John Watson racing the 17F in a Formula Libre race at Mondello Park in March 1970, he finished second to a F2 Crosslé 18F.


John Crosslé has been building cars in Holywood, near Belfast, since 1957 and is Ireland’s longest-established racing car manufacturer by some distance. The Crosslé Car Company has built cars for many formulae including F2, F3, F5000 and Sports Cars however it is in the Ford based classes that it has been the most successful. Their first car was an 1172 Ford Special produced in 1957, the first single seater was the 4F intended for use in Formula Junior or 1172cc racing. The chassis that would bring the Crosslé name to the forefront of motorsport was the Leslie Drysdale designed F Ford 16F, Gerry Birrell took the European championship in his car and over 40 cars were built and sold. Following this success Crosslé would produce large numbers of very competitive, and successful, FF1600 and FF2000 chassis.


In September 1966 Gerry Corbett entered a Crosslé in a race at Castle Combe but failed to finish, it was a similar story at Brands Hatch in October. It is likely that this was a 6F, Crosslé built three of these cars in 1964, two in 1172 specification and one in F3 guise, although it seems no F3 races were undertaken. A further four models were built in 1965, three for local racing and one to American Formula C rules. The 6F was a conventional spaceframe design although the rear suspension was unusual for the time in using a combination of wishbone, transverse link and hub carrier.


In 1970 Crosslé announced the 17F, a slim space framed car with conventional suspension, with drivers such as Gerry Birrell, Brian Nelson and John Watson mentioned as possible pilots but plans were shelved due to lack of development time and the car never left Ireland. Norman Moffett practised a Crosslé 17F for a non-championship race at Crystal Palace in June 1971 but withdrew before the race and he also took part in the non-championship race at Kirkistown in July. In 1973 the 26F, a derivative of the F2 22F was again announced but it didn’t seem to race, so Crosslé’s flirtation with F3 was brief and sadly unsuccessful.


1966 Gerry Corbett.

1967 Nick Corbett, John Pringle.

1971 Norman Moffett.

The 6F in 1172 spec.
Brian Nelson winning a libre race at Mondello Park in August 1970, by now the 17F had grown wings.