|Production||1956 to 1965|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front engine, rear drive|
Fairthorpe sports cars Electron Built: Chalfont St. Peter, Gerrards Cross and Denham, England, 1956-1973
Air Vice Marshall Donald Bennett, who had gained wartime fame as a 'Pathfinder' bomber pilot, set up his motor manufacturing business in Buckinghamshire in the early 1950s, starting by building just 44 of the rear-engined Atom economy car.
In 1956, however, Fairthorpe announced that they were ready to start selling Electron sports cars, which were indeed on the market by 1957. Like many other limited-production cars of their era, these sports cars had sturdy but unsophisticated tubular chassis frames, with proprietary front suspension components and back axles located by radius arms and suspended on coil springs. The rather unlovely two-seater open bodyshell was built from glass-fibre, which meant that minimum tooling was required. On the debit side, the body was by no means very refined, or well equipped.
The Electron had power by courtesy of Coventry-Climax (the ubiquitous F WA light-alloy unit of 1097cc), and there was a Moss gearbox. It was a very quick 'kit-car', but it was also quite expensive, and not many were sold after the end of the 1950s, when other derivatives of the same basic design were also on offer. Disc brakes were available from 1957, at which point the car became the Mark Il, and Electrons were still price listed until 1965. Clearly there was a need to market a much cheaper version of the basic design,
Engine and transmission: Four-cylinders, in-line, with single overhead camshaft cylinder head, built by Coventry-Climax. Bore, stroke and capacity 72.4 x 66.6mm., 1097cc. Maximum power 93bhp (gross) at 6800rpm.; maximum torque 721b.ft. at 4700rpm. Four-speed manual gearbox in unit with engine. Hypoid bevel final drive.
Chassis: Front engine, rear drive. Separate steel chassis frame, with tubular side-members and cross bracings. Independent front suspension by coil springs and wishbones. Rack and pinion steering. Suspension of rear live axle by coil springs and trailing wishbones. Front and rear drum brakes; front wheel disc brakes from summer 1957.
Bodywork: Glass-fibre bodyshell in two-door two-seater open body style, by
Fairthorpe. Length llft. 6in.; width 4ft. IOin.; height 3ft. 10in. Unladen weight 12101b.
Performance: (Manufacturers claims) Maximum speed 115mph.