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gulf908

RHD Crayford 914s

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Hi

Brett Johnson is doing an update on his 914 authenticity book and I am sending pics of my own 914-6

He has also asked me to do a short story on the Crayford RHD 914s

I will be taking some pics of Stephen's '73 car here in Sydney shortly

I believe there were 11 914s converted by Crayford in the early 1970s

Is anyone aware of any more of these cars currently here in AUS ?

 

cheers

Dennis ☺️

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dennis,

 

you probably already know all this?

 

there were two crayfords cars that came in.

both in 1973 and 2.0L fours.

the ADRs (emission controls) prevented anything after that time as the cars were sourced from uk porsche distributors allied to crayfords.

(theoretically a us market car might have complied but crayfords cars were europe spec sourced.)

 

There was a metallic green one.   I knew the late (2nd) owner.  a man called brian c.  he had the car in melb. for many years through the 80s and 90s.

back then the car was in beautiful condition.   i think i last saw it in the early 2000s.   i heard it ended up in nsw.   brian obtained it from the original owner who imported it, a sydney dentist if my memory is correct.

 

the other car was a white one, which also originally resided in nsw.  it had non factory alloys from the beginning.  during the 80s that car ended up in victoria.   i saw it a couple of times.  i tried to buy it as a young man in the early to mid 80s.  it was for sale with a frankston car dealer from memory (or somewhere down that way).  i last saw that car in about 1987.   no idea where it is now.  that car was featured in a modern motor article in the 70s.

 

i took a lot of interest in 914s back then.   dating from when i was about 13 in 1973 and saw what i think might have been the hamilton car parked in bourke st.  ended up with one when i lived in chicago in the late 80s and brought it back.

still have it.   1974, 914 1.8.   second owner.   40,000 mile.   i love it.  putting it back on road at moment after hibernating for 15 years in storage.   i converted the car in the early 90s after getting back to aus.   a crew in moorabin did it for me who were converting LHD MGs for the japanese market.  they did a very good job and used (i am told) a dash moulding sourced from a crayford mould that had come to australia in the 70s.  that was the story.  unsure who supplied them the dash mould, but someone had it.   the conversion was modelled on brian c's green car as the reference.

 

there were a couple of other cars floating around in the 80s in melbourne, but were not crayford cars.   a couple of german vw mechanics in abbotsford had one 4 each and later one of them brought a 6 in from germany.   it was originally brown metallic from memory.   there was also the red hamilton six assessment car which brian c also owned for a time.   there was one other i remember and have not seen since i think probably 1979 or 1980 which was an apple green 914 1.7 that used to run around melbourne with dusseldorf (?) plates on it and was still LHD.   it was eventually converted someone told me, but converted badly without firewall modifications.   you would have needed very short legs to drive it?

 

there are of many more 914s here now.   those that did get converted (as you really had to do in the 90s if you wanted to register them) probably have the same dashboard moulding that went into mine which i was led to believe was a crayford sourced item.

 

 

File0010.jpg

white914.jpg

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ps

i can recall the late brian c telling me about a RHD 914 he came across in hong kong in a back street in the either the late 70s or early 80s.

he said it was rough but it was a crayfords car.   so at least one of those crayfords cars ended up there.   whether it still exists who can say.   914s were not really valued in that era.    

 

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WP

 

thanks for your stories

I will be taking some pics of the green car tomorrow for my Crayford story

there were 11 Crayford conversions done according to the invoice list I have

one to Malta,one to Jebson in Hong Kong and the last in 1974 to AUS

all the rest were first sold in the UK

no chassis numbers on the invoice list unfortunately

the one in Modern Motor April 1075  must have been a UK one subsequently brought in - a mystery car ?

I am contacting a Crayford owner in the UK shortly for further info - I just wanted to beat the bushes here just in case

thanks for your response

cheers

Dennis 😀

ps - the green car at last years PC NSW concours

 

 

DSC07651 (Small).JPG

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thanks for photo of brian's old car dennis.  brings back great memories of the man.

brian was the original mr. 914 here in melbourne. 

its great that car is still well preserved.  

good to know i did have a correct story about the hong kong car.   this thread has twigged my memory.  brian said it was either in hong kong or macua where he came across it.  its thirty years ago that all those stories were told to me.

brian said there were a couple of left hand drive cars in tahiti too.   french spec.  but they would be rust powder by now.

the white 914 is perhaps a mystery.     last time i saw it in the 80s it was still as per modern motor article with the aftermarket alloys with the graphic decals on the rocker covers.   it was a crayfords car.   same dash as the green one, same stitching.   also i remember lifting the carpet in the pedal box and it had the same crayfords pop rivetting to the modified fire wall.   i am trying to remember the story.   i think it had been owned by a radio dj who had driven it down a bit, but it was still in ok condition.   thats when it was for sale in frankston.   if i am not mistaken and my memory isn't wrong it sold for $20,000 back then, in mid 80s, which was a good sum of money for one.   an old guy bought it (an old guy then) and he turned up at a few day of the volkswagen events.    and that was probably the last time i saw it.   probably 86 or 87.

so the green car is probably it as far as direct orders from crayfords to aus.   i remember brian telling me, it was owned by a sydney dentist.  brian was in sydney at some time in the 70s and saw the car.  left a note under the wiper.   2 years later the guy rang him and told him he was selling the car and brian had first dibs.   brian bought it after photos were sent in mail.    he told me guys in his office were cracking jokes there were no photos sent of the right hand side of the car.    it was fine, in perfect condition.   he drove it straight back to melbourne with the top off overnight on the hume.   which back in those days was not a freeway.

 

anyway it lives.  just as well.   an important car.  

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slightly off topic, since not a crayford conversion, the surviving hamilton 914/6 is still here in melbourne.

i see if from time to time.

i went with brian to collect that car when he purchased it from alan hamilton back in the early 90s.   it was at the time porsche took over the australian operation from hamiltons.   that car had remained with hamilton since it came in.   it was converted by hamiltons in their workshop.   i think the guy who converted it is still alive.   again its hard to remember the detail of all the stories.   it could be considered the only other semi official conversion.

i spent a bit of time with brian in his garage going over that car when he first got it.   hamiltons took a different approach to conversion.   they cut the metal dash up and rewelded it back together in rhd form.  they did the firewall alterations and reduced the fuel tank size.   they installed speedster seats.   they omitted the rear bulkhead pad in the passenger compartment.    they installed an under-dash centrally mounted pull out speedster or 356 handbrake.  given it was an early car, a 1970 model i think, it had the fixed passenger seat etc which made the interior cosmetics so expensive in the original crayfords conversions.   later cars with two moveable seats were a little easier to convert, (and maybe slightly cheaper?), which might partly explain the green car that came in here late in the model run.

after brian obtained the ex hamilton 6 he rebuilt the interior to match the green car, with two adjustable 914 seats, padded bulkhead and floor mounted chassis rail handbrake.    installed sway bars and other suspension upgrades.

the hamilton car was a unique special order.   came with a 4 speed hill climb ratio gear box direct from the factory.   thats never been documented i believe.    the one 914 with a four speed box ordered from the factory.   there were other funny things about that car too.   to some extent it was built japanese spec.   i think it was the front indicator lenses that gave that away, trying to remember now.

the car was not converted immediately on arrival.   it was driven for some time LHD on dealer plates i think and a special permit.   i guess because it was the importers car there was some kind of assessment/testing deal.   after that assessment period ran out it was converted.    it may have been sold, but then was purchased back.   all the info i ever heard was verbal.

there was a second car.   its rumoured to still exist.   the story was it was crashed and very badly damaged.   but someone kept the wreck.  that was the story.  probably an urban myth.

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engineering report.

(presumably this all went with the green car as material came from brian c's files when it was published 30 years ago).

 

MEV19899.jpg

MEV198910.jpg

MEV198911.jpg

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36 minutes ago, wonkipop said:

there were a couple of other cars floating around in the 80s in melbourne, but were not crayford cars.   a couple of german vw mechanics in abbotsford had one 4 each and later one of them brought a 6 in from germany.   it was originally brown metallic from memory

this is my old man and his business partner

he still has 2,his 1st one and a last of series in pearl white with mahle wheels

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Hi @gulf908 and @wonkipop,

Are you both members of the Porsche 914 Australia fb site? There are quite a few of us on there with cars spanning from resto projects to road and race going cars :)

I am orgainsing a 50-year celebration of the 914 in Australia at the 2020 Phiilip Island Historics from 5-8 March 2020- would love to see your cars there if you can make it! Please let me know as I need to confirm attendees to the Organising Committee in the coming weeks...

I note that the top photo in wonkipop's first post would have been taken out the front of Brian's house, I too visited Brian back in the day when I became interested in 914s. He was a great fellow and a fountain of information on our cars.

I believe @Airhead now owns the ex-Hamilton car, which was Brian's former 914/6. Am sure he will chime in here.

Cheers

Craig

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@ jnr.   i believe frank would have to qualify as the longest continuous ownership of a 914 in australia.  for sure.   i remember him well.   he is an original. he had the red car and he contemplated selling it to me back in the 80s.   he almost did but i'm glad he changed his mind.   i remember him showing me a picture of the white car.  he might remember me as a kid who pestered him in the 80s.   its fantastic he still owns the cars.

its a long time ago i last saw frank.  i hope he is well.

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@ crsedge.   i don't do facebook.   i hang around the edges of the 356 register in melbourne, but they won't accept my car into their historic register - plates deal etc.   not a 356.  

 i should have mine back on the road by phillip island and i will try to get there.    doing a total clean out of fuel and brake system at present.

just spent xmas break hand making new steel fuel lines to replace the orig plastic ones.    have a very good mechanic helping me.   therapy.  

got them in after a week of mucking around.   had to make an extra kink in them at the upper end unlike american kits to get over the pedal axles that come with rhd conversion.    nothings easy.

i know airhead if airhead is a she.   see her from time to time.   she knew brian very well.   also have met her hubby if he is airhead.    

they know who i am, i avoid the porsche mainstream, got enough insults directed at my car back in the day not to forgive or forget.

i just hung out with 914 guys back in the day and there were not many of us.   they all got old and died.    these days i hang out with another old guy who drives a beat up speedster.

 

 

 

@ crsedge - yes the photo is taken in front of brian's house.   1991.  my car is the other car in it.  still lhd then.    was running its illinois plates.   i used to get serial runs of unregistered vehicle permits.   it took a lot of drives all over victoria to seek conversion quotes if you know what i mean!

good that you met brian.

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thanks for all the info WP

the MM 1975 test of the white car is interesting

I have just re read it and while it does mention Crayford,it doesn't actually say it was a Crayford car

its very difficult to say if a 914 was or wasn't Crayford as there were no chassis numbers or registration plates mentioned on their list of invoices

having said that,there was no ashtray and the dashtop seems to be leather (?)

maybe we'll never know

the red 914-6 is no urban myth - a one year only metallic red which suits the car beautifully

I am also in the process of writing a piece for Duck and Whale on the 3 RHD 914s here in AUS

these are the green Crayford car and the 2 914-6s converted by PCA in '71 and '72

I have written the intro and the end but I need to flesh out the stories

I wasn't coming to Phillip Island in March but since the start of this thread,maybe its an opportunity I can't miss

Craig - I will be there at PI but not driving my 914-6 -Barry sent me a notice several days ago - I heve tried to join the 914 FB page but they don't like my face !! - Luke says try again  which I will

WP -  I would like to meet you and the PCA mechanic you mentioned to get more info on the 2 PCA conversions

is it also possible for someone to arrange a meeting with Alan Hamilton re the PCA 914s ?

I have met him several times over the years but he may not remember me

I don't get to Melbourne much these days so it will be a nice 3/4 day break for me to see the ancient rellies

pm if appropriate

pic is from Porsche Post UK - the Crayford ad went from Spring '72 to Spring '73

 

cheers

Dennis☺️

 

PP Spring 1972.jpg

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no worries dennis.

 

what a great pic you just posted.

 

something can be arranged re meeting the man who converted the hamilton cars through my friend with with beat up speedster.

the guy who did it is still around.

 

i can tell you, and not a matter of recollection, that the white car in MM article was a crayfords car.

i was young in the 80s but i had trained myself and knew what i was looking at when i looked at it.

by the way brian c knew about the white car and knew it was a crayfords car.

we talked about it when he was still in the world.   bless his soul.

 

attached another old school pic.

this guy used to work on brian and my 914s.  he is in NZ now.   great guy.  loves 914s.

his line to me " best porsche out of the box".

 

hopefully we can all catch up.   i'm working hard on my car.  its still got factory paint.  its a little patina-ed.  but its orig. apart from the swap over to rhd.

 

 

 

 

figgaretporsche914nurburgring2.jpg

914.jpg

figgaretporsche914nurburgring.pdf

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dennis

 

you have got me thinking.

re ash trays and leather.

 

yes none of the crayfords cars had ahstrays in dash as per factory.

and they had hand stitched dashboards with a discontinuity between the instrument binnacle and the main dash top.

 

i remember the green car.  the ash tray was in the centre console and was crayfords english addition.

like a ye-olde ashtray or something out of a humber.

as you note the white car had no ash tray in original position as per factory.

i am relying on thirty years of memory here.

 

my car has the ashtray in the dashboard where it is as per factory.

i smoke like a chimney.

i don't remember about hamo car, but i think no ashtray, too hard?  its been awhile.  ask airhead.

a lot of the conversion cars done in the 90s also had no ashtray.

there was specific instructions given by me re the ashtray in mine.

it had to go back in (was mint - don't light the chimney thing in it).

the converters grumbled about putting the ash tray back in.

they had to do work on the mould to incorporate it.

i still have orig radio, glovebox pod, dash top and metal dash frame.   lower dash padding with air vents went back into the car with the conversion.    have original muffler - the factory installed original.    we used it as a pattern recently to modify a kombi muffler to fit to my car.    as an aside, i don't think many people know that a 1.8 L muffler is a late kombi muffler exactly (weird indentations and all) except that the inlet pipes are welded in upside down.   my mechanic cut into the muffler, cut the inlets out, turned them around and rewelded it all back together with the original as template.    considerably less costly than importing a dansk factory repro from the usa .

 

a further thing about that white car, it had all the chrome trim pieces on the targa bar blacked out.it was still like that in the 80s.  in MM pictures you can see that.   strange what i can remember as well as what i forget.   the fine trim that finishes the bottom of the vinyl had been screwed back on with black phillips head screws.   looked agricultural.   they were not glaring things, but it was not like the green car.    

the tartan seat fabric in the green car is not original.  but it is porsche fabric i think.  i remember when brian did that.   i am pretty sure it had corduroy in it from factory.  

 

it was incredibly hard to import a car into australia in the 70s.  even difficult in the early 90s.   tax hit was huge.   i minimised it as i had already owned and driven the car in the usa for two years.   whoever the owners were who bought those two cars in back then had to be very committed.   the whole process was expensive, expensive, expensive.   you would not have trusted the conversion to any jackass.    only crayfords had the rep and product to reassure a customer that the car would not be ruined.  in the case of both cars they would definitely have been driven in the uk for a period before coming here.   likely by the owners on an extended trip or working holiday.   a good number of people took delivery of their 911s that way.   direct from the factory in germany.   drove it around europe and brought it back.   there was also some lurk to the direct factory delivery that lowered sales tax or customs duty.   the direct factory deliveries were still arranged through hamiltons  i believe.   strict controls were in place that protected the distributor here.   real old guys would remember how it all worked.

so in answer to musings, the white car really could not be anything other than a crayford car.   no one else did conversions on 914s back during the time when the cars were new.

the only people in melbourne doing conversions were chapel engineering.   they did strictly yank tanks.   oldsmobiles, caddys etc for that sector of the melbourne market that refused to buy mercedes benzes etc.    WW2 was still close in the past in the 60s and 70s.   jewish people for instance would absolutely not drive german cars for good reason.    thats all faded away now.    chapel were still operating in the 80s.   i once went there and asked them would they convert a 914 if i went and got one.  they told me to go away.  i think chapel had such a good reputation re its conversions it serviced the national market here.   not sure if sydney had any operations converting cars.   but chapels was not an enthusiast backyard thing, it was an upfront professional storefront for the importation and conversion of brand new us cars.

i really think the next guys to tackle 914s after hamiltons were frank and horst.   and that is in the late 70s and early 80s.   thats when a few other people, like me, for instance, thought to ourselves, this can be done.

of course, you don't have to do it now.   its all way easier.   long as you don't mind driving in the gutter on narrow country roads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a further thought on how to track the crayfords cars if you are an ethusiastic enough historian,

or perhaps one of the english owners has enough time and patience.

i think from memory the crayfords cars were supplied solely through the london porsche distributor.

malaya motors?   or a name something like that.

there would not have been many 914s sold in the uk, even in lhd drive form, which i think you could drive in the uk even at that time. 

not positive about that, but i think you could drive a lhd car in the uk.    unlike australia,    strictly no here.   except i believe in WA.

and maybe NT?

anyway, maybe malaya motors still has the sales records for the cars that were sold that particular model year.

 

both those cars were 1973 model year 2.0 L cars.    they came into australia later, but only a little later, about 12 months, thats due to a) the conversion process and b) likely what i note above regarding a period of ownership os.

 

the cars could be tracked through a) colour and b) the options.

the green car was a full appearance and performance group optioned car from the factory.

the white car was without at least the appearance group option package.   it had no centre console and had no factory alloys.

there may well exist more information on the cars apart from the crayfords invoices.

that might lead to the chassis numbers.   

and the chassis numbers could be checked back to the factory records.

another source of chassis numbers might be nsw registration records.

but i am not sure whether that kind of information can be divulged by the registration office.

the number plate is clearly visible in the MM article.    NSW   HDD-122

 

just because crayfords did not invoice 2 australian addresses, only one, does not mean the other car was not ordered by an australian.   whoever they were they could well have been working and living in the uk, a very common thing for australians to do back then when the world was un-global and the commonwealth was still kind of intact.

 

ps - i distinctly remember brian had photos of that hong kong car.   it was a mess.   brian had photos of just about every 914 he ever came across.    photos of him clowning around sitting in 914s chopped in half in LA junkyards etc.    i don't know what happened to his photo collection.    maybe his daughters kept them all.    airhead would know how to contact them i think.

 

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perhaps there is another clue in the MM article.

the last para says.

"The 914SC we drove looks like its a collector's piece if its put up for sale, and the owner told us that if that should happen and he was to return to England the first thing he would do would be to order a new current model."

uk citizen working in australia brought the car out / or australian citizen residing in the uk ordered the car.

in either case there would be no invoice to an australian address.

whereas the order for the green car was done from here, your invoice records show that.  owner probably went and picked it up, while taking a short working holiday in the uk or touring around europe/uk in car.

----

the MM article specifically mentions there were only 4 914s in australia at the time.   1975.

that information would have been right or very close to right.

914s were so rare and unusual that the ones that were here were known.

2 with hamiltons.   the two crayford cars in nsw?

however as mentioned, there was also an apple green 1.7 running around in melbourne that came out with a german girl sometime in the 1970s.    not many people remember that car.    i saw it when i first went to melbourne to go to university.   78 or 79 i think.   maybe it was not here as early as 1975.

by 1979 there is only 4 more and that figure quoted by hamiltons would probably be close to correct.  porsche circles were small.    getting any kind of 914 into the country would have been an expensive exercise still at that time - and by now they are becoming second hand has been cars.   the 924 is for sale and its rhd.    2 of the 914s hamilton refers to the in the count of 8 are probably franks and horsts since they are in melbourne - and not that far from hamiltons showroom either.

after that time people turned to the usa to source 914s as a few more trickled in during the 80s.     then more came in during the 90s.    

-----

some one will know where the white crayford car ended up.

 

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Hi WP

thanks again for your recollections and I look forward to meeting you in March

the green Crayford car has no ashtray and the later console has replaced their ashtray

the hamo car has one where expected but the red car has one but a little further down

I will be writing to Ian McMath in the UK for some further info on these Crayfords and will let you know - he owns one and has sent me a scan of the brochure

he may also know of the MM car

cheers

Dennis ☺️

 

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dennis,

randomly googling "crayfords rhd 914" this popped up.

sales blurb is interesting.

www.carandclassic.co.uk:car:C992995.webloc

a third one in australia.? according to what is stated this car would have been a late big bumper car given date of manufacture?

if date of manufacture is factory date and not a crayfords date.

this one "it is believed" was in australia from sometime after 1975 and then sold and exported to someone in singapore in 1980.   in england since 2017.

no documentation to support export to aus.   no photos of interior.   "updated" to a 6 and perhaps is not orig colour. 

definitely not the white car - that was still here in mid to late 80s.

i never saw this one.   don't think it was in melbourne.

 

 

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pic attached - brian in hamo 6 after he sorted it.   mid 90s.   

(brian ran the register and published a newsletter - no dates on it anywhere - funny guy).

finding it again sharpened memory on my comment above re japanese spec light set up.   if you

look at front guard the - hamo 6 came with side marker lights.

at first glance as per usa cars.  

however we had my usa spec 4 sitting next to the hamo car one day and brian spotted that the lenses were not the same.   colour is like usa lenses but  prismatics cast in it are  different.   think we pulled out the restorers guide and figured they were japanese spec side indicators or side lights.    made sense.   factory built a lhd drive car with a rhd side of the road light set up as per japan?  914s were sold in J left hand drive.    interesting it was not english/euro spec.   i don't think we had a requirement on visible side indicators when that car came in, that was a little later i believe in late 70s or maybe even early 80s.

has airhead already worked that out re the side marker lights?   

the car had steel wheels and porsche hub caps when brian got hold of it.   he put the fuchs wheels on.

BC914.jpg

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