Thirty-five years ago, Barry Priestman set up the Crayford Car Club, just as he was buying his 1981 Cortina drop-top: ‘I was at a car show and was offered the prototype by the managing director of Carbodies, which had bought the rights to produce the car from Crayford. Sold new through Bristol Street Motors, Carbodies thought it would sell hundreds of them, but the high purchase price meant just 28 were made.
The convertible had to be based on the twodoor bodyshell, but type approval rules meant the Belgian factory could export only 1.3-litre cars. So one was sent over and Crayford got type approval using my car, allowing 2- and 2.8-litre cars to then be shipped over for conversion. Mine is the only 1.3-litre example. Completely original, I’ve taken my car on the Cortina Run twice now, but it’s still only covered 30,000 miles or so.’