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Carlton Carrera.

Somebody in 1985 sent a letter to Carlton Mouldings Limited, requesting information on their new kit-car, and this is what they got by return - a spec sheet, an order form, and the photograph seen here, of a two-tone Carlton Carrera parked in an anonymous car park, most likely in the Barnsley area of South Yorkshire. The firm was situated on the Carlton Industrial Estate on Albion Road, Barnsley.
The car shown doesn't sport a registration plate, but perhaps someone better versed than I on kit-car matters recognises this example, and knows of its fate? There are a number of styling cues going on here, not least the E-Type(ish) proportions and the Jaguar's forward-tilting front end, with a sprinkling of Datsun 280ZX thrown in for good measure. I'm surprised that a certain German firm didn't take umbridge with the use of the Carrera name, while the sizeable rear spoiler is reminiscent of that fitted to 911 Turbos back in the day. For an eighties' car, it doesn't look bad from this distance, certainly compared to some of the dreadful kits that had been on the market during the years prior to the Carrera's launch. As with any home-built car though, the devil is in the detail, and only getting hands-on with a fibreglass kit, not just the Carrera but a product of any kit-car manufacturer, gives the full story of how good or bad it really is.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
A Carlton Carrera sportscar
The photocopied sales flyer accompanying the photo, gives the reader a clear picture of what they'd be taking on if they signed on the dotted line. It was issued in August 1985:

The ultimate dream machine has finally arrived -
THE NEW CARLTON "CARRERA"

An all new and exciting 3 door sports coupe based on the ubiquitous Cortina Mark 3, 4 and 5.
The kit features a forward hinging bonnet assembly combined with both inner and outer wings. Two intake scoops, mounted symmetrically on the bonnet draw in fresh air for the car's internal ventilation system. An intricate moulding provides the underbonnet air ducting which is directly linked to the heater box. The main body shell is a one piece moulding providing a sealed bulkhead and rear floor section. A steel roll-over cage is moulded into the body shell and carries the seat belt mounting points. The doors are completely GRP mouldings mounted onto steel posts and housing Capri window winding systems on pillarless frames. The doors carry two steel tubes for support and side impact protection. The rear tailgate is again a one piece moulding housing an MGB GT rear window.
The body is aerodynamically efficient having subtle curves along with styled spoilers and side skirts to enable it to cut a clean path through the air. The chassis is of deep box section construction having additional "back-bone" type rails to provide a very high degree of torsional rigidity. The chassis extends the full length and width of the car giving superb front, rear and side impact protection.
Other engine options would be offered later, but initially the builder would have to source donor running gear from a Ford Cortina. The windscreen was from a Capri, as were the side windows. The MGB GT provided the rear window, while a Mk2 Escort would donate front indicator units, the rear lamps were from a Manta or Cavalier Coupe. The headlamps were the usual 7" Lucas units, as found on so many British cars, going back to the 1940s.
Two versions of the Carrera were offered, one a 2+2 (using Cortina front and rear axles), or the full 4-seater, which utilised a Jaguar rear end, with the option of using either Cortina or Jaguar front suspension. Optional extras included a glass or "extra large" sunroof, and gas struts for the tailgate and the bonnet. Apparently a convertible version would also go on to be offered.
It appears that several hundred Carreras were sold, but of those how many kits were actually completed? And of them, how many remain, several decades later?
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