The Fiesta Cabriot was a design by Crayford Auto Developments, showcased at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show. With David McMullan supervising his two sons (pictured below), a 1983 Fiesta Mk1 XR2 was given 'the treatment', turning a standard car into a real flyer with classy bodywork.
You will of course recognise the Crayford name as the company behind the Fiesta Fly convertible.
The Cabriot (coupe without a convertible top) had the B posts removed creating a pillarless design. The rear Opera window was achieved by coating the roof and part of the tailgate in inch thick foam, and a dark blue vinyl outer covering. Additional steel beams were added along the rocker sills to give the whole body extra rigidity. In addition the rear pillar was made much wider and moved forward. Further modification are detailed in the Press Release of the time which can be further down this page.
The cost of the Cabriot conversion (including the new car it was based upon) was approximately £10000, which in 1983 was a considerable sum.
A Pace Turbo was fitted to the 1600cc Crossflow engine, and by all accounts, the car was a real flyer.
Sold in 1984 to Liz Inman of Oxted, Surrey, it remained with her until the current owner purchased the car in around 2007.
In-between Crayford and the second owner, the car suffered some accident damage, and the rear section including tailgate were replaced. The repairers used a Mk2 bootlid, and did away with the Opera window - the current owner is addressing this and intend to restore the car to it's original design. The car was scheduled to appear in Classic Ford in early 2012.
The images below show the car in December 2011, just ahead of it's magazine feature publication.
Frunkfurt Motor Show Press Release
The dual language English/German press release for the Frankfurt motor show 1983 reads as follows:
Frankfurt Motor Show News - Fiesta 'Cabriot'
The creation by Crayford Engineering of Westerham, Kent, England of the FIESTA 'CABRIOT' is an engineering and body styling project based on the FORD FIESTA XR2. The Crayford design team have achieved a unique and attractively styled high performance car offering all the advntages of a coupe with open sides and no upper 'B' post. The CABRIOT is fitted with a 1600cc Turbo charged engine, and the body has been extensively restyled.
The door windows are modified using the special system developed by Crayford for the Fiesta 'Fly' Convertible, and the rear side windows can be left in place or removed to give a completely open side to the car for use in the summer.
To enhance the appearance of the vehicle and also to add strength, the rear pillar has been made considerably wider and is carried forward. The gutters have been removed to improve the trimline of the roof, and the whole roof area has also been treated with plastic foam and leather cloth.
To compensate for the removal of the upper 'B' post, the rocker sills have been considerably strengthened by the use of steel side members welded onto the outsid eof the car, and these blend into the back edge of the front wings and the leading edge of the rear wings.
If the 'CABRIOT' is to be used for competition work, the front of the rear wings will be opened out to provide additional brake cooling in the rear wheel area.
The conversion costs £3,800 plus taxes, and the delivery time would be approximately 8 weeks from receipt of the basic vehicle.
Other Press Coverage
The Cabrio was featured in the Spring 2012 edition of the Crayford club magazine, known as Crayview, pictured alongside my own (at the time), Fiesta Fly.