and planned to start producing Imps again. The side pod and engine cover molds were not included, so they have used the pods and cover from the magazine article Imp build by Paul Kenny to create new molds.
The following e-mail indicates that there are EMPI Imp Grand Sport clones out there:
Date: 07/21/98 12:13:50 AM MST
Subject: Imp Grand Sport NOS (New Old Stock)
This E-mail is to tell you about what we found yesterday at Seattle bug nationals. I walked up to a NOS grand sport. I about died when I first saw it. But to my dismay upon talking to the owner it is really a clone. the only thing that is changed is the raised area for the emblem has been removed , and the EMPI logo under the hood has been ground smooth. The person's father-in-law use to make the clones up to the late 70's. The guy just sold the mold and now a person in the Seattle area is making new bodies. The old clone was hand laid glass. The new ones I don't know. If you are interested, e-mail me, I have the gentleman's number that sold the mold and may be able to reach the new manufacture threw him. I think its terrible this is happening, but thought you might like to know, you may want to watch for clones.
The following e-mail indicates that there are Mexican EMPI Imp clones out there:
Date: 09/10/98 02:01:26 PM AST
Subject: EL Sa Pito GT
I was visiting your site and read about clones. I have an extensive magazine collection and am currently researching bodies for an identification site. In an old Road Test Dune Buggy magazine ( Dec 69). They feature Mexican buggy builders. A company called the El Sa Pito Works sold a blatant IMP copy complete with similar shaped hood emblem - get this, they used the Meyers Tow'd frog instead of EMPI!!! and instead of IMP , El Sa Pito comprises the rest of the emblem. El Sa Pito means little frog. They sold copies of the Manx and Ocelot as well but the El Sa Pito GT is Mexico's copy of the IMP!!! TKS Bart
El Sa Pito GT
El Sa Pito with Hardtop
From "Erik Life" <CxAxTxFxIxSxH@msn.com>
Date Thu, 2 May 2002
Met an older man who says he has one of the original 5 Imps produced. He bought it from the Imp maker before they sold to EMPI. He said it was called Big Red and he was in the war with the maker. I can't remember his name, but his daughter still has it, He says it was made of some type of chrome fiberglass? He lives in Washington state. Thanks. Erik.
Here are a couple of sites on EMPI:
The Official EMPI USA Web Site - it was at http://www.empiusa.com
but is no longer running. Mr. Bug now owns the EMPI name.
EMPI Products for sale
1970 EMPI Products catalog
There have been some changes at Unique Supply and there are only 3 kits left. We do not think that any more will be made unless someone takes an interest. Doug has left Unique Supply.
"Just a note to let you know that our company now has in stock three complete Imps, which you have pictured on your home page. One is in primer (the one in the picture above), one is white, and one is yellow. They are awesome!"
"I am writing also to let you know that we are selling them complete for $1795.00 (complete= body, hood, side pods, rear skirt, and engine lid), or just the body and hood for $1295.00. Of course these prices do not include shipping or handling."
"If you have anybody interested please pass along our e-mail address: (firstname.lastname@example.org)."
Unique Supply, Inc.
610 Tennessee Street
Redlands, Ca 92374
Talk to John Unkle from East Coast Graphics (EMPI Imp Club of America). He has decals available based on my original badge. A number of colors are available to match the color of your Imp and they look really sharp!
Paul Kenny now has a source for repro-badges that look exactly like the
originals without the shine.
For supporting the front fenders, Imp #1002 has a metal plate welded on to the flat front area of each shock tower support. There are metal strips that are bolted to these plates and run up to the head light mounting points. The metal strips are (upside-down) L shaped so the long part sits against the plate and the small part just fits under the light mounting hole. The headlights bolt through the body and through the strip. It seemed to make a big difference in stopping fender flap. The bumper is also bolted to these metal plates.
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