During 1966, Heinz Foods commissioned Crayford Coachbuilders to convert 57 standard Wolseley Hornet saloon’s to be given away in a newspaper-based competition. The cars were painted in either Toga White or Birch Grey and were all registered in the series LLH-D. The most noticeable feature was the convertible rag top which originally was black but other quirky features included a radio, a pic-nic hamper with tartan rug and even a portable electric kettle. Without doubt the quirkiest feature was the fitment of an under dash slide out make-up tray supplied by Max-factor!

LLH845D had started life painted in Toga White but by the time Peter acquired the car it had been painted into Cherry Red and fitted with a matching Cherry Red rag top. When it arrived with us it was in a relatively unloved condition and it was apparent that a major strip down and re-build would be required. It was not clear whether or not the Engine actually ran as the vehicle had been off the road and stood for at least 25 years.

The Strip down commenced and it was revealed that an entire new front end would be required along with the front floor panels, Inner and Outer Sills (Which would prove to be very tricky to replace) and sections of the rear quarter panels too. Indeed, the Quarter panels would turn out to be a time-consuming job to restore as the original rear wings fitted to the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf have long since gone out of production. However, we set about the work and progressed along very well indeed.

Peter had also instructed us to fit as much extra body strengthening as we could along the way as the body on these Crayford conversions are notorious for movement when being driven. Crayford had installed strengthening sections into the Inner Sills when they chopped off the roof panels back in 1966 but apart from some channel sections crudely bolted to the Inner Wings and angle section bolted through the floor that was about the extent of the strengthening received. In addition to these original fittings, we welded in box sections into the cavity in between the Inner and Outer Sills. We re-instated the cant rail over the doors and blended it in with the body work. A further strengthening bar was installed into the boot area propping up the rear parcels shelf which had lost all its shape from the removal of the roof. Once the body build had been completed, we treated the body to a coating of Zinc primer and then sealed up everywhere that we could with polyurethane bonding sealant before applying body coloured Raptor to the underside of the vehicle.  

The body was repainted back into its original Toga White Colour Scheme. The original leather seats were sent away to Leathercare of Warrington who fully refurbished them for us. We fabricated and fitted a bespoke interior trim whilst a bespoke Woolen carpet was manufactured for the floor and boot board. The Engine and Gearbox were fully stripped down and rebuilt and on return the Engine was fully repainted. The Chrome Fittings were sent away for repair and re-chrome and when they were refitted, they really set off the finish to the car.

A bespoke hood in Mohair and to the colour choice of Peter was fabricated and fitted by Autotrim Merseyside. The whole car re-assembled looks stunning especially with the added touch of period Dunlop D1 alloy wheels.

Peter’s Crayford ‘Heinz Hornet’ Restoration Project - Gallery