Ex-Works Rally Clan Crusader LUP 62J
First registered in December 1970, LUP 62J was the prototype Crusader which, in order to contest the 1972 Manx International Rally, was converted to competition specification. This involved strengthening via an integral roll-cage and dispensing with anything that could not justify the weight!
Crewed by Andy Dawson and John Foden, and using the powerful Imp (Coventry Climax) engine loaned to Andy by Chrysler, his then employer; LUP 62J exceeded expectations by finishing second overall to the works Ford Escort of Roger Clark and Jim Porter. Watching from far-away Japan, and keeping in touch with UK motorsport via Motoring News, both as a reader and occasional contributor, Dave Williamson finished a tour of duty with Shell International in 1973. On his return to the UK Dave was keen to resume UK road rallying.
At that time, the Motoring News Championship was in its prime and the MK1 Escort proliferated. In order to get entries to major events, which were often over-subscribed, something a bit different was deemed to be necessary. A visit to the Clan factory in Washington New Town (as it was then!) confirmed a desire to purchase a new, rally prepared Crusader.
Shortly after returning from the visit, and whilst planning to write a specification for his new car, Dave received a call from Andy Dawson. He had heard via the grapevine of Dave’s intent and, with the blessing of the Clan Motor Company, offered LUP 62J at a very attractive price. Not only this, but as a car with very well documented history, the Clan was sure to catch the eye of rally organisers, and so it proved.
Usually, with the late Tony Straker as navigator, we were referred to as the crew in “the ex-works Clan” the “Dawson Clan” or the “Manx Clan” and enjoyed the attention! Operating on a low budget, bearing in mind the demands of family and, more particularly, the intention to enjoy the sport without the pressure to “win at all costs”, LUP 62J was in frequent use through the mid-1980’s until road rallying came under severe restrictions. At the same time the rally budget became the education budget which latter proved to be a more sensible use of resources!
Mothballed for a time (no problem with a fibreglass shell) LUP 62J re-appeared at the start of the Classic Rallying era via Norwich Union runs and then the very enjoyable scenic tours series. These events often use the prime rally routes of the 1970’s, but, of course, in daylight. Good job darkness hid some of the hazards of which we were blissfully ignorant when fighting to keep on our minute! At least the driver was uninformed – I imagine that Tony could see the contours but was not letting on.
The car is still in use and in excellent condition as a testament to the original build quality. My wife, Joan, has become a very competent navigator and has luckily had a life-long interest in motor sport. Combined age of car and crew is now 190 years. LUP 62J must have competed in about 250 events over the years of my ownership – what a good purchase in 1973. Anyone interested in more details and specifications is welcome to get in touch – we are always happy to talk Clan!