Regular readers may know that I have had 2 Clan Crusaders in my care, care as in they needed constant maintenance and attention. The Clan Crusader was a fibreglass monocoque constructed car powered by the Coventry Climax engine. This engine, all aluminium, was originally designed as a lightweight fire pump engine but was developed way beyond its original concept to power many different cars. This is a rather nerdy link to read more…
Clan Crusaders were based on the Hillman Imp using its subframes and running gear. Rear engined, it was 875cc and prone to overheating which in turn led to the head warping. This in turn would cause the head gasket to leak coolant into the engine. The repair necessitated skimming the head and block, not cheap.
The subframes were prone to rust, the electrics (due to a non metallic body) were a nightmare. The body had a tendency to crack and craze. The heater was poor and the air intake for the heater matrix was behind the offside front wheel; hit a puddle and the windscreen would instantly mist up.
This car was therefore my pride and joy (until I sold it!). Although the engine was small, even by todays eco standards, the car was extremely light, fast and economical. I lavished love and attention on it, mainly on repairs from the local garage.
It would be an understatement to say that I was a little miffed when I left the pub one evening to find that two ‘friends’ had lifted the rear of the car and put it on bricks! How they laughed as I tried to drive away. I had to walk the 200 yards home in a proper sulk.