The Crayford Story - 3rd Edition

Crayford-Story-3
The Crayford Story

by David McMullan

 

 

In 'The Crayford Story' David McMullan looks back and traces the difficulties and triumphs of the Kent-based company – from its earliest beginnings to its final sale on his retirement in 1987. His account is a warm and often touching story of grit, determination and tireless innovation, all of which combined to lead to their success in a hugely compettive global market. 

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About the Author

David McMullan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1932. The son of two schoolteachers, he attended the Methodist College there before moving with his mother to England at the beginning of the Second World War, when his father joined the RAF. After attending the King’s School, Rochester and taking a London University Honours degree he, too, joined the RAF with a direct commission as Pilot Officer in 1956 to complete National Service.

He obtained some motor industry experience with Britax and Lambretta Trojan Group before starting his own business, Crayford Engineering. In 1962 he asked a friend, Jeff Smith, to join him. Together they developed the world’s first Mini convertible, followed by Ford Cortina and Corsair convertibles.

Crayford Auto Developments Limited, as their company became known, quickly developed into a world-renowned car conversion specialist, putting into production the world’s only Mercedes Benz S Estate car, which took the Gold Medal award at the International Motor Show in Barcelona, and also the stunning Mercedes 280 CE convertible.

During the 1960s and 70s when most of the British motor industry was floundering, Crayford’s concentration on overseas marketing and careful financial monitoring of company performance resulted in steady company growth with diversification into eight-wheel-drive off-road vehicles. In 1985 Jeff Smith died in a motorcycle accident and two years later David McMullan sold Crayford’s.

He then volunteered to work for Oxfam as an overseas emergency engineer and was employed for 20 years – often in war zones – in eight different African countries, the Middle East and South America. He was awarded the MBE for his overseas aid work by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in 2007. Crayford’s still runs as a successful company supplying off-road vehicles in Britain and overseas.

 

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