Graham Fairhead - 1972 Type 3 Fastback
Graham has been going to Santa Pod since the mid-1980s with friends and in the early 1990s crewed for Jim Bowen with Betelgeuse after making some fibreglass panels for Jim
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1972 Type 3 Fastback
Every story has to start somewhere and this one started in 1999 when Graham Fairhead was offered a rotten body shell that was destined for the scrapyard from a friend just down the road, previous to this Graham had only had a motorbike and sidecar and a VW Type 3 Squareback but fancied a change and this 1972 Type 3 Fastback came up so Graham took the chance to have a sportier model. Graham restored it doing all the work himself and the car was put on the road in 2001.
Graham has been going to Santa Pod since the mid-1980s with friends and in the early 1990s crewed for Jim Bowen with Betelgeuse after making some fibreglass panels for Jim, and one day had a go in the Fastback at an RWYB and got the bug. After this, the mirrors, wipers, back seat and anything unnecessary got removed making it no longer road legal so a van and trailer were bought to get it to and from the track.
Graham joined the Volkswagen Drag Racing Club and started racing competitively in 2003 in VW Sportsman. Over time things were changed on the car with Graham building a performance 2.1L engine and making fibreglass panels for it himself until in 2005 he made the whole body shell, while at it he made the windows flush fit for Lexan windows and removed the gutter. As time went on the car gradually got quicker until the personal best on 14.20 @ 92 mph was reached. In 2007 Graham missed driving the car on the road and it would be too much work to make it road legal again so sold it without the engine at the end of the 2007 season. In this period Graham was rookie of the year in 2003 and was voted driver of the year in 2003 and 2007. During 2007 a friend in local club East Coast Air-Cooled Crew found a solid Fastback in Chelmsford so Graham restored it keeping the 2.1L engine from the race car and had a fast road car to enjoy.
Fast forward several years to 2015 and the car had changed hands a couple of times but never came close to being back on the track and it came up for sale in Braintree, Essex. Graham got the first refusal on the car and couldn’t turn down the chance of having the Fastback home. Down to Braintree, it was with the same van and trailer as before to collect it. In its time away the car had been painted white on the outside, black on the inside and Centreline wheels added that didn’t fit properly. The wheels were immediately swapped for some standard steel wheels and plans for what engine to use were in full swing. Going air-cooled again would be very expensive especially to go quicker than before.
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Subaru conversions are popular, which is an easier way of going quicker but has done lots of times before and ideally Graham wanted to stay with a VAG power plant so research went into the 1.8 20 valve turbo engine from VW Golfs. After a lot of research and consideration that was the way, Graham decided to go. To start with the car remained rear-engined with a VW camper gearbox and an adapter plate sourced by Andy Raw @tsrengineconversions to make the golf engine fit.
The car was soon named Misfit as it doesn’t fit in with the air-cooled or water-cooled cars being a mixture of both and made a reappearance on track in 2017, again racing with the @vwdrc with his original number, 16, in the original colour; pageant blue but with the scallops added for a twist on the original take and being hauled about with the same van and trailer – just like old times. At this point, the engine was completely stock but by the end of the year, Misfit got into the 12s and over 100mph moving up to VW Pro while racing at Shakespeare County Raceway. After a trip to local tuners @hybrid.tune the car was safely into the 12s in 2018 with Graham doing several rounds.
At the end of the 2018 season, Graham had realised that the camper gearbox and clutch was at its limits and being rear-engined it would soon get lively with that amount of weight hanging out the back. So after a lot of thought, consideration and planning, Graham decided to make the car mid-engined. So over the 2018-19 winters pretty much everything behind the driver’s seat was cut off and made from scratch, with all work still being done Graham himself. After a long winter of cold evenings and weekends in the garage, the car was back on its wheels and looking like a car again. With this arrangement, the gearbox had been changed from the camper one to a Passat gearbox which was donated by daughter Alice’s partner.
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In the 2019 season, Graham done several rounds with the VWDRC in VW Pro and the car got down to low 12 second passes at 111mph. Over the offseason Graham built a stronger engine, sticking with the AGU engine with @maxspeeding.co.uk conrods and turbo, APR head bolts (@apr.uk) and 630cc injectors. Both manifolds were made by Graham; exhaust manifold was made from scratch using an aftermarket flange and stainless steel tube. The inlet is original large port runners welded to an Audi TT plenum chamber to make it the opposite hand. After this, it was another trip back to Hybrid Tune and they worked their magic and the car came out with 382bhp for the 2020 season. The car was all ready for the start of the 2020 race season which starts at Easter … and Covid hit. Unfortunately, this put a stop to the racing until August when the VWDRC committee organised a private 2-day event for the club, the VWDRC Drag Days, which was a huge success with Misfit getting into the 11s at 120mph.
While at the VWDRC Drag Days Graham had the car weighed and Misfit came out at an amazing 700kg. After this Graham did 3 more events before the end of the season and with some tweaking from Hybrid Tune the car ran a best of 11.25 @124pmh with more in it yet.At the time of writing the only plans currently on the table for the 2021 season and beyond is to possibly upgrade the injectors and turbo further and get Hybrid Tune to retune it which Team Misfit can’t thank the guys at Hybrid Tune enough for their help over the years.
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