Vauxhall

THE CRAYFORD VAUXHAL

VIVA HB

 

The Vauxhall Viva HB was Crayford’s first conversion on a vehicle from the Luton based company. As a cabriolet with inner lined hood, it looked ungainly and odd with its 2 plus 2 top up, but with the hood down it was one of Crayford’s best looking cars, and one of the prettiest cars of its era – surely a car Vauxhall should have put into production! Fortunately it was Wallace Arnold Ltd a Vauxhall main dealer in Leeds who saw its potential and commissioned Crayford to remove the top and take on the sole concession for the convertible. The car was announced in Motor Magazine in March 1968 and cost from £1,150 to £1,250 for the GT convertible.

 

Today only seven Crayford’s are known to the clubs with an interest in the HB and among these are representative conversions of the SL90, with its extra power and better trim it was the most popular choice, even better was the Viva GT convertible with a 2.3 litre Victor engine. Two are known to survive.

 

Best of all, and well photographed at the time, was Crayford’s favourite model the Brabham Viva convertible, with its distinctive Brabham bonnet & side stripes powered by a tuned Brabham SL90 engine. This car has not been seen or heard of for many years.

 

Crayford offered Viva owners a ‘Prince’ conversion on their saloon,  that was a black vinyl top for £95 or the top and through flow ventilation for £195. The first conversion was done for David McMullan’s farther in law, who wanted the convertible look but not a convertible.

 

 

CAVALIER/OPAL  ‘CENTAUR’

 

Crayford’s second Vauxhall project the Vauxhall ‘Centaur’ convertible was introduced in 1978. The Centaur had a very strong padded ‘T’ bar top similar to the Triumph Stag and first used by Crayford on the Cortina Mk.4/5. After the first Cortina Mk.5 was type approved the Centaur became the second conversion Crayford had fully type approved by the Ministry of Transport. Like the Cortina project this type approval  was to tie in with the model being sold on, to Magraw Engineering, who produced 118 convertibles, some Opal but mostly Vauxhall models. These cars had a number plaque inside the glovebox. Magraw had a tie in with a major dealer chain, K.J. Motors,  to sell the Centaur new in the showrooms with full warranties. At almost£8,000 fully loaded with options, it was nearly double the cost of the base-car, a GLS Coupe was £4,000 from a Vauxhall dealer.  That so many survive today is testament to how strong these cars were. At the Motor Show, 40 dealers wanted to market the car and interest for 200 cars were expressed.

Client Section