It is already the oldest continuous builder of racing cars in the United Kingdom and now the Crossle company is set for a new chapter in its history.
Set up over half a century ago by John Crossle and his wife Rosemary and led for the past 15 years by former Irish Formula Ford champion Arnie Black, Crossle Cars has been taken over by oil company executive Paul McMorran.
Originally from Belfast, McMorran has spent more than 30 years working in the oil industry around the world but is now coming home and has taken control of the company from Black and the Crossles.
“I’ve just finished a 10 year contract in Russia and am moving my family back to Northern Ireland,” explained McMorran whose interest in the Crossle company has been fanned by years of racing their cars in historic Formula Ford championships all across Europe.
“Historic motor racing continues to grow in popularity and Crossle, with over 50 years of continuous manufacture, has a very special place in that history.
“The company continues to provide an unbroken link between the people who designed and built Crossle cars here in Northern Ireland, and the many enthusiasts who continue to enjoy them worldwide.
“It is an iconic company with a famous past, a unique position in the market today, a great team of people and, I believe, a very bright future,” he said.
That future includes the continued development of its latest S9 sports car, and an expansion into new markets, as well as providing support for the hundreds of Crossle owners who still race their Formula Fords all over the world.
“There are many countries, like Russia, where the economy is booming and there are people who have disposable incomes looking for ways of enjoying their leisure time,” said McMoran.
“I know from my own experience racing is a very enjoyable way of doing this.
“And I hope to put Crossle at the forefront using the latest marketing techniques.”
McMorran already had an impressive collection of historic Crossles including the original 12F that boosted exports by winning the US Formula B championship in 1968 and the unique 1970 17F Formula 3 car originally raced by John Watson, Northern Ireland’s five-time grand prix winner.
Now McMorran owns the factory, too.
It is still situated at the Crossle farm at Rory’s Wood on the outskirts of Holywood where more than 1000 racing cars have been built, the vast majority of them going overseas to Europe and especially America.
Almost everyone who is anyone in motor racing has driven a Crossle in the past, from Nigel Mansell to Eddie Jordan who took time out from preparing to commentate on this weekend’s American F1 race in Austin to phone McMorran and the Crossle team at yesterday’s handover announcement.
“I’m delighted to hear the Crossle company and the Crossle name is in safe hands,” said Jordan.
“It has a unique place in the history of Irish motor racing and there are literally hundreds of drivers all across the world who will be forever grateful to the engineering genius of John Crossle.”