Clive & Kiyondo, Crosthwaite & Gardiner
Meeting Clive and his flawless 350GT in East Sussex for lunch. Kiyondo Sato (below) arranged a tour of Crosthwaite & Gardiner for us. (click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
John Gardiner & Dick Crosthwaite and their famous BRM logo.
Inside, just about every machine you can imagine, there must be a hundred of them: cam grinders, crank grinders, gear cutters, lathes, borers, EDM... Some historical machines, and some computer-controlled. Most of the workers are tool and die makers, and they are working steadily the entire time we are there. Lots of activity in this shop. And a great deal of concentration -- these parts are often quite complex and worth a lot of money.
And not just engine and transmission parts. Here are some Lotus and Bugatti wheels.
Stacks of raw head castings -- Jaguar "D" Type (of course). There are raw castings stacked all around the shop.
They also make complete cars. They have a frame shop and a body shop, they can fabricate anything it seems. I believe this birdcage Maserati is built from scratch (or rebuilt from a wreck?). They make the transaxles from scratch. I ended up with a "Maserati T61 - 250F - 300S Transaxles" catalog. Other catalogs currently available are: Ersa Mk 2 Gearbox, Coventry Climax VWA/B/E and Lotus Eleven/Fifteen/Elite/Elan Gears/Brakes. The Bugatti was clearly a restoration, not sure about the AC.
The engine build and assembly room is upstairs. There were a collection of Bugatti, Ferrari, Lotus, Delahaye and Jaguar engines in various stages of completion. Many of the parts are in piles and boxes next to each other. You'd think they would get mixed together, but the technicians assembling the engines probably know the parts so well that it's not a problem. When you ask them how they keep things sorted out, they just shrug their shoulders and say "I don't know that we do."
Here is a Jaguar "D" type cylinder head casting...in fact, racks of the things, including valve covers, supercharger housings, etc.
A Bizzarini rear end wooden pattern ("core box") is being readied for the foundry where traditional sand molds will be created for the molten metal -- just like it was originally done. Different metals require different foundries: Steel, Aluminum, Magnesium...all of which exist in the area.
After our tour, Clive's 350 becomes the centerpiece of conversation. John and Dick seem a bit skeptical because it isn't a Ferrari -- these are men not easily impressed! -- but they aren't dismissing it either. Others from the shop come over to see the car. Kiyondo Sato can been seen in these photos (brown pants), he arranged the tour of the facilities. Kiyondo works at C&G, and his father designed the Datsun Bluebird (I think).
Before the day is over, Clive takes me to see his Maserati Khamsin, the two cars are very picturesque together.
A huge thanks to Clive and Kiyondo for making this all possible! And, of course, Crosthwaite and Gardiner. What an amazing day!