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


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


               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:-
This Wiki page also gives a good history to the airfield and is worth a look :-
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/

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A New Year- A New colour, This Fairthorpe turns Red.

Some of you will remember the electric blue EM i had a couple of years ago, it was registered HSV 270, after I sold the Fairthorpe it passed through a couple of owners before being bought by current owner Ray Starkey. Ray has done a lot to the car since purchasing it including fitting disc brakes to the front of the car, over the last six months the bodywork crazing has been sorted out and the car is  in the finishing phase of a respray and a change of colour to Red.

Previous to the Blue the car was Green, over the years a number of Fairthorpes have gone through a coat of many colours, it is interesting stripping the paint back to reveal what has gone before.

Ray say`s `The car was originally red gel. Paul and Darren at Brackmills Body Repair have done a fantastic job on the body and matching the original colour`

Ray has now completed the rebuild and has got the Fairthorpe back on the road, nice job Ray...........

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Early American Fairthorpe restoration nears completion.

Ralph Jannelli has posted a walk around  video on Youtube of his Fairthorpe EM restoration, the car is now nearing completion with the first engine run due in the next couple of weeks, the seats are now away being retrimmed in Tan. The choice on colour has been made and the bulkhead has been painted British Racing Green in the engine bay area so that the engine doesn`t have to come out again once the main bodyshell is painted. Hopefully Ralph will post some more pictures once the car is painted up and finished. The video can be found at:-

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Fairthorpe revived after 30 year slumber!


Clive Weelen has sent me some updated pictures of his Fairthorpe EM rebuild which is now making large strides towards returning to the road after an absence of over 30 years. My last update on the car can be found on a June 2013 post on this blog, you can see how far the car has come on since then. Clive is pushing himself towards the goal of having it on the road by sometime in June, hopefully by then we will have some sunshine for him to enjoy the open top motoring experience!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Fairthorpe Pathfinder V8 gets a refresh. (Updated)

                                                         Pathfinder  Respray in progress

Stephen Griffiths has kindly sent me some pictures of his Rover V8 engine Fairthorpe Pathfinder which has just had a respray in 1970`s Ford Daytona yellow, the car was then trimmed with a new Black interior with matching stitched doorcards, handbrake gaiter and gear lever gaiter.


 The seats are the originals but have been refoamed and recovered in marine vinyl with yellow stitching and a harness to match, the Corbeau emblem was scanned from the internet and stitched into the cover.

This car was our demonstrator when we were supplying the kits back in the late 80/s early 90`s.