RIP Clive Wren of Convair fame

| 13 Nov 2013

Clive Wren, who has died aged 78, was one the brothers behind the small production manufacturer Convair in the 1950s.

With brother Terry, Clive was one of many to see the potential of new glassfibre technology and they set up business in their father's east London workshop in 1955.

Their Convair bodies were well received and soon Clive expanded into suspension upgrades and chassis modifications for the popular Ford chassis.

A number of clients commissioned bespoke chassis, which eventually led to Clive designing the Convair Chassis and the S-Type chassis.

The original racing car bodies mainly ended up in the hands of club racers and visiting US servicemen so Clive designed a harder wearing sports car body called the Excell in the hope of widening Convair’s appeal.

Some clients were not satisfied, though, and wanted a GT shell so they could enter the popular GT class of events. Clive responded by grafting an aerodynamic rear end on to the original racing car body thus creating the Convair GT.

The arrival of the Austin-Healey Sprite caused the brothers to rethink their ideas as they realised they could not compete with a mainstream manufacturer.

The brothers split the company into TWM (Terry Wren Motors) and Nordec taking a set of moulds each. Finally in 1962, they decided enough was enough and wound the business up altogether.

Terry was a keen club racer and had one of his Excells highly tuned and had some success with it. He also owned and raced a Cooper T45. Clive bought a Kieft 500cc racing car but after a few short test runs decided he was a far better engineer than driver and sold it on. 

In all they built about 70 racing car shells, 30 Excells and 6 Convair GTs, three of which still exist. One is in the Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford in Somerset.