The first 25 years
Beginning in 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, styled 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, 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.l.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.
In June 1978 the Clan Crusader Owners Club was formed and held the first of many Clan gatherings at Donington Park. In 1985 the name was changed to The Clan Owners Club in order to welcome the owners of the two new versions that were being produced.
Current membership stands at approximately 200 with members and cars in the UK, Holland, Switzerland, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Each year the club, with the support of the members, attends various Classic car and Motoring events and holds regional meetings arranged by 6 area organisers.
The club produces a quarterly magazine and provides advice and assistance on vehicle maintenance. It can supply virtually any part needed to maintain, repair or restore an Imp based CLAN. Some parts are available for the Clover model. Many of the club's stock of spares are unobtainable from other sources and includes a large proportion of the original liquidation stock. A list is available from the spares secretary and is reissued annually.
The club operates a historical register in order to maintain a record of each car and keep the marque alive. Register/Club Historian: Jim McEwan
It also has its own regalia, e.g. T-shirts, sweatshirts, badges, keyfobs, etc.
For more information on the Clan Owners Club please contact the Membership Secretary:
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.
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.
In the meantime in Britain, the Crusader had been doing well as a competition car. Brian Luff who had been 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.
Some of the Clans successes include:
Other notable wins include:
The moulds from Brian Luff were eventually sold to Peter McCandless (a Clan enthusiast and the owner of an original Clan for many years) who started Clan Cars Ltd in Newtownards, Northern Ireland and took advantage of government development grants for the area.
Clan Cars re-vamped the Crusader now simply called the CLAN. It was now sold in three levels of kit form (basic, deluxe and complete) still using the Imp sport engine and major parts but now with fully retractable headlamps, moulded-in bumpers, glass sunroof and with the choice of two engine options from Hartwell. The 998cc engine producing 65 BHP in the 'E' version or 78 BHP for the 'S' version .
Although the actual number of cars produced is not known it is believed to be in the region of 120 road cars and 10 competition cars
A mid engined version was developed called the Clan Clover using the Alfa Romeo 1500cc flat four engine and gearbox, etc. It is believed that six kits were produced prior to the production of approximately 20 fully built cars. Subsequently Clan Cars ran into financial difficulties and receivership.
The company ceased trading in June 1987.
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.
Here's to the next 25 years!
|The above text is the brochure of the
Clan Owners Club / webmaster: Ron Murray
other web address
The Imp Site
Imp specials: the Clan
Clan Bibliography (by Jim McEwan, Club Historian)
Forgotten Dream Car. - Oldtimer/Droomauto 1987, February
Modified Clan 'Enigma'
Japanese Clan Fan Club