Mini – Classic : Crayford Conversions
A wide variety of Mini-based models saw the inside of Crayford’s workshops, including the Cooper, Wolseley Hornet, Clubman and even the Moke…
First introduced in 1963, the convertible Mini was the model that made Crayford’s name, attracting wide publicity on the back of the general success of the Mini itself, and the Cooper models in particular. The conversion work cost around £150, and as can be seen here, the company offered two different types: one retaining the rear side windows, the other dispensing with them. In all, approximately 800 Minis were converted by Crayford.
During the 1960s, the Crayford conversion could be ordered through the Chelsea-based firm Motortune Ltd, who added a few special touches of their own.
Wolsley Hornet Convertible
To some eyes, the more conventional three-box design of the Wolseley Hornet carried the conversion rather more elegantly when the hood was lowered. In 1966 Crayford famously produced a batch of 57 such models as prizes to be awarded in a promotional jubilee draw run by the Heinz company. Incidentally, in 1991 Heinz ran a similar draw, this time giving away 100 specially-trimmed (though not convertible) Rover Metros; these cars, dubbed “Metro 57“, were instantly identifiable not only their special two-tone paintwork and spot lamps, but also by the fact that their registrations began “H57”, followed by the winner’s initials.
Mini Clubman Cameo Convertible
From Crayford’s own promotional material:
“The Cameo is the latest convertible variant based on the Mini theme. It is the result of many years of development and production by Crayford and utilises the very latest chassis installation to ensure maximum torsional rigidity. The rear windows remain in place in their original form with opening clasp permitting full ventilation as on the original saloon, and the convertible top folds down in one easy action.
Standard hood colour is black, but other hood colours are available at a surcharge of £45. The Mini Cameo represents the ideal four-seater convertible as there are no restrictions whatever on the original Mini seating, and the car is draughtproof and perfectly tailored to produce an attractive and practical sports convertible.”
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Cameo information submitted by Graham Arnold
The Surrey Moke
So-named for their fringed canopies, Crayford turned out about 20 of these Surrey Mokes, most of which were destined for for the hot climates of the Caribbean and the South of France. Not all were exported, though: one of them took a starring role as a taxi in the cult Sixties TV series, “The Prisoner”.
Apparently a one-off (at least in right-hand drive form), this 1980s revival of the Mini-based beach car concept came with a collapsible canopy which stowed neatly behind the rear seat when not in use. The car came up for sale in the summer of 2003, at an asking price of around £5600.
Carnival information supplied by Graham Arnold
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
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