Crayford Club set to lift the lid on Mini drop tops at NEC

Heinz 57

The Crayford Convertible Car Club is set to showcase six of the rarest Minis in the world at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show held at Birmingham’s NEC , 11-13 November.

Turn the clock back 50 years, to 1966 – England would win the World Cup and the first episode of Star Trek was set to crackle on to TV screens. Meanwhile at your local green grocers, Heinz, purveyors of Baked Beans, ketchup and tomato soup were trying to tempt shoppers with the chance to win a 

Mini, but not just any Mini, Heinz were offering up one of 57 convertible Wolseley Hornets. 

Crayford had made a name for themselves with their convertible Minis, but Heinz wanted something exclusive and so the Hornet was chosen as the base car with Crayford agreeing not convert the Hornet for anyone else. 
The Hornet was the British Motor Corporation’s posh Mini – it boasted a unique front end with a large chrome grille, complete with illuminated ‘Wolseley’ badge that lit up with the car’s headlights. At the back, the Mini’s flat boot grew two fins and more luggage space. Inside, it featured plenty of wood and leather, putting it in another league compared to the utilitarian Austin and Morris Mini. 

The ‘Heinz Hornets’, finished in ether Toga White or Birch Grey boasted a unique interior that boasted storage for food, a plug and kettle point, a picnic hamper and two insulated rear picnic cabinets, a radio and even a built-in make up kit from Max Factor.  

The competition began in the new year of 1966 and proved hugely popular, with over a million people entered the competition, and almost all of the winners were women. 

With only 57 ever produced, the Heinz cars have been well cared for with 40 having survived since ’66 – less than half of those remain in the UK and on the road, and six of them will be united by the Crayford Convertible Car Club at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show.


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