Clan gathers to enjoy the Crusader spirit

Members of the Clan Crusader owners club held at rally  in Washington, birthplace of the small, sporty two seater. Pictured is club secretary, James Spencer.

Members of the Clan Crusader owners club held at rally in Washington, birthplace of the small, sporty two seater. Pictured is club secretary, James Spencer.

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CAR enthusiasts came from far and wide to celebrate the 40th birthday of a Wearside-built motor.

Fans of the Clan Crusader gathered in Washington to mark four decades of the fibreglass sports car.

It was made from 1971 to 1974 at the Crowther Industrial Estate.

However, only 340 road and 18 competition Clan Crusaders were made before production stopped.

Motorists from as far afield as Dorset and the north of Scotland journeyed to Washington for the event.

After meeting at the Holiday Inn hotel, they travelled in convoy to The Galleries shopping centre for a display.

James Spencer, secretary of the Clan Owners’ Club, said the turnout of Clan fans had left him happy.

He described the vehicle as “a wonderful British sports car”.

Mr Spencer said: “It’s been fantastic.

“It’s exceeded all my expectations and we’ve ended up with 46 cars at the Galleries.

“It was a wonderful event and it couldn’t have gone better.”

He said the celebrations had been “two years in the organising”.

“We are only a small club but we thought it was something worth doing.

“People have worked on their cars for months and months to be able to get themselves here.

“It was certainly well worth doing.

“I hope I am still driving a Clan at the 50th anniversary in 10 years’ time, if I’m still able to get in one that is.”

* The Clan Crusader was designed by a group of ex-Lotus engineers led by Paul Haussauer with styling by John Frayling.

The company was set up in 1969, and production started in small scale from July 1971.

From September of that year, official production began at a new factory in Washington set up with the aid of a Government grant.

Plans to re-resurrect the Clan surfaced in 2009, but nothing has come of the project so far.