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The Delightfully Charming Crayford Mini Mojito

A coachbuilt classic Mini in "Jolly" style ready for the French Riviera

| By Robin Nooy | 5 min read |

Considering the fact we’re smack-bang in the middle of the summer season, it’s time to take a refreshing drive down to the beach. And what better type of car to do that, than with a Beach Car? We’ve touched upon the topic once before when we showed you the Meyers Manx, Renault 4CV Jolly, the Mini Moke and others. Cars that are perfectly suited for some fun in the sun, and sand if you wish. But, this is a drawback that puts some people off the idea of vintage cars, they come with the hassle of maintaining and fixing them, and probably on a more regular basis than your average daily driver. So how about if I told you there is a way to enjoy this Swinging Sixties lifestyle with a freshly built car? Yes, it’s possible thanks to the coach-built Crayford Mini Mojito, which also marks the return of the Crayford name.

The Mighty Mini

The classic Mini needs little introduction, as it is an absolutely legendary car. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and introduced in 1959, the Mini reshaped the idea of a compact car. The engine was mounted transversely, the wheels were pushed into the corners of the chassis and only the front wheels were driven, eliminating the need for a centre console through the cabin. The small car was large enough to fit four adults (or 27 if you’re up for a challenge) and some luggage and was amazingly nimble to drive.

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Thanks to a long list of A-list celebrities and surprising racing success, the plucky little Mini gained a cult-like status and became one of the most important cars ever made. Within just three years, a million Mini’s were sold and in its more than 40-year lifespan, almost 5.5 million cars were built. Even today, it remains a hugely popular car with a widespread industry to restore, maintain or customise your classic Mini whichever way you want to. There are even companies who can build you a fully resto-modded classic Mini with a six-figure price tag.

Crayford Engineering

The name of Crayford might not be as well-known to most of you as the classic Mini is, but it’s an important name in British coachbuilding history. Crayford was founded in the early 1960s and made a name for itself thanks to cars that turned heads the world over. Jeffrey Smith (engineering and design) and David McMullan (sales) were responsible for cars such as a cabriolet version of the Ford Capri, the Volkswagen Scirocco, and the Mini. And although the company hasn’t been as active as back in its heydays, it has recently been revived by a group of classic car enthusiasts and professionals with more than 70 years of combined experience in the field.

The first product to come out of the revived Crayford workshop is a truly fun little car; the classic Mini Mojito. This is built according to the Crayford standard of the early days as the company’s statement ‘to design and build cars that are unique, to redefine what’s possible when you harness devotion and innovation’ still holds up. And with the restomod industry booming, it makes perfect sense to pick up where Crayford left off.

The Mini Mojito

The Crayford Mini Mojito is reminiscent of the original Mini Beach car, a rare special edition of the classic Mini built by the Austin Motor Company to celebrate the car’s debut in the North American markets of the US and Canada. Only 15 were built, with no doors or B-pillars and wicker seats, much in the style of the Fiat 500 and Renaulf 4CV Jolly cars. In 2019, The Drive reported that one such original Mini Beach car sold for an astonishing USD 230,000 at auction, about the price of a 2023 McLaren Artura.

The Mini Mojito by Crayford follows the same recipe but gets a modern restomod makeover. It starts out as a regular Mk1 Mini which gets stripped, gutted and completely rebuilt to current standards by the Crayford team. The authentic charm of the Mini is kept intact, of course, but everything has been updated and upgraded. New front and rear subframes are installed, and it gets a fully rebuilt engine and gearbox, all-new braking and suspension systems, and much more. Every Mini Mojito can be customised to your specific desires, including modern amenities such as a Bluetooth stereo and navigation system, custom interior trim, non-standard exterior and interior colours and materials and much more. You can even opt for an all-electric drivetrain although personally, I would suggest ticking the Cooper box on the options list to give it some more oomph.

Crayford has opted for a nautical theme for the Mini Mojito with teak wood decking in the interior and handlebars that look like railings on a yacht for instance. The roof can be detached for a truly open experience when whizzing around in your Mojito. And if you’re into surfing, you can have a surfboard rack installed to make it even more fit for the beach. The interior is finished with top-quality leather upholstery, instead of the wicker seats the original Mini Beach car came with, but I’m sure Crayford can install them too if you want. Oh, and the wicker picnic set that can be stored in the small trunk is a must-have! It just looks perfect with the rest of the car.

Now, in terms of engines, there’s not much to communicate. As said, there is an EV option and a Cooper upgrade, which means a bigger engine of 1275cc instead of the original 850cc-1100cc engines. No word on power though, but that has never been the defining factor for the Mini. In true David vs Goliath fashion, it has always been about its low weight and go-kart-like handling and I’m sure this Mini Mojito provides similar amounts, if not more fun as the Mini Beach car did back in the early 1960s. I do expect it to be a costly dose of fun though, although starting prices remain a mystery for now.

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Editorial Note: The images with this article are provided by, and used with permission from Crayford Automobiles, or taken from our own archives.

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