Crayford Convertible


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Today, car manufacturers offer a wide range of models. In many cases, one base model is used as a basis for creating various alternative body styles. For example, Peugeot, Renault, Ford and Vauxhall have produced estate cars, convertibles, cabriolets, coups and even vans all based on the same basic saloon/hatchback.

In the 1950s and 60s, many manufacturers also offered alternative body styles but in many cases the conversions of the basic model were carried out by outside companies and not in house as they are today.  Models such as estate cars were considered a more specialised market than today and new cars were often beyond the reach of most people in comparison with today.  This meant that the cost of producing these variants in house were not cost effective and were therefore contracted out.

Up until the 1960s Ford had used a company called Abbots of Farnham to produce estate versions of their models and these models were often referred to as 'Farnham Estates'.  After the launch of the Ford Anglia 105E, Ford did begin, however, to produce alternative body styles themselves but these tended to be on the best selling models.  Estate versions of the Ford Anglia 105E and Ford Cortina were manufactured by Ford themselves as were the Ford Anglia 105E van but at the same time, estate versions of the MK3 Zephyr and Zodiac saloons were still produced by Abbots of Farnham.

In an attempt to reach as many customers as possible, Ford often experimented with producing alternative body styles for their models and a good example of this is the Ford Consul Capri which was a derivative of the Ford Consul Classic 315.  The Capri was based on the two door saloon and the cars were identical from the waist down with the exception of badging.  The Capri was also manufactured by Ford themselves and an estate version was also on the cards but never actually made it in to production.  Another interesting concept was a coup version of the Ford Consul Cortina called the Saxon but again it never made production.

As with other models, Ford looked at various body styles for the Corsair.  There is evidence that a coup version, similar to the Capri, was a possibility but again it never reached production.  Models that did reach production, however, were an estate car and a convertible.  The estate car was once again produced by Abbots of Farnham and the convertible was produced by a company called Crayford based in Westerham.  Both these models started out as saloons which were delivered the the respective companies where the conversions were carried out.  The estate car used many parts from Ford's own Consul Cortina estate with Abbots manufacturing the unique fibreglass tailgate.  Both the estate car and the convertible were launched to coincide with the new V4 engined models and were based on the V4 GT saloons.

The reason for this page is due the fact that, in the case of the convertible, there were conversions made to a handful of 1500cc GT and deluxe saloons.  There are a couple of examples of this model still in existence and there are some photographs in the gallery.  Incidentally, there is no separate chassis number code for the convertibles as they were built as saloons and were not necessarily destined for the chop until after they had left the factory.  I have read somewhere that there was one estate conversion of a 1500cc saloon but any information on this model remains elusive.








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This site was last updated 07/02/06