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…

Mini/Mini-Cooper Convertible

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.”

Prices £ s d
Cameo conversion 195 0 0
Hood bad 9 15 0
Full length tonneau cover 24 10 0

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”.

Mini Carnival

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

Keith Adams


  1. According to a Classified in January 1977 Hot Car magazine Page 71 a 1963 Mini Convertible was converted by Dawsons ?- and came up for sale_ I never heard of Dawsons and can not find anything about the firm – My Hobby for the past close on 50 of my almost 61 years is documenting in depth the contents of car magazines – Not just the articles but in some cases where there some identification details like reg, chassis number, engine number and owner at time pre 2000 before privacy issues and people were not worried about putting their complete names and addresses in print! – I note what comes up for sale in the Classifieds – I reckon I have covered at least 1/3 to half of the Worlds car magazine publications -English speaking from publishing date 1947 to 2001 Most are from the UK, but also USA, Australia and New Zealand +very few South African- But it is off-line and have over last 10 years gone back earlier or later then my original dates – quite a unique resource on 65 Excel spread sheets with 32+ searchable fields However Hot Car magazine is hard to find here in New Zealand and I have only documented some of them from 1975-1978 and non of our libraries keep any! – Your site is a brilliant resource and often referred to it over the years – Keep it up

  2. Back in the late 60’s early 70’s I remember seeing 2 early red convertible Minis in Wales – in particular IIRC the rear passenger space was panelled over at waist level in body colour over making them only 2 seaters. Might have been Dawson conversions but no actual proof.

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