Monday, 14 September 2015

Crayford Audi 100

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The first-generation Audi 100 was an elegant thing, fusing luxurious appointments with sporty pretensions. Available as a two-door, four-door, or rakish coupé, it was a massive success for Audi - launched in 1968, they'd shifted half a million of them by '71, with the total production tallying 827,474 cars by 1976. Very few of them, however, were convertibles...

The reason for this is that the car you're seeing here didn't have its roof scythed off by Audi - the surgery came courtesy of aftermarket scalpel-enthusiasts Crayford. After some quality control issues with BMC, Crayford were all too happy to shift allegiances to Germany, and they had a crack at peeling the 100 for the British Motor Show, a yellow two-door having been supplied by distributing agents Sergeant & Brocker of East Grinstead. The suave roadster had a swanky mohair hood which, unusually, had glass rear quarterlights attached to the roof itself. It was a very neat conversion, although history hasn't been kind to the Crayford 100 - the firm received customer complaints of rust and paint blisters within a few weeks of delivery (arguably Audi's fault, not Crayford's, but word-of-mouth is a powerful tool), and the cars had a certain reputation for leaking in the rain. Which is all very unfortunate, and the Crayford Convertible Club's register lists just nine documented conversions... and that makes the car we're looking at here very rare indeed. Furthermore, it's clearly been the subject of a very thorough restoration - it looks brand new, doesn't it? The panels are arrow-straight, the paintwork flawless, and that interior is supernaturally fresh. The conversion is an important part of Audi history, and it's heartwarming that someone's gone to such lengths to preserve it - and that they're using it too! Bet it doesn't leak either.

Spotted at the 2015 Goodwood Revival - more photos here.

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