Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Let there be light!" - LED indicators

When I was restoring the Ariel I was surprised to find that all the old electrics were in pretty good shape, even the horn, which I'd been told was broken. In fact, as soon as a battery went in everything worked so I took the easy route and left the 6 volt electrics in place. Even when I came to installing electronic ignition, I chose the 6 volt version. But there was one area I wasn't particularly happy with - the indicators.

While the front indicators were pretty good, the rear indicators were always weak, especially in daylight. The indicators are also set quite low so they are easy for a car driver to miss. When I'm riding I'm always particularly concerned about drivers plowing into me from behind. I replaced the bulbs several times, trying different makes, etc, but none really improved the situation.

I'd heard that some companies were manufacturing LED indicator kits for classic machines but although I made some inquiries I couldn't find a 6 volt - until now. Auto Lumination produce a wide range of LED auto lights for all types of vehicles. To my great joy they had 4.4cm 6 volt festoon globes that could slot straight into my repro Lucas indicators.

At US$9.95 each they are fairly expensive but they work! No new flasher unit, no rewiring, just replace the globe. You can see in this photo the globe comprises 3 rows of 3 LED panels. And do they make a difference?? Do they ever!

These are the old globes. They don't look too bad in the garage where it's dark, but on a sunny day they are a total washout.

The new LEDs are much brighter and will last a lot longer than filament globes apparently.
Auto Lumination are in the US. You can find them online here:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Classic car events in Perth 2011

As summer rolls on here in Western Australia it's time to get out the spit and polish and bring out the old machines. Here's a couple of upcoming events on the classic auto and bike calendar in Perth and regional WA.

Sunday 6 February 2011 - Veteran Car Club - Perth to Armadale Run

Display in the Murray Street Mall, Perth between 9am and 11am. Here's some photos from last year: and another link:

Saturday 12 February 2011 - Big Al's Poker Run

Charles Patterson Park, Burswood from 10am to 4pm.
Here's some photos from last year:
And another link:

Sunday 13 February 2011 - VMCC of WA Inspection Day

Trailer them or ride, but just get them to VMCCWA clubrooms, corner Hale Road and Tonkin Highway, Wattle Grove from 7am to 2pm.

Sunday 20 February 2011 - Northam Vintage Swap Meet

Jubilee Oval from 7am to noon. Here's a link:

Sunday 27 February 2011 - Italian Car Show

Mulberry on Swan from 10am. Here is a link to the event flyer:
I'm hoping we'll see the Nazzaro bought out of its slumber this year. Here's some photos from 2009:

Sunday 20 March 2011 - Classic Car Show at Whiteman Park

Free display of vintage cars from 11am -2.30pm. Here is a link:


Deville's Pad Hot Rods to Hell
Combining the best of Perth's Rat Rods, Kustom Cars and early American Muscle Cars (pre-1972 ), Kustom Bikes and Vintage 60’s Scooters with our current favourite band on the local rock and roll scene. A Vintage Market, Vendors, Tattoos, Fashion Show, BBQ food and our unique pedal powered dragster races.  Childrens entertainment, carnival rides, Al Kazam the magician and under 12's race events. Adults also are invited to bring down their low rider bicycles and custom pedal cars to compete in our 1/16th mile pedal powered drag races. Marco and the Rhythm Kings will provide the musical entertainment live on stage plus Hill Billy Jack and special guests on the pick up truck. Rare vintage drag racing films and classic cartoons will be projected in the venue.

Sunday 27 March 2011 - VMCCWA Swap Meet and Vintage Bike Display

Cannington Agricultural Showgrounds, corner of Albany Highway and Station Street, Cannington From 7am to 12 noon. Buyers $5 click on the Swap meet tab

For a 'complete' calendar of events, check the Classic Rally website:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Revised 'favourites' list

My ongoing love affair with vintage machines has not dimmed over the years despite their lack of reliability, numerous breakdowns and constant expense. Much to Shelly's frustration, my list of 'most desired' vehicles just keeps on getting longer and longer. A couple of years ago I posted my 'most desired' vehicle list on the sidebar but as time has ticked by my tastes have changed somewhat, so it's time to do a new list. My old favourites I've tracked here, including the original weblinks. This of course doesn't mean I don't want these beauties!

Trabant P50

The Trabant is often lambasted in the popular press as one of the worst cars ever made. That completely misses the point. All the features that come in for criticism - the tiny two stroke motor and duraplast bodywork - had nothing to do with communism or design by committee (as claimed by this idiot - They were the direct descendents of DKWs pre-war designs. In the prewar years DKWs cars were all built of wood with leather, plywood or synthetic body panels. Duraplast, a composite product made of resin impregnated cotton or paper pulp, was one of the products they were experimenting with before the war. Shortages of steel in East Germany meant that VEB Sachsenring continued to use Duraplast, while DKW in the West could afford to abandon it. These decisions, driven by necessity and hardship meant that while the Trabant would never be a high performance vehicle, it was practically indestructible - the body would never rust, could be easily patched if damaged and the engine would run just about forever. It was, as its makers intended, a perfectly adequate, low cost peoples' car.


Maico's answer to the scooter craze in the early fifties was certainly distinctive. Built between 1950 and 1956, it was described as a two-wheeled car it was built like a enclosed motorcycle. Big, chunky and slow, it's a magnificent beast and highly desirable. Information on the web can be hard to find in English.
Philippe Devant in Paris is Mr Maicomobil.

Simson Schwalbe
Simson was part of VEB, the East German automotive collective. They originally built motorcycles but VEB assigned them the moped market (motorcycle production was assigned to MZ, formerly IFA, the old DKW factory in Zwickau). They upgraded their cute little S2 moped with scooter bodywork and created this little beauty. What the Vespa is to Italy, the Swallow is to East Germany. Thousands of these machines survive in Germany where they continue to be used as daily runabouts as they are almost indestructable. We saw dozens on the road in eastern Germany in 2009. They have now gained the status of a cult icon, up there with the Trabant. If you're interested in a Swallow, you need do no more than look on

ZU Victoria Type 115 Blechbanane
Certainly one of the most stylish and elegant mopeds ever built. Originally released by DKW (see my posting "Das Kline Wunder"), it was something of a flop. The model was taken over by the Zweirad Union conglomerate of moped producers, but sales did not really improve. They are now regarded as collectors items. There is quite a bit of information on the Internet about them but it's all in German.

Achilles 175

These very rare little scooters, almost a covered motorcycle really, were built by the German Achilles company between 1952 and 1954. Powered by the ubiquitous SACHS 175cc engine, they were a short lived affair. There are very few left in existence and information about them is very hard to come by.

Aeromacchi Chimera
Like Piaggio, Aeromacchi originally built aircraft but were stopped from doing so after the war. Instead they began building small, sporty motorcycles. In 1957 they developed this very advanced and streamlined model but the bodywork put off many buyers and the model flopped. In the end only about 300 were built. They reverted to traditional styling though and they continued to be successful, so much so that Harley-Davidson bought them out in order to introduce light sports bikes to the US. They flopped in the US so H-D sold them to the Italian motorcycle company, MV Agusta. In the 1990s, H-D, learning nothing from its own past bought MV Agusta, but their new products tanked again. After ten years of losses they sold MV Agusta back to its original owners for 1 euro!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

IWL Scooter Calendar and Auto Links

Christmas is the time for buying calendars so I'm running a little behind on this post. The IWL Forum in Germany has released an IWL calendar. The calendar features some excellent, large format photos of IWL scooters, mainly Berlins and a couple of Pittys. Click on the link to the calendar website to view the photos and make an order.

Other Web-links
I do spend quite a lot of time on the internet looking for information about the machines that interest me. Over time I tend to lose track of them so here is a list of links - as much a reminder to myself as potentially of interest to others. So, it you too like German motorcycles, scooters and two-stroke engined cars, enjoy! I'll be updating these links periodically too.

Ariel Leader

Review of the Ariel Leader -
The Australian Ariel owners club -


Auto-Union / DKW

An excellent resource for DKW motorcycles -
More about DKW motorcycles (in German) -
Well written history from the Australian Unique Cars website -
DKW schnellaster vans -
DKW Club of USA -
DKW Club of UK -
DKW Club of South Africa -
Auto-Union Veteran Club -
Dutch DKW club -
Spanish language website with lots of great photos of Auto Union cars from the 1930s and 40s.
Auto-Union 1000SP -


In the Second World War NSU built these interesting little motorcycle tractors.


Tempo trucks
Videos from a fellow West Aussie who's restoring a Tempo Matador

Barkas B1000 vans

Borgwards, Lloyds and Hansas - Borgward Trucks (video and photos) (lots of photos of old German trucks and commercials)




BMW motorcycles

BMW Isetta


The history of the evolution of the Volkswagen.
This is the amazing story of the discovery and restoration of a 1943 KDF prototype discovered in Lithuanian. Prior to its purchase by Grundmann the story was tracked in a very long forum discussion on The Samba website, here:

Microcars Bruce Weiner's amazing microcar museum (it's all there)

Pre 31 Motorcycles blog

Autoprova - for discerning car conossiour

This is the Shah of Iran's 1935 custom Mercedes Benz

The excellent Vintagent blog
A must read for all fans of vintage motorcycles.