Sunday, 27 February 2011

And then there were two!

Up to a couple of weeks ago i was under the impression that there was only one surviving complete Fairthorpe Electrina, that car sold on ebay a couple of years ago and went to a guy in Hungry. The car was in a very poor state but had it`s original body on although it had been damaged over the years. FSCC club stalwart Willie Simpson (now sadly departed) had built an Electrina but in later years had disposed of the body shell and fitted an Electron Minor body as the chassis wheelbase is only slightly longer on the Electrina. Whilst doing my sweep of the Fairthorpe club web page one evening i came across a message from a chap named Frank Oak advertising a 1963 Electrina, needless to say the phone was busy for the next 30 minutes and i made him an offer on the car. Frank had a couple of other people who had expressed an interest so he said he would like 24 hours to mull the offer over. As you can tell from this blog post Frank called me to ask when i would like to collect the car from the Devon/Cornwall border and the trailer was hitched up the following Saturday. Frank had owned the car from new, having built it from a kit and used it every day for 10 years, been touring in France and even done a grass Autocross race with it `no one could keep up with it, i had several bags of cement in the boot to help traction on the grass`! Eventually the car needed a head gasket replacing and it was put in to his Garage pending repairs and a Sunbeam Alpine replaced it. As in so many cases the years rolled by and the car stood there eventually getting covered by the usual things that get flung into the front of a garage. Now in retirement Frank had hoped to be able to spend some time on the car and return it to the road and it`s former glory but following heart problems he has now devoted his spare time to charity work and raising money to help people in ill health. He has raised a large amount of money with sponsored cycle rides in various far flung places of the globe and is going away again shortly. So sadly he decided to part with the car which is remarkably original in it`s pale blue gel coat finish having never been painted and there is hardly any crazing on the bodyshell. The engine is a 948cc Triumph unit with twin S.U carbs although this is currently seized, the drivers side window is broken due to the poorly designed lifting mechanism (apparently it has done this before) and the interior trim has crumbled away with age.
The chassis is in the usual condition after years of storage and will need new outriggers and siderails once the body shell is removed, but i am looking forward to getting my teeth into it once 789 ERO has been painted this spring. I am hoping to use the Electrina as my daily transport once finished and look forward to letting Frank get behind the wheel of her once again.

Needless to say i will be blogging about the rebuild on this site as the restoration progresses. For those wanting to have a look at her i will be taking the car as well as 789 to this years Fairthorpe Gathering in August , for details of the meeting see the blog post below. If anyone has contact details for the owner of the other car i would love to hear from them.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fairthorpe Gathering 2011 date and venue set.

Following on from the success of last years event which attracted 12 Fairthorpes i am pleased to confirm that this year the 3rd Annual Fairthorpe Gathering will be on August 7th at the Donington Park Museum which houses the largest collection of Grand Prix racing cars in the world. Here is a link to their website We will have a designated parking area and people attending our event will receive a discount on the entry price to the museum itself (price to be confirmed). There is a large picnic area in front of the museum and a very nice cafeteria and shop inside. Anyone with an interest in Fairthorpes is welcome along, whether you own a car, are looking for a car or are just interested in them you will receive a warm welcome. Keep an eye on this site or the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club website for updates.
A report on last years event and some video footage can be found further down the page.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

WAY 327 a Pheonix from the ashes.........

Owner Steve Colling tells the story:-
Fairthorpe Elecron Minor WAY 327 was despatched as a complete kit 0n the 29th July 1960 to Mr A Hawley of Leicester, who impressively managed to register the car on the 17th August 1960, only 19 days later.The kit included: chassis, body, screen, hood, side screens, carpets, wipers etc. The car was fitted with a Triumph Herald 948cc engine and gearbox, twin SU carburettors, a 4.11:1 differential, independent front and rear suspension, rack and pinion steering and drum brakes all round. Once built the car was driven by Mr Hawley until his children were born and the car was left to collect dust in a garage for about 13 years until I purchased the car in November 1980. Basic repairs were carried out on the car mainly using second-hand parts, the car was resprayed and a new hood made. I drove the car as daily transport until 1986 when one evening travelling home the electric fuel pump caught fire; the results can be seen in the photos.

Now was a good time to make WAY 327 faster and handle better. With lots of help from Martin and Frank who were running Motorville at that time, a new body was made from the original moulds and a new windscreen and aluminium frame were sourced. Then the fun began. First a Ford 1600cc Kent engine was sourced, this was completely rebuilt, lightened and balanced and fitted with an Kent A2 camshaft kit, GT cylinder head, Webber 40's, lightened flywheel and a competition clutch all bolted to a Lotus bullet gearbox. A four branch stainless steel exhaust system was manufactured and installed by a company in London who make racing exhaust systems. The propshaft had to be custom made to take the extra power and to mate with the Lotus gearbox and Triumph differential. The diff has a new crown wheel and pinion to take the ratio to 3.63:1. The output shafts were also changed to the stronger larger Triumph Spitfire items. All this has the benefit of less wheel spin in first and second, better acceleration, increased top speed and lower revs at motorway cruising speed. The rear brakes are drums and work fine but discs and callipers are fitted at the front, along with stainless steel braided hoses, kunifer brake pipes and new hydraulics.All four shock absorbers were replaced by gas Spaxs with adjustable dampening and height, 180lb competition coil springs were fitted at the front and 360 lb at the rear. Both front and rear suspension has been lowered a little and the geometry modified to improve the handling further. The rear suspension arms were remanufactured in solid bar (the originals were hollow tube) and larger TR6 ball joints fitted to cope with the added loads. The chassis out-riggers were replaced with 25mm box section and steel floors; the rest of the chassis has some extra bars and bracing for strength. The loom has been replaced with a Triumph Dolomite sprint item that has a fuse box as the original loom had no fuses which contributed to the fire. Inside the car has been updated with new carpets, a three piece walnut dashboard with extra instruments, glove box, heater with demister vents, bucket seats and a new roof and side screens. A new aluminium fuel tank has been manufactured with a 13 gallon capacity and reserve feed to extend the cars range when touring in Europe; the extra weight of fuel on the independent rear suspension has the added benefit of improving the handling as the car was originally too light at the rear.

The car was completed in about 8 months and then displayed at the classic car show in 1987 when the show was held at the Metropole hotel in Brighton. The cars had to be driven onto a dodgy looking wooden platform on the ground floor and whilst sitting in the car the platform was lifted up to the first floor by a forklift, the car had to then be driven off onto the first floor, needless to say the reverse journey was a lot more scary, you can't do that now with health and safety.

WAY 327 has been driven to France and southern Spain by me along with many trips in the UK and I can confirm the work, effort and modifications have all paid off, the car is great fun to drive and the performance and handling puts lots of modern sports cars to shame.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Rare Electron Climax to hit the tracks in 2011.

Todays post is about the Fairthorpe Electron Climax owned by Rob Cobden, the car spent most of it`s life on the Isle of Wight eventually being taken off the road and languishing in a Garden with bushes not just growing round it but in it as well!

After he bought it Rob spent 18 months stripping, repairing and rebuilding the car which has Triumph TR3 running gear and a 1220cc Coventry Climax engine. The engine had been left with the spark plugs out while the car was open to the elements and was so seized that the pistons would only come out of the engine by removing the cylinder liners as well. Rob says he was lucky the crankshaft was in a position where he could undo the conrod bolts otherwise he may have had to have cut the rods to get the engine stripped. Following a complete rebuild to race spec the engine now produces around 110bhp at the flywheel and he is hoping to get the car to Goodwood in the near future to give the it some testing.

The original bonnet and tail section have been replaced with newly moulded items as the old ones were too far gone to be repaired properly and a very nice looking roll bar produced which can be removed by undoing a few bolts. Rob is currently waiting for the F.I.A papers and once the car has done a few test miles on the track he will be looking at doing some racing in it later this year, when he has some dates penned in i will post them on the blog. I`m sure you will agree he`s made a very nice job of the car and it was voted the best Fairthorpe at last years Fairthorpe Gathering in August by those present.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Where are they now?

I have been contacted by Micheal Woodcock regarding a Fairthorpe EM2 that his father in law Kenneth Mansbridge built in 1960, the car was registered WBD 772 and was painted in red, his father in-law still has the original brochure/price list from when he bought the kit and speaks very highly of Don Bennett saying it was an honour to meet and speak with him back then.
He says he swapped the Fairthorpe for a mini estate needing more room for a growing family.

Having done a check on the DVLA website it shows the car as currently licensed so it has survived. Does anyone know the whereabouts of the car as the owner is not currently a member of the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club, both Micheal and Kenneth would love to see the car again. You can e-mail me at if you have any information on it and i will pass it on.
I hope to make this a regular feature regarding `lost` cars so if you owned a Fairthorpe and are wondering what became of it drop me a line.

Here is a picture of the car whilst Kenneth owned it.