Crayford Engineering (more commonly known simply as Crayford) was an automobile coachbuilder based in Westerham, Kent, and formed in 1962 by Jeffrey Smith (engineer and designer) and David McMullan MBE (sales). The company specialized in converting European coupés and saloons into convertibles and estates, with notable products including the convertible Mini.
According to Crayford, the “Crayford Mini Sprint was developed and tested over many thousands of miles and has scientifically engineered chassis developments, to give improved rigidity. The superb roadholding and handling of the standard car is, if anything, enhanced. The wonderful spacious interior is almost exactly as standard. The car simply has a folding top. A sleek, clean design, built by leading hood manufacturers of England, in tough good-looking ‘Vynide’, with a rear window as large as the saloon. Easily let down, and if necessary, put up, from the driving seat. A real convertible for the family man – The Crayford Mini Sprint. The car to get you there quickly, safely, and more economically, with fresh air and sunshine to hand.”
First registered in December 1964, this wonderful example is a very early example of the BMC approved conversion by Crayford, fitted with Crayford upgrades such as the Cooper 998cc engine. With its first owner in Buckinghamshire from new until the 1980s, the Sprint has enjoyed a full photographic (and no expenses-spared) restoration over 2015-2016, which used many new/old stock genuine parts. The Sprint was also treated to a few upgrades, notably the fitting of rare microcell reclining seats, a desirable Les Leston wood-rimmed steering wheel and Cooper S wheels and disc brakes. Finally the Sprint enjoyed a full mechanical re-build (engine, gearbox, carburettors), and a full professional re-paint and re-trim, to produce the excellent example presented today. The Sprint is finished in Tweed Grey with a Blue/Grey interior, and offered with a handbook, older log book, and current UK V5C document, in addition to a current UK MOT certificate. Pleasingly the Mini will be offered with its original registration number of 1070 PP.
As testament to the quality of the restoration, the Sprint was awarded winner of the John White trophy at the Beaulieu national Mini Cooper day 2016, and was shortlisted for best in show at Goodwood Revival 2016.
Crayford Mini Sprints are exceptionally rare variants of the early Mk1 Mini, and this wonderful example is quite possibly the best in existence.