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Crayford Conversions, Savage Cortina & Super Speed

Started by Tony, September 09, 2006, 21:16:37 PM

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Ford never offered an open top version of the Cortina, but Crayford Auto Developments of Westerham Kent did!
The MkII Crayford convertible, only 12 were sold in the UK with another 40 exported.
Of those 12, seven are known to the Crayford Convertible Car Club.
They did make a lotus convertable version also! ;D

At that time it was normal for Crayford to build two prototypes of each car they converted for evaluation and development purposes. In the early days these would normally have been the base model of whatever car they were working on.
In the case of the MkII Cortina, two 1300 deluxes (both in Blue Mink) were supplied from Ford two weeks before the official launch of car at the 1966 Motor Show. Crayford managed to get one MkII Cortina to the show, and so they launched their latest convertible simultaneously with Ford launching the rest of the MkII range.


"The MkII pictured is one of the two prototypes. It could well be the motor show car, but unfortunately there are no records to confirm this as neither car was registered at the time. What is known however is that the car went back to Ford to be changed into a GT and then went back to Crayfords before it was registered to be given an automatic gearbox.
This having a floor shift rather than the column shift that the other production autos have.

"Around 400 MkIIs were converted by Crayfords, mostly based on the GTs but all models where available - they even got hold of a 2dr 1600E and converted that!
I'm told that it still exists to this day.

"Two types were available, a straight forward convertible where the hood simply folds down on to the back parcel shelf and the cabriolet where the rear seat was narrowed to allow the hood to be stowed completely out of sight. Significantly fewer cabriolets were produced than convertibles, probably because of the much higher cost of the cabriolet.

One of the rarest MkII convertibles was based on the Lotus, it is believed that just 20 of these were built with only 3 being the cabriolet version that still exist.

The Lotus cost £1069 when new (£810 for a GT and £669 for a 1300 deluxe) but with Crayford's work the cost was a massive £1473. Don't forget that the cabriolet was even more than this.

Crayford also did engine conversions to MkIIs and just a few of these are known to exist today. Two known cars have the 3L Essex fitted, one is built around a 2dr GT (still with its Ford metal roof) and the other is actually a convertible. The owner Ken Clarke believes this car to be unique. Ken also owns a Lotus Crayford, the only black one ever to have been built.

Crayford are also known for the Savage Cortina!!

The Savage

The development of the V6 Savage Cortina was undertaken by Jeff Uren.
Jeff Uren who is something of a maverick it seems had been involved on and off with Ford's racing efforts since the late 50s, when he was attempting improbable things with Zephyrs, like installing triple carb setups. At the time of the MkII Crayford Cortina Uren had a company called Race Proved. Race Proved turned out many unusual beasts in their time including 3 litre V6 'Comanche' Capris, with a choice of 170, 180, 190 or 220 bhp, 2 litre 'Navajo' Escort estates, 3 litre V6 'Apache' Escorts, and the Capri 'Stampede' which ran a Boss Mustang V8 (yikes!). The 3 litre Essex V6 Savage Cortinas were developed with Ford's knowledge and assistance, GTs and 1600Es where usually the starting points, although the odd two-door or wagon got the conversion also.

Many structural modifications were made to cope with the weight of the V6, the same as that used in the Zephyr & Zodiac. The chassis members down the sides of the engine bay were seam welded and a new cross-member fitted. The suspension mounting holes were left blank by Ford so Uren could drill them out himself to give the car some negative camber. New engine mountings were also required as the weight of the V6 sat well further forward than the usual four cylinder. The 2000E gearbox was used.

Modified springs and shockers were used, with carefully developed new ratings that avoided axle tramp. A lot of effort was put into the rear springs: they were designed so that the front linkage would act as a locating swivel for the axle, while the rear linkage supported the weight of the car. The rear axle was the same as that used in the 1600E.

Other modifications included a new wiring loom, the relocation of the battery to the boot, an alternator conversion, an uprated exhaust system, a special diff ratio, a 22-pint cooling system and most important of all a footrest.
So you could pick a Savage out in the crowd it also had 'Savage' badges on the front quarter panel behind the wheel arches and on the boot lid. V6 badges also appeared in the place where a GT badge would normally be found.

Performance was pretty startling for a Cortina but what would you expect from a 136 bhp V6 with 182 lbft of torque? Two and four door versions were available and also estates as well. I believe it was also possible to take in your own car and have it converted as long as it was deemed to be suitable. Several hundred Savages were built.

V6 Cortina Savage times:

Standing Quarter: 16.6 secs

Standing Kilometre: 31.1 secs

Maximum Speed in Gears:

Top: 104 mph
3rd: 70 mph
2nd: 50 mph
1st: 33 mph

From Rest Through Gears to Speeds:

30 mph: 2.7 secs
40 mph: 4.5 secs
50 mph: 6.4 secs
60 mph: 8.8 secs
70 mph: 12.2 secs
80 mph: 16.0 secs
90 mph: 21.3 secs
100 mph: 36.6 secs

Fantastic for its time!!!

Super Speed

Crayford and Race Proved were not the only people to put 3L engines into the smaller Fords. The next largest company to do this were Super Speed, again converting Cortinas & Escorts etc. Super Speed cars had a very distinctive stripe added, a sort of Lotus stripe but with the point to the back of the car.

the 24v xr4i auto-0 to 60 in 6.71 secs


for those interested in crayfords you can contact the club using this email address .


The club secretary is Barry priestman  who has most of the records and info on all of the crayford conversions  including non ford cars


March 19, 2007, 22:45:52 PM #2 Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 21:58:20 PM by fordrwd4ever
Please see attached articles on superspeed cortinas which were in previous post










I used to live near ilford ( superspeed )   and remember seeing a MK2 Escort in orange with superspeed badges  , Anyone know anything about superspeed escorts ??


Quote from: dxcgnoc
I used to live near ilford ( superspeed )   and remember seeing a MK2 Escort in orange with superspeed badges  , Anyone know anything about superspeed escorts ??

I personly know of 3 superspeeds (cortina Mk2/3 and an escort) and a crayford corsair, got quite a few articals on crayfords, savages and superspeeds if anyone wants em posted  
some on tricentrol as well (another V6 conversion specialist) mainly cortina orientated i'm affraid  

Calum Pearson

Was there ever a "Savage" Escort? A guy I met at work say's there was and he is a bit of a car buff, but I suspect it's just some one who's put a 3.0 litre Essex into 'scort. No mean feet in itself.



The "savage" escort was called an Eliminator.  From what I've heard (cant say its gospel) there were quite a few mk1's and a very limited number of mk2's.  If you find one you'll have done well.



Quote from: MattGrist
The "savage" escort was called an Eliminator.  From what I've heard (cant say its gospel) there were quite a few mk1's and a very limited number of mk2's.  If you find one you'll have done well.




I thought these were made by someone else other than crayford, I may be wrong?  I know they made the eliminator though.



The savage was a race proved product same as the ad i posted, i thought we was after the escort version of the savage ?


the savage was the 'tina.  The escort I have come across was the eliminator.
"Although there are no official records it is estimated that Crayford converted around 100 cars to convertibles.At least 40 are still known to survive.I used to own the 17th car converted.They also made open-topped versions of: Mini, Wolseley Hornet, Cortina series 1-5,Capri MK1,Vauxhall Viva,Audi 80,Mercedes 280,as well as V6 conversions on Escort MK1 (codename Eliminator) plus estate versions of Mercedes cars and the famous 6X6 and 8X8 "Argocat" agricultural vehicles.They also dabbled in armour plating and bomb proofing cars for security at one time.Hughs car was offered in a competition in "Practical Classics" magazine which cost £10.00 to enter-the money as previously stated going to charity.
A vast array of Crayford vehicles can be seen at Bromley Pageant of Motoring during the summer.
A decent roadworthy Crayford Corsair will cost you in the region of £2500 up to £5,000 for the best.There were also 19 made as Cabriolets with a fully lined mohair hood which are substantially rarer."

From here

See also this book
High Performance Escorts Mark 1 1968-1974
Which covers the escort eliminator.


there seems to be a little confusion over  what was a  Savage cortina .

The SAVAGE  cortina was  a trade name of Jeff Uren " Race Proved " and applies to his MK2 and MK3 cortina's .Other companies made various 3 litre conversions on the cortina including Crayford on MK2   and Superspeed on  Mk3  and 4 cortina .  As stated above Escorts  were also converted by  Jeff Uren and Superspeed