Friday, 20 January 2017

1961 Fairthorpe Special for Auction on February 4th



Fieldings Auctioneers will be selling a unique Fairthorpe `Special` on February 4th, the car is built around a 1961 Fairthorpe Electron Minor Mk1, the original body seems to have been disposed of many years ago and an aluminium tourer type body made and fitted. The car retains the Fairthorpe running gear including Standard Ten front suspension, it has been fitted with disc brakes on the front and a Triumph steering rack, the wishbones have all been drilled for lightness.


The engine appears to be a 948cc Triumph or Standard ten unit with twin SU carbs, the car is registered as a Fairthorpe, and has an enamel Fairthorpe badge on it`s nose. The conversion appears to have been quite well done from the photos I have seen but it has obviously been standing for a while so would need recommissioning before use.




Fieldings website is at http://fieldingsauctioneers.co.uk/auctions for contact details and more information. The Fairthorpe Sports Car Club hold the original Electron Minor moulds should the auction winner wish to return the car to it`s original body shape.

Fairthorpe Engine rebuild begins ....... 12 months later than planned!


This time last year I removed the 1300 Spitfire engine from 789 ERO as it had head gasket failure and very high oil consumption, the engine just seeing out the last club event of the year with several stops along the way to top up the water which was entering no 3 cylinder and causing the car to run rough. The idea was to build up the replacement engine which had been lightened and balanced over the winter so it was ready for the spring............then things got turned on their head when we made the decision to move house. That move took up most of last year, first there was work needed to finish the then current house so we could market it and get the best possible price, this paid off and we were able to get more than the asking price as two couples battled it out to buy it. We ended up moving in with family for several months while the purchase of our new house went through so everything including cars was put on hold and in storage. Due to my working away from our new home until my transfer came through at the end of November nothing happened on my Fairthorpes last year so I intend to make up for lost time in 2017!
First job is to get the replacement engine rebuilt and in 789 so it is useable for the coming events, I would like to also use the Fairthorpe for a few AutoSolos once the engine has been run in. So I togged up in plenty of warm gear today to get the pistons fitted on to the con rods, these had been lightened and balanced over a year ago and were still all wrapped in their boxes. Upon removing them I found the odd spot of surface rust, lesson one here is I should have unwrapped it all and oiled or greased it to offer a bit more protection from any dampness in the air. I thought the wrapping would suffice for a month or so, but they ended up being stored a lot longer than anticipated! I gently removed the rust spots with some 800 wet and dry used with some oil then washed everything in the parts cleaner before drying.  The pistons have to be fitted into the cylinder bores with the arrows on the crowns facing forward and the bearing caps on the con rods facing the camshaft side of the cylinder block so when assembling you have to be careful that everything is assembled the right way round! Due to the workshop being so cold at the moment (no heating - 3 degrees outside) the gudgeon pins were reluctant to fit into the pistons so a handy trick is to put the alloy pistons into very hot water which makes them expand in relation to the pins so that is what I did.

The gudgeon pins and small end bearings in the rods were oiled up and the piston removed from the hot water, dried then oiled where the pin fits, the pins, rods and piston then pushed together much easier, don`t forget the pin circlips, one is fitted per piston before the pin is pushed in, the other added once the pin and con rod are in place. The cylinder block was painted a few weeks ago in Black as the previous engine was in BL Green which led many a casual under bonnet browser to think that it was an A series engine. The block had been in a steam clean machine at the machine shop when the work was all done all that time ago but having had a good look at it today I have put it in the parts washer as tomorrows job to give it a through clean inside to remove anything the machine shop missed. Once that is done I shall be fitting the piston / rod assembly to the block, I will update the blog at that point.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

You don`t always have to polish the car to pick up an award!

                                                  https://twitter.com/candscmagazine
Just over a week ago my wife and I trailered our Fairthorpe Atom Major over to the NEC for the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show as the car was being put on the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club stand for the weekend. We took the car over on the Thursday evening as the show opened on the Friday morning, we even had an offer to buy it whilst we were unloading it! The interest continued and we had to be pushed out the doors when the halls closed at 10pm as two guys would not leave the stand, having walked all the way round the show halls they had decided that our car was the one they wanted the most, `not the prettiest styling` they said but it just had `something really appealing about it`. Unfortunately due to work on Friday and a commitment in London on Saturday I could only attend the show on the Sunday but having got in from London mid Saturday evening I had just sat down when the phone rang. The call was from the FSCC club stand organiser Andy Winston who was still at the NEC, apparently he had been invited to attend the awards gathering by the organisers, he arrived just in time to pick up a nice trophy plate which had been awarded to the Atom Major! The organisers had awarded a freshly restored Maserati Ghibli the `Car of the show` award and other main presentation was the Classic & Sports Car `Special award` which was presented to the Fairthorpe Atom Major, this is given to the car which `steals the judges hearts`. The club stand was very busy on the Sunday and again a lot of interest was shown in the car, several asking if it was for sale and several telling me not to restore it but just leave it as a time capsule! Sorry to disappoint but it will get restored and used, a couple of people kept coming back again and again to look round it, I still don`t know if it was just the `Barn find` condition or the quirky styling that was the appeal or maybe just a combination of the both, whatever it definitely created a stir and hopefully some good publicity for the club. I will be starting the strip down and rebuild in the new year so keep an eye open for updates.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

1960 Fairthorpe Electron Minor project for sale.

        

1960 Fairthorpe Electron Minor Mk2 project for sale, fully rebuilt chassis, only needing a few supplementary brackets making and attaching. All body panels there apart from one floor pan and tunnel cover, includes a new bulkhead (moulded some years ago but unused), new floor pans and tunnel cover can be ordered through the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club. Rear axle is from a Ford Escort and has been modified to a 5 link system, front suspension is Triumph Spitfire, now employing Spitfire turrets on the chassis, axle and suspension will require restoration.


The chassis has been bracketed to take a Ford Pre Crossflow or Crossflow engine (not included), I was going to rebuild this as a fast road / track day car but due to change of plans it is now for sale. The car has an old style Green logbook with an interesting number and I will include a years membership to the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club in the sale price. Only selling due to a new restoration project (see last blog post!)Would make an nice winter project for someone, car is near Spalding in Lincolnshire and can be viewed by arrangement.
                                     Offers over £2000
                  For more information call Martin on 07952930042.





Tuesday, 11 October 2016

And then there were two, Fairthorpe Atom Major awakes from 40 year hibernation.

 
I am in the lucky position of owning a number of Fairthorpes but have always hankered after an Atomota or Atom Major, both cars share a common body shell, only differing in the size of the engine hatch. The Atomota was produced first and was fitted with a 650cc BSA Motorcycle engine mated to a Standard 8 or 10 car gearbox, the suspension, brakes and axle were also from the Standard 10. It was later decided to offer the car with the option of a Standard 10 engine, this necessitated a larger engine hatch for the 4 cylinder 948cc engine. The chassis differed slightly between the two models as well, apart from the changed engine mounts the main structure over the axle at the rear was all a different shape, I will post some pictures of the differences in a future blog post. Only a small number of both models were produced, Fairthorpe customers preferring the open sports cars on offer, particularly the Electron Minor of which up to 650 were produced, mostly as kits. As so few were produced the survival numbers are very small with two Atomotas which require a lot of work to return them to the road and up until last month only one Atom Major was known to have survived. Details of Brian Water`s car can be found a number of pages back in this blog, Brian has had his car for a number of years and is currently restoring the car back to it`s former glory.
 
Last month the number of surviving Atom Majors suddenly doubled when one came out of a 40 year hibernation from a long forgotten garage that was so overgrown that it took 3 days to clear a way through to retrieve the car and clear the rest of the contents! I was contacted by Ian Makepeace and a deal was struck to buy the car, the following week I made the long trip down to Bristol to meet Ian and pick the Fairthorpe up. Ian had some great memories of the car, having driven it as a 14 year old round the family property with friends and the family dog in the back. This fun came to an abrupt halt once all the fuel in the tank had been exhausted as his father then refused to put any more in as he was concerned about the thought of them being tempted to drive it out onto the road. So the car was pushed into the garage and the door shut, the year was 1973...........
 
 

 This Atom Major was produced in 1959 and the Fairthorpe chassis records show it as the first one made, it also has some racing history having taken part in the 1959 Autosport 3 hour race driven by Chris Meek, the engine was fitted with a Supercharger for the event, sadly Chris passed away earlier this year. John Allan`s Fairthorpe book also mentions John Green racing one with a Supercharger at Silverstone, how many were fitted with a Supercharger, possibly only this one so maybe there is more competition history to be discovered? The pictures of the car at Snetterton can be viewed at:- https://revslib.stanford.edu/?page=2&q=Fairthorpe&utf8=%E2%9C%93
The Fairthorpe looks just as you would expect any `barn find` that had lain untouched for 40 odd years, a large layer of dust and many, many cobwebs, particularly under the bonnet which has the 948cc engine fitted with twin S.U carbs.



The Atom Major will be on the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club stand at the NEC Classic Car show in early November and will be displayed in as found condition, the restoration of the car will commence in the New year and will be covered in this blog so please check back in future.


Thursday, 6 October 2016

Fairthorpe Electron Minor wins the 2016 Classic Hill Climb Championship Sports Car class.


FSCC club member Chris Jones has just won the Sports Car class in the 2016 Classic Hill Climb Championship, leaving it until his final run at the last round at Prescott to take the top spot in his Electron Minor LWN 920F, this Fairthorpe has a long history of competition over the years including Autotests, Autocrosses and plenty of circuit racing. Chris has made a number of videos during his Hill climb and Sprint runs this season, they can be accessed on Youtube, the latest one is from Curborough  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR2ek0abvUc  the others can be clicked on once this one has been viewed. Congratulations Chris, keep up the good work in 2017.
 
 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Barn find Fairthorpe Electron Minor surfaces at the Fairthorpe Gathering.


John Worthings barn find Electron Minor UNT 760 has created a lot of interest since he brought it along to this years Fairthorpe Gathering at RAF Twinwood Farm in early August. John heard about the car two years ago when talking to his cousins husband Rob, the car was Rob`s uncles and was left behind when he went to the USA , he simply left it in the barn. Rob and his brother played on the car when they were kids and he's owned up to being the ones who broke off the doors and pulled the bits off the engine, that possibly explains why he is now an engineer on hitech tractors.
 


 
After Rob`s mum died they had to sell the property so the Fairthorpe had to be found a new home and John managed to buy the car after a price was agreed with Rob`s brother who lives in Switzerland. Handily the car was only 15 miles away from John`s home in south Shropshire. He has been a very busy guy since the Fairthorpe Gathering and has stripped the car, rebuilt the chassis and it is currently at the shot blasters getting cleaned up before work starts again!  I am sure there will be plenty of updates in the future from John so I will keep you updated.




 
An interesting find on the car was a dusty pair of women's tights which were holding one of the Wind tone horns in place, i`m sure that was an interesting trip when the need for their new use was required!





 

Monday, 22 August 2016

2016 Fairthorpe Gathering report.



This years Fairthorpe Gathering returned to it`s usual date of the first Sunday in August after last years date switch to take in the AutoSolo event, this provided us with a nice sunny day but with plenty of wind to keep us cool. This year the venue was RAF Twinwood Farm in Bedfordshire, American Band leader Glenn Miller left here aboard a Norseman aircraft on December 15th 1944 and disappeared over the English Channel without a trace, his disappearance still a mystery. On site the control tower has been restored as a museum to the famous Band leader and various other small museums use more of the war time buildings on the site which kept club members busy when they fancied taking a breather from talking about the cars.




Nine Fairthorpes assembled on the day from various parts of the UK, The list (in no particular order) were, WEW 707 (Brian Townsend), MMC 121J (Barry Stock), CSL 674 (Bob Balding), 4497 UB (Richard Holden), HSV 270 (Ray Starkey), 789 ERO (Martin Collins), UNT 760 (John Worthing), UNJ 203 (Brian Jackson) and BBD 496B (Rob James). Also Brian Waters kindly brought along the engine hatch from his Atom Major restoration, this has become a fixture of the recent Gatherings with a different part each year, I am now trying to guess which parts we will see next year, keep em coming Brian! Several other owners and club members attended, Graham Mitchell has recently acquired the ex Freddie George EM, as this requires a full rebuild he arrived in a very low mileage MG Midget, Dave and Gillian Malins arrived in their unique Tornado Tempest. A couple of EM`s were very close to making the event but running out of time to get ready were those of Alan Green and Mike Bridge, both were eagerly awaiting the chance to drive their cars on the road in the near future. It was also nice to see Multiple TX owner Gary Davis along, I am looking forward to seeing his Rover V8 powered car once it is completed. Amongst other members present were our club President Barry Gibbs and wife Honor, David Green with his son, Dave Bumstead and Anna and Derek Bentley. Unfortunately I was so busy chatting during the day I have probably missed some people off the list so apologise to you if I haven`t noted you here!
As usual there were two main awards up for Grabs and as expected the Furthest travelled award was contested between the `usual suspects`, Richard Holden and Barry Stock. The winner of this award is usually one of these two hardy owners who show dedication beyond the call of duty in travelling to the event year after year in all weathers, your effort is greatly appreciated guys. Richard`s mileage was 150 whilst Barry clocked up 211 miles, that is just to get there, at the end of the day they turned round and had that distance again to get home. Congratulations to Barry, this years recipient of the John Green Trophy.


This years Best Fairthorpe award was a hotly contested affair with a 3 way tie which caused a bit of head scratching, luckily three people were still holding onto their voting slips and were seemingly oblivious to the problem that was looming! Once they were handed in there was a single car which emerged on top, the winner being Brian Townsend, this years recipient of the Frank Collins Memorial Trophy, well done Brian.


Unusually we actually had a third trophy winner this year as it was decided to present John Worthing with one as he had trailered his `Barn find` EM to the event having only bought it two weeks previous and joined the club the week before the event. He had resisted even giving it a wash to show the as found condition before starting the strip down and rebuild, we were all interested to see that one of the cars horns was only held on by a very dusty pair of tights, I bet that was an interesting trip!



All in all, a great Fairthorpe day which everyone seemed to enjoy, I makes it all worth while to see so many owners and ex owners in deep conversation about the cars. I would also like to thank my long suffering wife Sarah for her help with the event and producing the various cakes which were eagerly consumed by people on the day . I can assure those that were not finished went to a good cause (me).
I hope to meet many (if not all) of you again at next Years Fairthorpe Gathering, the venue will be the Bubblecar Museum near Boston in Lincolnshire http://www.bubblecarmuseum.co.uk/
The date will be Sunday 6th August, I am hoping to have a Saturday convoy event as well to some of the local places of interest for those that wish to make a weekend of it. The museum have a very nice camping field for those with motor homes or tents and I will be providing a list of local B&B`s for those who prefer a bit more comfort, so make sure you put it in your diary.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

FAIRTHORPE GATHERING THIS COMING SUNDAY 7TH AUGUST.


Well this years Gathering is nearly here, now less than a week away and I`m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be fine on the day, it looks promising at the moment. Full details of the event can be found in the previous blog post below, one omission is the start time, Twinwood tell me the gates will be open at 10.30am so no need for a crack of dawn start unless you are one of the hardy Fairthorpe owners who will be in the running for the Furthest travelled award on the day! I hope to meet many old friends and owners on the day, if you have an interest in Fairthorpes you are welcome to come along and join us............

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

2016 FAIRTHORPE GATHERING at RAF TWINWOOD FARM 7th August.

                                                  
               Some of the Fairthorpes at the 2014 Gathering at RAF Wyton

This years Fairthorpe Gathering will be on Sunday 7th August at RAF Twinwood Farm in Bedfordshire (MK41 6AB).  Twinwood Farm is probably best known as being the take off airfield for Glenn Miller`s fateful last flight which disappeared over the English Channel in December 1944, his disappearance remains an unsolved mystery to this day. The aerodrome control tower has been restored and is now the Glen Miller museum, Other buildings house different displays including:
Twinwood Aviation Museum - featuring uniforms and artefacts recovered from German and Allied aircraft crash sites, as well as British aviation units and life in Britain during the war.
Rooms of a 1940s family home
Axis Museum - recreation of a German bunker, Russian and German artillery and weapons, and a display about Winston Churchill and the British Royal Family
Fire Service Museum - recreated 1940s wartime fire station with uniforms, equipment and vehicles
Displays of military vehicles
Entry to the museums is £4 per person and visitors to the site are asked to pay for museum entry on arrival, tea, coffee and cakes / crisps are available to purchase, we will be bringing some of Sarah`s infamous Fairythorpe cakes  and some light refreshments. There will be the usual awards for the Best Fairthorpe as voted by those present and The furthest travelled Fairthorpe to the event. Usually 12-15 Fairthorpes attend the Gathering as well as a number of previous owners  All are welcome!
Twinwood museum website which has directions to the site can be found here:-
http://www.twinwoodevents.com/museums/
This Wiki page also gives a good history to the airfield and is worth a look :-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Twinwood_Farm
Hope to see as many Fairthorpes as possible, there are a number of cars returning to the road this year, trailered cars are of course also welcome...............Martin

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Brian`s Fairthorpe, coming to an event near you?


Fairthorpe owner Brian Jackson has been putting a few miles on his car this year already as he has taken the car to a number of events in the last few weeks. Brian`s Electron Minor is fairly rapid as he fitted a Triumph Dolomite Sprint engine a number of years ago and he used it for Sprints, Hill climbs and Autotests for many years with great success. He kindly sent me a couple of pictures taken in the past few weeks, the one at the top of the page was taken Outside Coventry Transport museum at their breakfast club on 9 April. They hold these each month from 9:00 till 11:00. Just park up, have a coffee at Esquires, & look around the museum. The one below was taken at Prescott Hill climb at the Rotary club day on 15 May.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Fairthorpe for restoration on Ebay, good restoration project, would make ideal Historic race car





The car is well known in the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club being owned by a long time club member who is now unfortunately in ill health so has reluctantly decided to part with the car. The owner used the car in Autotests and similar events back in the 80`s as well as daily transport.


The Fairthorpe was parked up on his drive many years ago under a tarp and has not been moved since so will need a full strip down and restoration. These cars are as simple as they come to work on and make great starter classics, the body doesn`t rot as it`s fibreglass and the ladder frame chassis is easy to repair once the bolt on bodyshell is removed. This Electron Minor is an ideal basis for a Historic race car and is eligible for a number of different championships.



The club holds all the moulds for this mark of EM and all the mechanical parts are available through the usual suppliers or on Ebay. Here is a link to the excellent Fairthorpe club http://www.fairthorpescc.com/