1100 & 1300

 

THE BMC MORRIS 1300 CABRIOLET (ADO 16)

BMC introduced the ADO 16, commonly called the 1100 / 1300 in 1962 and for 10 years it was the UK’s best selling car, beating the Cortina every year. But it was not until 1969 when the later two door cars on the Mk.3 body came along that Crayford produced this striking design, it was a cabriolet with double hoods, the inner hood being a cloth headlining. With the hood up it looked heavy, with only a small rear window, but with the hood down it had beautiful lines, was agile, and had mini like road holding. Its handsome design involved huge changes to the rear bodywork, which made the car expensive and exclusive, only 12 conversions may have been done, the club register has only found 6 survivors. It was made harder to convert because the base car was basically a three door estate, unlike the normal 3 box design of conventional saloons like the Cortina.

Caffyns Ltd. the largest BMC dealer in Kent had the sole franchise, handily they had a showroom and petrol forecourt next to the Crayford Westerham factory. The Tunbridge Wells branch sold one very desirable MG 1300 Crayford with full leather trim and twin carb engine, direct to Malta, this car is now with a 1300 collection in Germany. All the other 5 discovered cars and archive photos show the Crayford 1300 cars as Morris badged, so maybe Caffyns where Morris and not Austin dealers, BMC kept them separate, you where either a Morris or Austin man, this was an era of brand loyalty. Caffyns also sold the Crayford Morris Marina which would confirm they where a Morris garage.

Prices where listed as £1,519 for the 1300 Cabriolet and the MG Cabriolet £1.683 so it was only £300 cheaper than a E type Jaguar when launched.

 

The CRAYFORD 1100 & 1300 ESTATES

Throughout the sixties and until it was replaced in 1973 by the Allegro, the ADO 16 badge engineered range of vehicles which included the humble Morris the sporty MG and classy Vanden Plas, was for ten years Britain's most popular car, out selling Fords Cortina Mk.1 every year. There was such a demand for the 1100 and with so many badged versions that B.M.C had no time to develop an estate version until late in the models life. So Crayford, while still working from home at Crayford House, Tatsfield near Westerham in Kent, where they were busy producing niche market convertible's, decided to branch out into the estate car conversion market with an ADO 16 estate for less then £100.

The Crayford 11/1300 estate would cost you £79 or £115 for the deluxe, plus the cost of the donor car, new or second hand. Stringers of Sussex were the first of many appointed B.M.C agents who could supply you a new 1100 estate and best of all buyers didn't pay purchase tax as the car was an after market conversion and therefore technically not new.

Outwardly it looked like a standard 1100 saloon, but like the ground breaking Austin A40. It had a split 'Countryman' style tailgate as opposed to the later factory B.M.C estate which had a one piece tailgate and a squared off rear body. The standard boot hinged down and the rear window was given a new cast frame and hinged upwards. After the rear doors were opened, the rear seat hinged forward, the deluxe had a ribbed floor to assist loading.

With Crayford making the Mini and new Mk.l Cortina convertibles at home, prior to getting their own factory, there was no room for the estate conversion at Tatsfield so their good friends FLM Panelcraft, working on a similar scale from a railway arch in nearby Fulham, London SW6, were contracted to build the 1100 and many other Crayford estates that followed. FLM boss, Nobby Fry, was an old friend of the Crayford Directors, David McMullan and Jeff Smith, and would not only build many BMC and Mercedes Crayford estates under licence but also come up with his own designs, like the Shadow Estate and the Rover P6 Estate. Today, hardly any of the Crayford 11/1300 Estates survive – I have seen only two in 15 years. One was a club members Wolseley 1300 Crayford, in two tone blue and Grey, which is still around. The other car was a rare Vanden Plas Princess Estate in sage green and in a very poor state.

The 1100 range would soon get a reputation for rusting, so with a revised open rear tailgate to let in more water as the rubber seals decayed it is no surprise that the entire rear bodywork and subframes of most of the Crayford estates developed premature rusting and went to an early grave.

Today only one known car, the Wolseley, survives on the road.

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