Two years before Crayford Engineering commenced selling convertible versions of the BMC 1100/1300, Jensen created this prototype ragtop.
The idea was to convince BMC to sub-contract the firm to build them in series production. Sadly, the idea never got off the ground.
Jensen BMC 1100 Convertible: the ragtop that wasn’t
A couple of years before the better-known Crayford convertibles emerged, the Midlands-based car manufacturer Jensen developed a prototype 1100-based convertible. The aim was to interest BMC in a production run but, for one reason or another, this never transpired. Some sources report that up to three models were converted, but reliable information currently only exists for the one pictured above.
Jensen historian Richard Calver has kindly provided the following information about this car: ‘An Austin 1100 Countryman (chassis number A/AW10/16279A) was purchased by Jensen in June 1967, modified to convertible form and finished in Alaskan Blue with Blue Grey trim.
‘The car appeared on the Jensen stand at the 1967 London Motor Show (registered LEA 765E), and was sold off the stand to Jensen dealership A.C. Bulpin and Son Limited of Newton Abbott for £725. It was subsequently taxed for road use and sold on to a customer. It is not known whether this car has survived,’ he said.
Shown in London
So, why use an estate model as the base car? Well, the main reason would have been that, at the time, this was the only readily available 1100 model with a two-door bodyshell, as the Mk1 saloons were only sold in four-door form in the UK.
The extra boot space afforded by the near-vertical tailgate would also have come in useful, bearing in mind the space that would have been occupied by the folding mechanism and the hood itself when folded. In fact, it’s quite likely that this car would have had an electro-hydraulically-operated hood, as a one-off Austin A40 Farina convertible converted by Jensen in the early 1960s was thus equipped.
Thanks to Richard Calver for his contribution to this article.