BMC 1800/2200 : Crayford Estate

Alongside their trademark convertibles, Crayford were beginning to produce “estate car” conversions in the 1960s, the more apposite term “hatchback” not really having been coined at this stage.

The Crayford 1800 Estate offered up to 100 cu ft of load space, and could be ordered as a full conversion (seen here) for £180, or without the rear hatch for half that cost. In 1975, Crayford gave the same treatment to the 1800’s replacement, the new wedge-shaped 18-22 series (see the Princess gallery).

The text and photos below are taken from Crayford’s own promotional material for the car.

BMC (Crayford) 1800 Estate

The BMC 1800, when converted to estate car form, offers a set of specifications believed to be unmatched by any other British-built estate car either in its price range or outside it.

In such matters as payload platform level (ie: the distance from the road to the base of any weight carried) which are critical where stability and high-speed touring are concerned, we have been unable to trace any other estate car built in any country which carries its load so low, in such an ideal and safe position. This is not the result of the conversion, but the by-product of the thoroughly advanced original engineering design of this particular car.

There are numerous other exceptional features: it has the longest rear floor of any British estate car, and also the largest loading aperture, and is the only one with instantly removable rear seats. The specially designed roof rack is exceptionally strong, and is quickly detachable – it also does not rely on resting on the rain gutters.

As the 1800 already offers first-class space/value for money, the finished product as an estate car becomes a vehicle of exceptional versatility and load carrying capacity, at a price far below anything with which one could begin to compare it.

BMC 1800 Crayford Estate Car conversion price list

Austin 1800 MkII £ s d
Basic car 998 15 0
Automatic transmission 98 7 10
Power Assisted Steering 41 4 2
Complete Crayford conversion 180 0 0
Interior conversion only 95 0 0
Wolseley 18/85 £ s d
Basic car (PAS standard) 1081 16 1
Automatic transmission 98 7 10
Complete Crayford conversion 187 0 0
Interior conversion only 95 0 0
Optional extras £ s d
Roof rack 9 15 0
Floor extensions 5 15 0
Airflow extractors (standard on complete conversion) 9 0 0

(All prices include Purchase Tax)

Keith Adams


  1. Looks like a similar silhouette to the modern Mondeo.

    At what point did estates mean the “conservatory extension” shooting brakes / station wagons, and this style became known as a “hatchback”?

    Looks like a Maxi before the Maxi.

  2. The Landcrab flaws aside should have been a hatchback from the outset (sans X6 Vanden Plas)to both take advantage of the benefits from the FWD layout as well as give it something unique over the Citroen DS.

    Followed by a proper Landcrab estate loosely akin to the Austin 3-litre estate by Crayford.

  3. It’s not a bad idea – but it’d never have flown at BMC. Incidentally what on earth are those sideflash trims on the rear wings – they look strangely familiar.
    I read somewhere that Crayford had to reinforce the C pillar & gusset the rear of the roof partly to take the weight of the massive hatch lid & partly to replace the strength of the fixed rear seat panel (a bit like a partial second bulkhead) the standard 1800/1885 have.
    Given this to be the case, wouldn’t the suspension pressure be different over a standard ‘crab? (230psi, from the workshop manual) and what about the extra loading – was auto leveling fitted? (Landcrabs do not have remote headlight adjustment).

    PS. Any who owns one will be familiar with the “half a bedpan” light embellishers – which appear to be stainless steel. It would be a really good idea to mark them as left/right when you have a minute because they will *almost* (98%) fit swapped over. Swapped, adjusting headlight beams and refitting is not a fun experience – and visually it’s almost impossible to tell the mistake. I know, I did it.

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