The converters : Crayford Metro Politan

It seems that few – if any – of these Crayford convertibles actually reached customers before the company decided to concentrate on its Fiesta conversions.

Oh, and it had a Dr Who connection back in 1982…

Open up and say ahh…

Sarah Jane Smith with K9 and her Metro-based Crayford Metropolitan

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.

Crayford Metropolitan

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 appears to have seen no need to retain the drip channels and vestiges of the Metro’s roof panel above the doors.

Crayford Metropolitan

Crayford Metro Polian (Richard Gunn)
Pictured at the Doctor Who 50 Event in 2013 by Richard Gunn

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).

However, 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.’

Crayford Metropolitan

Keith Adams


  1. the for runner of the official version, not a bad attempt, but the official cabrio was nice, and at one point they had three cabrios in the range, oooooooo those were the days

  2. In the smaller photo, the white car looks a bit like some odd sort of pick up. However, the others look fine, capturing that Metro ‘British Car To Beat The World’ spirit’.

  3. In the top photo, what on earth is that object next to the female model?

    It looks like a cross between K-9 and a Darlek…

  4. It is THE K-9 (well, one of the props anyway) and the ‘model’ is Elisabeth Sladen aka Sara-Jane Smith, companion to John Pertwee’s and Tom Baker’s incarnations of The Doctor. The stills are from a spin-off series.

  5. Brings back memories of my Metros – I had a limited edition Studio2 which had fantastically comfortable seats and an MG Turbo which was great fun.

    Left foot braking the Turbo around roundabouts with your right foot flat on the accelerator to keep the turbo on full boost resulted is an excellent wheel spinning exit – blasting past other cars caught unawares. Alas, with 4 in the car, the accelerator resulted in extra noise but little additional forward motion.

    Anyway, I think the cabrios featured here look pants – sorry !!

  6. No its not the best looking car, but none of these Crayford conversions were, with the possible exceptions of the Mk2 Cortina and the Corsair.

  7. Paul, what about the 1100/1300 conversions? I thought they were rather attractive both with hood up or down.

  8. Kind of scary when you realise the ‘model’ in the picture died recently. I dont know if its only me but I remember when the original Metro came out and this makes me feel so old..

    • You are correct any body born in 1980, 40 years ago is now middle-aged and don’t forget as the Metro was born the MGB & Abingdon the same time.

  9. The K9 and company Doctor Who spin-off back then became something of a flop however The latter Sarah Jane Adventures was a more successful CBBC spin-off and the car she used was a Nissan Figaro my seven year old daughter still points them out look dad the Sarah Jane car when we find one parked or in traffic jams it shows that the Nissan Figaro’s cult following might have the Sarah Jane name stuck to it with our kids growing up remembering the series.

    • @ Will101, K9 and Company did OK, as fans were keen to see two popular Doctor Who companions again, but the BBC didn’t want to commit to a full series as the critical reaction was poor and they were keen to promote Doctor Who with a new Doctor. However, yes, Sarah Jane did come back with a far superior series in the noughties and K9 was to reappear, although a shame the Metro was never seen again.

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