Modified Metros : Crayford Metropolitan
It seems that few – if any – of these Crayford convertibles actually reached customers before the company decided to concentrate on its Fiesta conversions.
Open up and say ahh…
In January 1981, Motor magazine reported that Crayford was planning to build a prototype convertible version of the recently-launched Metro, with the aim of offering the cheapest soft-top in the UK. It was hoped that a no-frills, 1.0-litre version would come in at under £4000 – just £900 more than the base car’s list price, and at least £2000 less than the closest opposition, such as the Golf convertible.
(The more comparable Talbot Samba Cabriolet would not arrive until September 1982, at a starting price of £6196). Crayford hoped to keep costs down by completing each conversion in around 70 hours, rather than the 200 hours which was more typical for such work. For those who wanted to enjoy a higher specification along with the wind in their hair, it was proposed that better-equipped versions could cost up to £7000.
In the event, Crayford’s predictions proved somewhat optimistic: when the conversion reached the market in September that year, the starting price for a new 1.0-litre drop-top was £5450, with the conversion itself costing £1750+VAT – thus adding more than twice the projected amount to the cost of any standard Metro. Crayford sugared the pill by also offering the conversion, at the same cost, on customers’ existing cars.
Dubbed the Metro Politan, Motor reported that the conversion involved an arrangement similar to that employed by the Rapport Metrosport, with large rear three-quarter side windows and a large roll-over bar which, in addition to providing protection for the occupants, was also crucial to restoring (at least some of) the car’s structural integrity. However, unlike Rapport, Crayford appear to have seen no need to retain the drip channels and vestiges of the Metro’s roof panel above the doors.
Unfortunately, it appears that the Metro Politan may have been short-lived. Only three photos of the car have so far come to light, and few of the contemporary UK car catalogues seem to feature it. For instance, a special feature on convertibles that appeared in the Daily Express Guide to 1982 World Cars makes no mention of it, despite including references to the Rapport Metrosport and Crayford’s own Ford Fiesta-based conversions. It seems likely that Crayford decided to concentrate on building the Fiesta Fly – and its turbocharged stablemate, the Fiesta Cabrio – which in all honesty must have looked a more tempting proposition, offering fully open-air motoring (albeit at a slightly higher price).
But the Crayford Metro Politan did have one starring role, as Richard Kilpatrick explains:
‘Not sure if anyone’s ever pointed this out, but the Crayford Metro convertible did escape into the wild. It features in Doctor Who spin-off, K-9 and Company. Here’s Liz Sladen with her Metro. I’m pretty sure it’s the Crayford as the Rapport’s folded roof is huge, and there’s no apparent drip rail on the K-9 car (there’s a scene with an open door which shows that it matches the Crayford type).