Readers Machine Issue 19


My name is Alice Fairhead, I’m 20 years old and work full time at Draganfly Motorcycles, which specialises in spares for vintage British motorbikes. I’ve been involved with drag racing all my life, I love the custom car and hot rod scene and I love doing my own photography work around the scene. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and had some of my work in various magazines – all my photos can be found on my Facebook page at (prints and copies can be provided and I can do personalised shoots on request).

It was my family that got me into the scene; my grandparents always had old motorcycles and cars. I first went to Santa Pod aged 11 months, my dad started drag racing when I was around two or three, and I always went to all the races, even if it meant missing school. When I was little, mum knew I’d be in the garage, helping dad.

When I was 16, dad’s old race car came up for sale and I wanted a classic car – I got given the choice of one or the other. Without thinking I choose the race car and, just over a year ago, I got my classic car too. I’ve also had a strong influence from the Norfolk Street Cruisers club over the last few years.

My car is a 1967 Volvo Amazon estate in Volvo Ice Blue, with a stock 1800 four-pot with a single Stromberg carb and four-speed gearbox. It took me two years to find one I liked at a price I could afford that wasn’t too far away. It was still more than I ideally wanted to spend, but they’re getting rare and hard to find, so I went for it.

So far we have completely changed the radiator grille and the front indicators, the bonnet has been debadged and smoothed off, the trim removed from the front wings, the tail gate has been smoothed off and the number plate has been moved to under the rear bumper.

In the future I want to remove the rest of the side trim, inset the rear number plate into the bumper, change the rear reflectors to something smaller, fit electronic ignition and an alternator, then build up a two litre engine I’ve got and swap it for my 1.8. We’re now in the process of rebuilding a pair of twin carbs to go on my 1800, and some wider wheels and lower springs are on order and will get fitted in the spring. In the future I’d like to repaint it, possibly dark purple with some pinstriping and lace work, or go with a steampunk theme.

The Volvo is insured with Adrian Flux fully comprehensive but limited mileage for £842, and they’ve told me that changing to the wider wheels won’t affect the premium.

Lastly I’d like to thank Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum for their permission to shoot the pictures there. It’s a museum that relies on donations from the public and is run by volunteers, a great day out and well worth a look