The Clan Crusader
The Beginning – 1971
The Clan Crusader is a fibreglass monocoque sports two-seater, powered by the Rootes Imp Sport engine, with suspension and main running gear from the same manufacturer. The Crusader was originally conceived by a group of Lotus engineers in the late ’60s. Paul Haussauer formed the Clan Motor Company and developed a prototype vehicle with the assistance of Brian Luff. The styling for the Crusader was by John Frayling.
Initial production of the first few cars started in a nursery factory in Washington, Tyne-and-Wear. They were completed and registered by July 1971. A purpose built factory unit was leased, taking advantage of government grants designed to improve employment in the area.
By the official start of production, in September 1971, five cars a week were being produced. This continued despite the coal miners’ strike the next winter, the knock on effect of which caused supply problems. This prevented, to some extent, the growth of production, the factory being capable of four times this throughput.
Approximately 350 cars were built by Clan Motor Company including 19 specifically for competiton use. Some at the beginning being sold in component form, i.e. bodyshell fully trimmed, all wiring, glass and piping fitted. (in the same way as Lotus Elans) to beat the 25% purchase tax. With the advent of VAT, component kits were dropped. In May 1972 the Crusader was successfully crash tested at M.I.R.A.
Production ceased in late 1973 due to the company’s financial difficulties, even though sales were still good. Several finished and part-finished cars were sold after the company’s closure.
1974 – 1981
The company and a large proportion of its assets were bought by Cypriot Truck manufacturer Mr. Andreas Kaisis. The stock and body moulds were shipped to Cyprus. Unfortunately the Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus prevented the resumption of Clan production on the island.
In the meantime in Britain, the Crusader had been doing well as a competition car. Brian Luff who was involved in the Crusader’s early development produced a new mould tool by using an existing Clan body shell. Brian was able to supply body shells, panels and windscreen glass to people rebuilding or scratch building cars, mostly for competition use. Brian stopped building shells in 1981.
The parts languished for several years in Cyprus before being brought back to Britain by Ian Hopper, a colleague of Paul Haussauer the ex M.D. of Clan Motor Company.
A new company ‘Clan Marketing’ was formed in the early 1980’s their aim was to re-introduce the Clan and develop the car for the 80’s and beyond. Two of the original unfinished cars that were shipped to Cyprus were returned and completed.
Initially making shells to take the engine from the Imp sport the company also produced a series of development shells and cars that were suitable for a range of engines including the Ford XR2, Peugeot 205, Fiat X1/9 and the Talbot Samba, approximately 10 were produced for the Imp sport.
Development work on a new Clan using a Peugeot engine continues. (see also ‘Present Day’ below)
The Imp based mould tools from the Northern Ireland operation were purchased by two prominent Clan Owners Club members, Dave Excell and Dave Weedon. The “two Daves” can supply any fibreglass part from a small repair panel to a complete bodyshell.
Advanced Composite shells are available for the competition orientated owner.
Two newer versions are under development the first using a 1300cc engine (rear mounted) with 5 speed gearbox and the second with an 1800cc engine (mid-mounted) with 5 speed gearbox. Both versions feature dual circuit brakes with disks front and rear.