Monday, 2 October 2017
Fairthorpe `Works` Race Team Silverstone 6 Hour relay race 1959, Peter`s car was 100 UMY
Another of the men whose lives were heavily intertwined with those of Fairthorpe Sports Cars has passed away, Peter Butt was not only one of the original Fairthorpe race team drivers but also one of the Fairthorpe dealers back in the early days. Peter along with my father Frank Collins, Fairthorpe works manager John Green and Gerald Golding were the original `Works` Race Team for Fairthorpe. All were driving their own cars but given cut price tuning parts, Twin SU carbs, Hot camshaft and tubular exhaust manifolds and during the late 50`s and early 60`s won a lot of club races helping to promote the Fairthorpe name. Peter was also a Fairthorpe dealer, starting Butts Motors at 9 Pindock Mews in London where he sold and assembled kits and repaired those that had been damaged, many Fairthorpes passed through Peter`s hands over the years. Peter retained his original Fairthorpe which he built in 1958 100 UMY in which he gained many wins and top 3 finishes, it was actually the first Fairthorpe i drove. Peter offered me a drive in it at the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club annual Grass Autotest at Denham, i soon realised how well these cars went when i picked up the trophy for BTD for a Fairthorpe. Peter always retained his love of our cars and would always be more than pleased to talk about them.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
This years Fairthorpe Gathering took place on the 6th August at the Bubblecar Museum in Langrick, Lincolnshire, what a lovely venue it was too, with the museum being well worth a visit by itself.
12 FSCC members enjoyed a very sociable Saturday evening meal at a local pub the night before the Gathering, we may look at incorporating that in future years as it seemed to go down well.
Eight Fairthorpes made it along on the Sunday with seven Electron Minors, comprising of five Mk1`s, one Mk2 and a rare Mk5 plus my Atom Major. We were joined by a number of other FSCC members old and new and it was particularly pleasing to meet up with our club President Barry Gibbs and his wife Honor once more. Also special mention must be made to Wolfgang Puritz and his wife who made it along to the Gathering having driven over from their home in Germany, sadly their two Fairthorpes were left in the garage at home, maybe next year Wolfgang? ☺
As usual there were Trophies to be presented and Barry Stock with his Mk5 EM was the clear winner for the furthest traveled Fairthorpe to the event having driven 276 miles to get to get there, a sterling effort through wind and rain at the Welsh end of the journey from Ammanford.
The Best Fairthorpe trophy as voted by those attending the event went to Dave Bumsted for his immaculate Metallic Blue Mk1 EM, Dave had only got the car MOT`d that week following two years of effort to turn it from a basket case into a show winner.
There was a tie for second place between Richard Holden and Brian Townsend`s Mk1 EM`s with two other cars only one vote back, close indeed.
That is enough wittering on from me, i am sure you all just want to look at the pictures!.............
Brian Townsend`s Mk1 EM
Richard Holden`s Mk1 EM
Ray Starkey`s red Mk1 EM
Michael Rolfe`s Mk1 EM
Rob James`s Mk2 EM
My Atom Major
Dave Bumstead`s Mk1 EM, winner of the Frank Collins memorial Trophy for best Fairthorpe.
Last picture is of the complete lineup with Roger and Gill Cooke`s very nice Reliant Scimitar.
Many thanks to all those that made it along to this years Fairthorpe Gathering, details of next years event will be posted on this blog site once the venue is in place.
Here is a link to the excellent Bubblecar Museum web site:- www.bubblecarmuseum.co.uk/
Thursday, 29 June 2017
This years Fairthorpe Gathering will be at the Bubblecar museum at Langrick in Lincolnshire. This a wonderful museum that has over 50 microcars on display, many in thought provoking dioramas. Examples of Bond, Isetta, Reliant, Frisky and Bamby to name but a few. They also have a row of recreated shops to explore, memorabilia, a gift shop and a cafe – great for afternoon tea! Entry to the Museum is £3 for adults and £1 for children.
The museum will be offering us rides on the Sunday in an immaculate Messerschmitt Bubble car, this was going out on a run when my wife and I were at the museum to do the route for the Saturday convoy run. It sounded great putt - putting away next to us, rides will be £12 a go and you will have to form a queue behind me!
The Saturday run will take in a few of the local sights including a stop outside RAF Coningsby, home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Wickenby Aerodrome where the old control tower houses a museum upstairs which is dedicated to the aerodromes life with the RAF who flew Lancasters from here during the Second World War, the lower floor is the pilots lounge and a cafeteria where we will stop for a bite to eat.
If you intend camping at the Bubblecar museum they would appreciate you contacting them on 01205 280037 to book a pitch, (let them know you are with the FSCC meeting). If you require electrical hook up you need to get in quickly as although it is a large camping area they only have six with hook up. We will be organising a table at a local pub for a Saturday evening meal, I will need numbers for that so please contact me if you wish to join us.
The museum address is:-
Clover Farm, Main Rd, Langrick, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE22 7AW
Friday, 28 April 2017
FSCC club member Chris Gale has sourced a manufacturer and paid for a tool to be made to produce replacement Fairthorpe rear suspension bushes, the first set have now been delivered to him. They have been made with out a steel outer as it is felt that it is not actually needed, it also helps keep the cost down. I also feel they will also be easier to fit to the arms without the sleeve as the bush itself is in 2 pieces so can be fitted from each end. Chris has yet to fit them but they look very promising and can be made in different hardness grades, colours and crush tube material. The manufacturer is Duraflex and they have added them to their website under `Specialist bushes` Here is a link:- http://www.duraflexpubushes.com/fairthorpe-80-c.asp
The good news is they can be bought for £30 for a set of 10, several people have already expressed an interest so hopefully some feedback will be forthcoming fairly quickly. I think we owe Chris a big thank you for getting these sorted.
Thursday, 9 March 2017
Maurice Jennings has reluctantly decided to part with his Fairthorpe EM2 and there is an advert up on the Car and Classic website here:- http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/car/C844564
This is a very tidy car that is excellent value for money, someone will have a lot of fun with this Fairthorpe as the warmer weather arrives. I do have a bit of history with this one as I rebuilt it back in the early 90`s, it was re sprayed British Racing Green then, it has since been White, now returning to Green again, very eye catching it is too, i have a feeling this one will sell very quickly.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
There are currently several owners restoring their Fairthorpes who are keen to put the cars back to their late 50`s spec so I thought I would put these pictures up as an aid and also provide a bit of a view into the old Fairthorpe works at Chalfont St Peter. The picture taken inside the works shows an Electron Minor, Electron, Atomota and Atom all crowded together. I am not sure that the fibreglass bar across the `mouth` of UPP 83 does anything for the looks of the car, I`m sure it didn`t catch on as I haven`t seen it on any of the customer assembled cars.
Here are several shots of the works demonstrator UPP 83, this number was one of three or four that Fairthorpe used on their works cars through the years, the numbers were also switched between several models of Fairthorpe.
I have no idea who the person is in this shot, maybe the early EM pictured is his car, in the background can be seen an Atomota and what looks like a very early Electron convertible.
And finally a Fairthorpe supplied 948cc Standard Ten engine with twin 1 1/8" SU carbs.
Thursday, 9 February 2017
I have been going through some old photos over the past few weeks and will be posting a few of them here for those with an interest in anything Fairthorpe.
These three shots were taken in 1990 at the 30th Anniversary meeting for the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club, the event was organised by my father Frank and myself with the aim of trying to assemble 30 Fairthorpes in one place. We fell short of the target but it was probably the largest gathering of them seen together with over 20 cars attending ( the exact number escapes me!) I spent most of the day chatting with owners, as I do at all the Fairthorpe Gatherings so the photos are few for such a memorable event so if anyone has some more they would like to share please email me and I will post them on here.
The heading picture shows from left to right a TX Tripper (minus it`s bonnet), David Green`s early Electron Minor Mk1 and Charles Armstrong Wilson`s later Mk1.
This shot features a couple of TX Trippers, one with a rare hardtop fitted, where have all the Trippers gone, they seem to be very thin on the ground these days?
Final shot shows David Green`s EM again, this was a very quick car as David and his father John had squeezed a Ford 1600cc ohc Pinto engine into it.
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Fairthorpe Sports Car Club member Chris Jones is the new owner of the Fairthorpe Special that was auctioned on February 4th, he plans to recommission the car in the spring.
There is a story about it`s past which needs further looking into to provide proof, here are some pictures of the car taken i think back in the 70`s which show it with it`s Fairthorpe body still on, the car looks to be lowered at that point. I have included the information which was attached from the chap that owned it when they were taken, he thinks he sold it to Mike Hahn but i have been in contact and Mike does not remember owning that one ( he has had several over the years.) As you can see from what he has written it had at that point an aluminium body shell except for the bonnet, it is an early Mk1 shell with the curved top doors fitted with a fibreglass Mk2 bonnet, it also has different windscreen pillars to the cast ally ones on all other cars.
I was told a story by an ex Fairthorpe dealer back in the late 80`s that he had purchased Noreen Bennetts EM ( 898 BPP ) in the early 60`s from the AVM when she had finished with it, the car had an aluminium body (which the EM moulds were made from ) but was fitted with a Mk2 EM f/g bonnet following a clash she had with a London bus. He bought the car with no paperwork / registration, the works keeping the paperwork etc, he then bought an EM from Exchange and Mart which had been on fire, the paperwork, chassis no and reg being put onto the ally car.
There is an EM that has the registration number of Noreen`s car which is known to the club.................but it has no alloy panels on it at all. I stress this was a story he told me and there is no physical proof especially now that the Fairthorpe body has gone and the car has a different ally body on it. There is also mention of the car in a couple of 2009 club magazines which indicate that at some point it may have had a climax engine in it?
These two pictures taken of Noreen`s car when new and 64 TPK in the 1970`s seem to show a similar paint colour (allowing for the faded colour of the second picture), also the black trim behind the seats and identical screen pillar. I have never seen a Fairthorpe screen fixing the same as this on another car, check out that area on any of the other pictures on the blog and you will see what I mean.
I will be interested to look at the car at some point in the future to see if the chassis shows signs of being one of the early main rail type which could point to it being earlier than the chassis number suggests.
Friday, 20 January 2017
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 according to the log book is a 948cc Triumph or Standard ten unit with twin SU carbs but looking at the inlet manifold it looks more like a 1296cc engine, 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.
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, make sure the circlip has the sharper of it`s sides facing outwards. 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.