Peter McCandles in a Clan
The tachometer needle nudges 7000. Up into third gear as fast as you can move your hand. Turbine-smooth power presses you into you seat again - and the road flicks right.
Turning the steering wheel no more than a few degrees, you do the same. A few degrees is all you need: the front tyres turn with pin-point precision and you power out of the bend with engine howling.
Somehow you expected the back to let go - the engine's behind you after all. But this car wouldn't do anything so coarse, not unless you want it to.
'What is he driving?', you ask, 'a Porsche? A Ferrari? A racing car?'
Actually, I'm driving a Clan. It's an Imp-powered, two-seater sports coupé and it's the nearest to a leather upholstered go-kart you'll get this side of civilisation.
Motor 1985, Jan. 5
The Clan Motor Co ltd., Washington, County Durham: Paul Haussauer and John Frayling (and others) left Lotus Cars (their opinion differed from Colin Chapman's; subject unknown?) to set up their own shop in 1969 and the Clan was the result. Haussauer had family in Switzerland to help him raise money.
Apparently the Clan Crusader was another car based on the Lotus M2 prototype. Near the Lotus Factory there was a hut were it was first produced by a group of former Lotus employees. Mr. Chapman was not bothered as he was focussed on bigger, more expensive cars.
Only 315 were made of the original Clan Crusader but many of these are still in existence. This model was first produced in 1971 by Haussauer (a former Lotus development engineer) and styled by Frayling. It's an all glass fibre monocoque (reinforced with steel), using the Imp Sport engine for its power unit (placed befor the rear axle).
The 875cc Sport engine gave a top speed of 101 mph.
When the Crusader proved to be too exensive for £1400, it was also sold as a kit. In 1973 the UK introduced Value Added Tax.
The only dealer outside the UK was in the Netherlands: Sports Cars International B.V. in The Hague. He had a Grand Opening on 20 and 21 July 1973.
Then the oil crisis came.
And tax increases.
November 1973 the firm had to let go all the personnel.
Later on, after the original company ceased trading, someone else started up in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. (see advert.)
The later version, simply called 'Clan' (or 'Irish' Clan as it was nicknamed) featured updates such as disc brakes. It had a leather interior (using a Fiesta dash), pop-up headlights and a 998cc Imp engine.
It was made for a few years until Spring 1987. Production ceased to make room for the Alfa Sud-powered Clan Clover.
The 'Irish' Clan always received a favourable press and interest was high. Plenty of potential buyers were disappointed by the decision to discontinue the superb little car.
Clan Cars ltd. went into liquidation July 1987.
The Clan is an excellent 'fun' car, as it cries out to be driven hard (topspeed 100mph). The handling is very crisp, the car is turning into the corners very well and has a back end which is almost unstickable, unless of course you lift off halfway round.
Compared to the G15 and the Davrian, the ride is is superior, only being hard at low speed and and smoothing out on high speeds.
May be electrics can give a problem. The car being glass fibre, chassis and exterior aren't earth.
Clan Owners Club
Historical Registrar Jim McEwan is trying to compile a comprehensive register of all Clans, including owners past and present. Information will be kept for reference only, in order to trace the history of each car. All letters will be answered.
5 Lacelles Close, Bolbeck Park, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire MK15 8QA
The Imp Club UK
Clan Crusader and 'Irish' Clan Model Registrar : Grahame Pearson
5 Wolsey Drive, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT2 5DP
Holds records of Imp Club members' Clans. Information stays inside The Imp Club.
first Imp Club register: Martyn Jones, 1981 - ....
Clan Owners Club
Dave Weedon, the chairman, has the early Irish moulds in co-ownership with Dave Excell. He wrote an article about how they went over to Ireland to get them in a lorry. He has made a few body shells and also makes the New Clan front ends.
Their Spares Scheme was open to Imp Club members - for a limited period, spares could be purchased at the Clan Owners Club's normal rates. - see if they still let you...
For a booklet listing all available spares and prices please send five 20p stamps (refundable on orders over £20) to the Clan Owners Club Spares Secretary:
Ray Wilks. 9 Faircroft Avenue, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield B76 8HQ
For more information on the Clan Owners Club, please contact the Membership Secretary:
Robin Siddall, 3 Church Mews, Church Street, Kingsteighton, Devon TQ12 3ST
photo taken by Nick Cleak at Castle Combe
(Classic & Sportscar Magazine Action day, Aug. '97)
Even an 875 Clan is quicker than a 998 Imp, all other engine parts being equal.
|Costs of a Clan in 1985|
bodyshell to road going or competition specification, both with integral roll over protection. Body finished in white primer, and supplied with hinged and fitted doors, dashboard and engine cover. Fitted laminated windscreen and aluminium door frames
|Additional items fitted to painted bodyshellto complete deluxe specification;|
rear screen, quarter lights and door windows;
pop-up headlight system, including actuators, mechanisms, headlights and relays, etc.
door fittings, including handles, latches, locks and window winders;
12-way fuse box, colour coded to British standard with all connectors and plugs;
carpets, headlining and trim panels;
heater controls, fresh air vents, switches and warning lights;
sidelight/indicator units and rear light units;
|Additional items available to complete car;|
Cupro nickel and flexible brake lines (fitted)
|Clutch pipe (fitted)||12|
|Petrol pipe (fitted)||7|
|Throttle cable (fitted)||8|
|Steering column complete with switches and cowl||94|
|Leather seats (each)||115|
|Fabric seats (each)||44|
|Replacements springs for road car (set)||52|
|Spax front adjustable shock absorbers (pair)||40|
|Spax rear adjustable shock absorbers (pair)||40|
|Front suspension wisbones (pair)||120|
|Rear suspension arms (pair)||170|
|Wolfrace Sonic wheels (each)||57|
|Compomotive CX wheels (each)||45|
|Pirelli P6 tyres (each)||48|
|Seat belts (pair)||52.50|
|14 inch Motolita steering wheel||44.50|
|'S' engine, complete with gearbox, water pump, alternator and radiator. New or remanufactured||POA|
|'E' engine complete as above. New or remanufactured||POA|
|Please note that 15% VAT should be added to the above prices|
|Prices for completed cars|
exempt from Type Approval in Northern Ireland, including car tax and VAT
|Clan 'S', new engine||7,411|
|Clan 'S', remanufactured engine||6,415|
|Clan 'E', new engine||7,038|
|Clan 'E', remanufactured engine||6,042|
|Clan Clubman rally car (less engine and box)||5,692|
|Clan Sprint racing car (less engine and box)||5,692|
The Netherlands (Dutch guilders):
New (1973): 12.950
State 1996 1998/1999
A - 2.000 2.500
B - 8.000 5.500
C - 12.000 9.000
Thoroughbred & Classic Cars Online Price Guide
A car of Status
January 1976 Hot Car wrote (p. 71): Remember the Clan Crusader? One of the nicest kit cars to die the death? Well you can get replica body parts up to and including a bodyshell for them from Brian Luff Ltd. -Status - 25 Western Road, Nazeing, Essex.
Clan Crusader autotest. - AutoCar 1971
The Clan Crusader! : luxury, performance, fantastic roadholding and style in a small sports coupé package from a new manufacturer / Clive Richardson; photos: Jasper Spencer Smith. - Cars & Car conversions 1971, Oct. - p.104-105
reprint: Impressions 1985, Dec.
Building a Clan Crusader. - Motor 1972 July 1
Building YPT5 59K
Raising the Clan. - Hot Car 1972, September
??? / ???; photogr.: Norman Hodson. - Car & Car Conversions? (later than the 1972 Tour of Mull). - pp.44-47
Clan Crusader MNX 3L (red, blue, white roof); A.S.M. Clan; yellow Clan LCU 831P
Louis Liddle of New Castle rallies in local events;
I don't have pages 45-46
Gathering of the Clans : one for the road... ...one for the lanes / Ian Sadler. - Autosport 1973 (?). - 2 pages
Reprinted in Impressions 4 (1984), 2/3 (Feb./March)
Road Impressions On the Clan Crusader... - Motor Sport 1973, January. - p.40
Clan Crusader: dwerg-GT op Imp-basis / door Hans Veldhuis en Rudolph Polvliet; foto's Ton Thies. - Autovisie 1973
Plastic dream machine / Paul Davies. - Cars and Car Conversions 10 (1973), October 10. - p.80-81, 83
We try a standard Clan at last. Testing CUP 5L
We like the Clan Crusader, but is the price of individuality too high?
Clan Crusader. - Thoroughbred & Classic Cars 1981, February. - p.42
Driving the Crusader & history of the company. 4 pages
Clan Crusader. - Classic & Sportscar 1983, Feb. - p.92
Clan-destine / Kevin Blicks. - Cars & Car Conversions 1983. - p.74-78
Not content with merely building kit cars for road and competition, Peter McCandles of Clan Cars wants to manufacture his own fully type approved mid-engined sports car.
Clans across the water / Sandor Ballago. - ??. - p.38-41
Counterfeit Clan? - Alternative Cars April 1983. - p.9
There has been a bit of a mess about the Clan 1983. Peter McCandless stated his company to be completely legal since 1980, and that the Clan design is not regsitered to Paul Haussauer. And the 83 Clan is registered in Peter McCandless' name.
In Chris Harvey's book on the Lotus, the Clan is mentioned as being on the Lotus drawing boards.
The great debate / Paul Hassauer. - Kit Car 198?
with picture of crash-tested Clan
Impetuosity ! - Classic & Sportscar 1984, March. - p.55
Comparing Ginetta G15 and Clan Crusader. 3 pages
Clan reborn. - Motor 1985, January. - p.18-20
Family car? : Irish Clan. - Sports Car Mechanics 1985, April. - p.56-60
Clan reborn / John Simister. - Motor 1985, 1 May
Clans across the water / Sandor Balago. - Kitcars and Specials 1985, June. - p.36-41
Testing the rally-prepared TIJ 3405 and TIJ 897 for the road with 'S' spec Hartwell prepared engine
Advert Clan Cars Ltd: p.48
Southern Imp Pact. - Your Classic 1991, April. - p.86
Article on people who use their Imp-powered cars (Ginetta G15, Clan Crusader and Mark Loosley's '76 Sunbeam Imp Sport) every day. 2 pages
Droomauto/ Dream car
Clan advertisement, 1983
|The Imp Site
Clan Crusader & 'Irish' Clan (this file)
Clan Owners Club
Clan Crusader folder, Dutch dealer
A modified Clan: 'Enigma'
Component Cars: restyled Clan
Imps in competition
Circuit of Ireland International Rally 1985
There's a car that looks very much Clan Crusader inspired to me: the McCoy 2+2 GT front-engined, mini-based monocoque. It may be the real McCoy, but it is no Imp.
The Clan Crusader is a fiberglass monocoque sports two-seater, powered by the Rootes Imp Sport engine, with suspension and mechanicals 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 July 1971. Five cars a week were being produced. 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 1974 the company and a large proportion of its assets were bought by Cypriot Truck manufacturer Mr. Andreas Kaisis. The parts sat for several years in Cyprus, but were then brought back to Britain by Ian Hopper, a colleague of Paul Haussauer and former Managing Director of Clan Motor Company.
Meanwhile 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 mold tool by using an existing Clan body shell. Brian was able to supply body shells, panels and windscreen glass to people re-building or scratch building cars, mostly for competition use.
In 1982 The molds 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. (taking advantage of government development grants for the area) Clan Cars updated 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 . The actual number of cars produced is not known but is believed to be in the region of 120 road cars and 10 competition cars according to the Clan Owner's club.
In 1985 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 folded in June 1987.