Friday, 20 May 2011

Another racing Fairthorpe hits the tracks of Europe.

New Fairthorpe owner Niels Abild from Denmark recently competed in his first race since buying and modifying the car for competition, the engine is a 1296 Triumph with 12 to 1 compression ratio and a ported head, twin 40 webers, tubular exhaust manifold, GT 6 gearbox, and a race kent cam. Niels was happy with the way it went and thinks it has around 105 bhp, he is sure he can improve the handling with more testing and expects lap times to come down further once he has had more time to adjust the set up. It is quite possible we may see the car competing in the UK at some point in the future, Niels has been racing since the early sixties in a wide variety of cars so he knows his way round a race track! The car looks very smart as you can see from the pictures, i will keep you updated with his progress.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Who is that masked man!

With the arrival of the warmer weather the itch develops to jump in the car and take it for a run and the first outing for 789 ERO this year was a short trip to the Fairthorpe Sports Car Club April Noggin & Natter at the Greyhound pub in Northampton. As you may have read in an earlier post my car was joined by 2 others in the car park one of which was fresh out of the paint shop and very nice it looks too. I`m afraid it put the bodywork of mine to shame as whilst i have fully restored the car under the skin and have had nearly two years of fun driving the car to events i have never completed the bodywork restoration. I decided that the time had come to don overalls, mask and goggles and make some mess with fibreglass dust!

May i just say that this is my method of dealing with the dreaded Gel coat crazing, others have there ways including repairing by re gel coating. I have repaired quite a few Fairthorpes in the past and this has always worked for me but if you are going to tackle this type of job yourself do plenty of research before you start. As you can see this job makes a LOT of mess and it itches like hell so a full suit like the one i am modelling here is essential as is the mask (F/G is very harmful to your lungs in dust form) gloves and goggles as dust and bits can damage your eyes.

I first of all draw around the areas which have the crazing using a felt tip pen leaving a bit of a border, the pen helps you see where needs grinding when you have your goggles on. I use 38grit sanding disks on my small angle grinder to remove the gel coat inside my drawn areas, don`t go crazy, the disk will eat right through the body if your not careful! Just go through the crazing to leave the f/g matting below the gel. Once i have done that i use 60grit green sanding paper (good old B&Q) and feather the edges of the ground area at about 60 degrees and than give it a good dust out with a clean brush and also some compressed air. Time for the old felt tip again, i then redraw my outline as you will have removed the old one with the sandpaper, then you can lay your fiberglass tissue over your line and use it like tracing paper to make a copy of your prepped area. I usually do 2 or 3 of each area as you want to build it up to your original level, then you cut these out and number each area on the car and on the pattens so you know which ones go where.

Next step is to put on some thin rubber gloves and mix up some f/g resin in a small container with the recommended amount of catalyst in it (stir it well)and paint your ground area with it before laying the first tissue pattern on top. Stipple the resin into the shape being careful not to tear it then repeat with the remaining patterns till you are happy that you are roughly at the same level before Mr grinder came out to play. Once dry (i usually leave it a few days) it`s time to take the body work back to the right shape, i use the angle grinder again on any high spots but be VERY careful with it, you just want to leave any high spots just proud and finish them off with a rubbing block, i use 80grit first then 120grit. This should leave you with a close shape to what you started with but there is an art to this as you can easily rub the surrounding original bodywork down if you get carried away! To finish off i use U-POL D filler, i have used this for years and it does not sag or crack, there is nothing worse once painted than a line around the repair where the filler has shrunk. It is a bit harder to sand than some of the other fillers but i know it works! Once sanded back as before with 80 then 120 i use a fine surface filler which is put on with a rubber applicator to get rid of any small imperfections and pin holes. As you can probably tell all this is VERY time consuming which explains why body shops charge so much for sorting crazing out in Fairthorpes and other kit cars. I will be painting her myself so when i get to that stage i will do a blog covering that, the plan (i have a cunning plan) is to get 789 painted in time for this years Silverstone Classic at the end of July.