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#1 Pullman99

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:33

There have been one or two references in recent Forum threads - including those on Messerschmitt Tiger engines, LSR cars, and Kieft - to a relatively little-known Australian light car called the Lightburn Zeta.

For the benefit of UK readers, the Lightburn Zeta was designed by Gordon Bedson (of Meadows Frisky and Kieft fame) and was initiated by a manufacturer of domestic goods (mainly washing machines) called Harold Lighburn. It had a fairly basic glassfibre body on a steel chassis and was in production from 1963 to 1966. Less than 400 were produced and even fewer of the sports version (which was actually based on the Frisky).

My particular interest in the Lightburn Zeta is in connection with Donald Campbell and Bluenbird CN7 and the WLSR in July 1964. There are occasional glimpses of a Zeta in some of the photographs taken in both 1963 and 1964 at Lake Eyre. A company called Ajax Films was also making a film of the attempt - starting in 1963 - and some of their footage was incorporated into Donald's own film "How Long a Mile". The final film, released at the beginning of 1965, was called "Project Bluebird" and was released by Dunlop here in the UK for educational use. I think that the Australian oil company Ampol may have had their own version. BP's intended film - shot independently of Ajax Films - ultimately became a film about the remote sheep station as "Muloorina" with Bluebird only featuring very briefly and incidental to the hastily revised theme! A BBC South Producer I knew back in the 1980s, Patrick Taggart, had worked at Australia's Channel 9 network prior to coming to England instantly commented on the car when he spotted it in "How Long a Mile" (we were working on a National Motor Museum documentary at the time).

I am not sure if the Lightburn company loaned one, or possibly two, Zeta(s) to the team at Lake Eyre or if they were loaned to Ajax Films. I will try to find out more but it would be truly amazing if one of the Lake Eyre cars survives.

I will keep searching for references but would be most interested to hear from anyone who can add to the Lightburn story. There are already a couple of threads relating to Donald Campbell and the Bluebird CN7 (car) and K7 (boat). Apart from their entry in the Ampol Trial around Australia in 1964 (?) did Lightburn ever get involved with motorsport?

Lightburn Zeta info

There's a Zeta Runabout in The Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia. They also have one of the Sports models.

Microcar Museum (Georgia USA) exhibit info

One of the contributors to the Zeta info site above is a Mr Robin Heath of Cairns who has been trying to find out more about the Sports model he owns.

Edited by Pullman99, 14 October 2010 - 08:12.


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#2 Pullman99

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 07:58

A few bits and bobs on the Lightburn Zeta gleaned from this Forum!

Information about Gordon Bedson: From this Forum’s Kieft F1 thread

From Doug Nye (23.09.02): I seem to recall that Gordon Bedson was a Vickers design engineer, involved on the wing structure of the Valiant V-bomber amongst other projects. He was certainly involved in 500cc Formula 3 car design before this effort for Kieft emerged.

From Mike Lawrence (25.10.04): Gordon Bedson was indeed a former Vickers engineer and he did design the Mackson 500cc car. One of his best mates, Alan Brown, tested the Mackson and found it so awful that he aborted the test. Gordon died in an air crash Down Under (I think it was in a microlight) around 1984.

From kaydee (10.05.07): At that stage Gordon had left Meadows and had come to Adelaide to work on the ill-fated Lightburn Zeta project. .....why ill fated....a brilliant innovation for its time quickly overtaken by progress. Ill fated in "styling" ....... Harold Lightburn apparently came in one weekend and dramatically changed all of the body styling by adding fins etc. This became a contentious issue with Gordon and one of the reasons why he left Ligthburns and headed to Queensland to open a restaurant.

From Ray Bell (10.05.10): Ill-fated because of its antiquated mechanical specs, too, I think... A little 2-stroke engine and all. Those poor guys who drove one in the Ampol Trial must have been awful tired!

1964 Ampol Trial DVD available

Edited by Pullman99, 14 October 2010 - 08:12.


#3 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 08:20

I have almost learnt more about Zetas from this than I ever knew. And I live a couple of miles from where the factory was. All housing now. I can remember parts and moulds laying around outside in the late 70s or early 80s. And I never knew they had made a ute!
In the early 70s a couple at least ended up being used for drag racing with Holden motors.
I still see one regularly on classic car runs, metallic blue and looks like it was painted with a straw broom. I believe he owns more of them!
Lightburn were still manufacturing on South Rd Edwardstown until recent years. Concrete mixers and the like. Factory is now a Harvey Norman Electrical pick up wharehouse.
I can remember them in the news clips and possibly doccos also in relation to the Bluebird run in 64.They must have been at least reasonably tough as the road through Muloorina to Lake Eyre South even now is quite rough and 4 wd territory.
As must have been the Bluebird to ride in there on a truck without falling to pieces, yet alone the road to Marree which in those days was an extremely rough bush track. Or did they send it by rail? that would make sense as the Ghan railway went to Marree and beyond.


#4 seldo

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 09:02

I have almost learnt more about Zetas from this than I ever knew. And I live a couple of miles from where the factory was. All housing now. I can remember parts and moulds laying around outside in the late 70s or early 80s. And I never knew they had made a ute!
In the early 70s a couple at least ended up being used for drag racing with Holden motors.
I still see one regularly on classic car runs, metallic blue and looks like it was painted with a straw broom. I believe he owns more of them!
Lightburn were still manufacturing on South Rd Edwardstown until recent years. Concrete mixers and the like. Factory is now a Harvey Norman Electrical pick up wharehouse.
I can remember them in the news clips and possibly doccos also in relation to the Bluebird run in 64.They must have been at least reasonably tough as the road through Muloorina to Lake Eyre South even now is quite rough and 4 wd territory.
As must have been the Bluebird to ride in there on a truck without falling to pieces, yet alone the road to Marree which in those days was an extremely rough bush track. Or did they send it by rail? that would make sense as the Ghan railway went to Marree and beyond.

Although I haven't been past for a couple of years now, there is/was one parked under a tree in the yard of a house in Auchenflower here in Brisbane for the last 20 years that I know of - maybe longer. Even from new I thought they were a ghastly thing so I've never made any further enquiries

#5 Pullman99

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:21

In the early 70s a couple at least ended up being used for drag racing with Holden motors.

As must have been the Bluebird to ride in there on a truck without falling to pieces, yet alone the road to Marree which in those days was an extremely rough bush track. Or did they send it by rail? that would make sense as the Ghan railway went to Marree and beyond.


A Holden powered Zeta must truly have been a thing of wonder! :)

As far as I know, Bluebird CN7 was transported from Adelaide to Lake Eyre by Adams Brothers transporter - using a specially constructed trailer - (they took the transporter out too from England). The Australian Army helped with all of this as well and it was they who constructed a roadway onto the salt flat of the lakebed and provided considerable asistance over many months. Having seen the film footage and pics, I am amazed it was achieved at all although there were a few incidents along the way. I note that in recent years, the authorities have created a conservation area named after Elliot Price who owned the sheep station at Muloorina (and, yes, I realise that's a bit like owning Wales!).

You may be interested to know that the Elfin FJ single seater that Andrew Mustard of Dunlop used to test Bluebird's tracks has survived and is in a private colection in Adelaide.

Would be nice to think that one (?) of the Zetas may have survived also. Mr Heath, who contributed to the Zeta informtion on the website, has one of the Zeta Sports models although I am not sure that any of these were used at Lake Eyre.

Isn't this a great Forum for exploring (sometimes) obscure topics?!! :clap:

Edited by Pullman99, 14 October 2010 - 16:28.


#6 fnqvmuch

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:54

A Holden powered Zeta must truly have been a thing of wonder! :)

As far as I know, Bluebird CN7 was transported from Adelaide to Lake Eyre by Adams Brothers transporter - using a sspecially constructed tariler - (they took the transporter out too from England). The Australian Army helped with all of this as well ...


thought i saw them here / on another thread maybe transporters, i'll check, but - i understood Adams' rigs went to the US but really loved the contrast with the shots of the car precariously loaded on a jinker behind a Blitz behind a 6x6 and also CN7 on a Dodge semi - emblazoned with B. & J. Bracknell, Carriers, ... just have to work out where i found them.
steven
ps re the original topic: Zeta was my nonna-in-law's name, so we will have to visit Hartley St the next time we're in town ...

Edited by fnqvmuch, 14 October 2010 - 11:57.


#7 Pullman99

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 16:45

- i understood Adams' rigs went to the US but really loved the contrast with the shots of the car precariously loaded on a jinker behind a Blitz behind a 6x6 and also CN7 on a Dodge semi - emblazoned with B. & J. Bracknell, Carriers,


I think you're absolutely correct; my mistake. Adams of New Malden took their vehicle to Utah in 1960. I have been trying to find some pics of VN7 being transported in Australia and cannot immediately find one. I do think that it was a bit of a struggle to get it onto the lake and I'm sure that some of the film footage shows this.

Lightburn Zeta zooms to the head of the Forum yet again!

#8 Twin Window

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 21:58

My old mate Bob Constanduros emailed me earlier today with the following information & scan, as passed-on to him from his friend Paul Blank;

"Thanks for the link. I sold my Zeta after 23 years of ownership around the time the Facel went. Still very interested in them though.

I’m reluctant to sign up for another forum, but if you are a member of the Autosport.com one, you’re welcome to use my attached picture, taken from a Zeta brochure. It answers some of the questions asked.

The Ampol Trial mentioned was the only time I know of when Zetas were used in any form of motorsport. They were absolutely abysmal things to drive to the corner shop – let alone in motorsport. The Bluebird crew must have seen the irony in having their record breaking car alongside the back-breakingly rough and slow Zetas. They coudn’t top 50mph.

343 Zeta Runabouts were made and 49 Zeta Sports (built a year prior and held until the Runabout was ready for launch). There is less connection with British Meadows and Frisky companies in the Zeta’s development than generally thought."

Posted Image

Thanks to both Bob and Paul :up:

#9 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 22:03

Upon reflection I remember seeing film of people making the ramp to get on the lake. Bluebird must have been very tough to survive that ride up there, yet alone the last bit from Muloorina Station to the lake. I was there last year and it was very rough! And no obviuos ramp to get on the lake.

Holden power is easy, make a tube chassis and put the Zeta body on it. The one I knew did high 14s which for period was not slow.

#10 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 22:08

Note the Landcruiser in that pic from Twinny, a very early one for Australia

#11 Pullman99

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 06:57

My old mate Bob Constanduros emailed me earlier today with the following information & scan, as passed-on to him from his friend Paul Blank; Thanks to both Bob and Paul :up:


Yes indeed. Thanks to you too Twinny! Greatly appreciated and I will pass this information on to Zeta Sports owner and Forum contributor Robin Heath in Cairns is aware of this.

I was pretty sure that there was more than one Zeta used by the Bluebird team and this scan would seem to confirm this. So the Bluebird team had in excess of 1% of the entire Lightburn Zeta Runabout production at their disposal! :) Andrew Mustard worked for Dunlop and had a team of people working for many weeks to prepare the track. From John Pearson's book "Bluebird and the Dead Lake" it is clear that he and Donald Campbell did not get along too well but conditions must have been very difficult for all the team. Noticed from this also that, unless the photograph has been airbrushed, the flags flying from the etent look to be Ampol ones which would date the pic as 1964. Just wondered if this is from a Lightburn promotional brochure?

Great stuff. And the 50th anniversary of CN7's record is not that far away - 17th July 2014.

Edited by Pullman99, 30 January 2011 - 15:07.


#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:22

Twinny mentions that it's from a Zeta brochure...

Which probably precludes air brushing. But it wouldn't cut other forms of photo alteration by any means, and I'm sure there was!

#13 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:12

To me those flags are Dunlop ones, a colorised edited pic if I have ever seen one. To me the Zeta looks about 10% bigger than it really is.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 15 October 2010 - 10:14.


#14 fnqvmuch

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:19

when seen with CN7 the Bricknell truck flew some Ampol signage too, is that relevant?

#15 Pullman99

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 11:28

To me those flags are Dunlop ones, a colorised edited pic if I have ever seen one.


Yes, on closer study I think they are Dunlop ones which would tie in with the brochure subject. I imagine that the correct Dunlop logo colours at that time would be the familiar black / red / yellow. From memory, the film footage that shows the Zeta would indicate that they were a sort of gunmetal colour.

At the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu the library contains at least one Lightburn Zeta brochure although I don't recall whether or not it had any reference to Bluebird. Thanks again to Bob Constanduros and to Twinny and all the conributors to this thread for following up this one. Together, we must have expanded UK awareness of the Lightburn story a thousand-fold! :up:




#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:12

Originally posted by Pullman99
..... Together, we must have expanded UK awareness of the Lightburn story a thousand-fold!


For what it's worth!

Lightburn's innovative paddle arrangement made a good twin tub washer, I'm sure their cement mixers got a lot of home pathways, garage floors and other construction jobs done, but the Lightburn Zeta barely registered on any scale.

Compared to the Goggomobil, which preceded it (and undoubtedly inspired it), it was a hugely unsuccessful project. Of course, a couple of extra years of growth in the average household wealth, along with the other developments in cars since the Goggo, like the introduction of the Mini, would have worked against it.

#17 Tim Murray

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:51

Together, we must have expanded UK awareness of the Lightburn story a thousand-fold! :up:

Absolutely!

#18 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 23:27

Lightburn made good concrete mixers [I have used one on occasion] but bloody terrible motorcars. Even in comparison to anything else on the market at that time.
Though the fibreglass bodies had there uses as drag cars and I saw one once as a chook house!!

#19 gkennedy

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 05:32

343 Zeta Runabouts were made and 49 Zeta Sports (built a year prior and held until the Runabout was ready for launch).

It was amazing that that many were sold. When they were released here in Australia in 1963, the Mini (Morris 850) cost very little more, and was way ahead of the Zeta in any comparison you could think of. It would have been only friends, relatives and the somewhat eccentric who bought them.

Apart from being err, slightly odd in appearance, there were about three noteworthy things about them. (1)The seats were easy to remove (and had to be removed to get anything in the back - no rear doors and no hatch), (2)The car had no reverse gear, but effectively had four speeds in reverse, by stopping the two-stroke engine and restarting it to run backwards, and (3) The fuel tank was above the engine and behind the dash and gravity fed the mighty power unit. The fuel 'gauge' was a length of plastic tube that ran from the top to the bottom of the tank down the dashboard.


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#20 Daren W

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 06:45

Hi all a mate picked a wagon body up about 15 years ago it was used as a cubby house in the northern beaches of Sydney now in his micro car collection Daren

#21 friskyjohn

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 22:04

Those of you interested in Gordon Bedson might like to look at http://www.flyingforfun.net/ look in Aircraft designers and pioneers, then Gordon Bedson.

If you would like more information on the Frisky see http://en.wikipedia..../Meadows_Frisky and also http://www.localhist...Cars/Frisky.htm

I have always admired the Zeta Sport and found Fred Diwell (microcarscooter@skymesh.com.au) a great source of information on it.

John Meadows The Frisky Register.


PS your Zeta info link states that Michelotti designed the Sprint and the Zeta Sport. He had no part in the design of either car both were designed entirely by Gordon Bedson, the Sprint at Meadows and the Zeta Sport at Lightburn


#22 onelung

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:59

And here's the washing machine: derived from the concrete mixer & of a substantially more elegant design than the Zeta, I suggest.
(and possibly even faster...?)
Posted Image

#23 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:18

And here's the washing machine: derived from the concrete mixer & of a substantially more elegant design than the Zeta, I suggest.
(and possibly even faster...?)
Posted Image

The pic has not appeared. And i wanna see that washing machine!
Now it has appeared and yes far more elegant and functional than the Zeta! And almost certainly faster.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 24 October 2010 - 10:20.


#24 Quixotic

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 10:52

The pic has not appeared. And i wanna see that washing machine!
Now it has appeared and yes far more elegant and functional than the Zeta! And almost certainly faster.



I was still using these Washing machines as late as 1982 when I was doing my Infantry Training at Singleton NSW. Very tough washing machines..... I used to wash all of my webbing in there.....


They used to walk across the floor when you put the spinner on. bloody fast spinner........

Edited by Quixotic, 24 October 2010 - 10:54.


#25 fredeuce

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 00:24

These washers were virtually indestructable . I remember using them in a mining camp I worked in about 30 years ago.

You didn't need a concrete mixer if you had one of these units!

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 02:24

Their domestic twin tubs were equally good...

And well thought out. The fibreglass wash tub didn't need any seals for an agitator, it had a paddle on an arm that came from the top of the machine. Only source of real trouble was the rubber splash guard around the top of it, that stopped water getting down into the motor etc. It would perish and crack... but nothing that duct tape couldn't repair!

#27 Pullman99

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:05

Their domestic twin tubs were equally good...


What have we started?

From Australian light cars to the World Land Speed Record (Bluebird), documentary films, Elfin FJ single seater, various aviation links, the 500cc F3, Kieft F3 and F1 cars, the Medaows Frisky, Messerschmitts, even transporters (Bluebird), to washing machines and concrete mixers. That's quite a range for a single thread! :)

Edited by Pullman99, 17 November 2010 - 17:37.


#28 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:42

What have we started?

From Australian light cars to the World Land Speed Record (Bluebird), documentray films, Elfin FJ single seater, various aviation links, the 500cc F3, Kieft F3 and F1 cars, the Medaows Frisky, Messerschmitts, even transporters (Bluebird), to washing machines and concrete mixers. That's quite a range for a single thread! :)

Agreed, only on a forum like this,,, and be in perspective!

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 09:22

Didn't you see the racing connection?

The duct tape I used for ours was purchased from Ken Nancarrow's stall in the pits at Winton...

#30 Pullman99

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 10:03

The duct tape I used for ours was purchased from Ken Nancarrow's stall in the pits at Winton...


That could make it a genuine racing GT Lightburn washing machine. Did you ever spin it? :rotfl:

Actually, back OT, I was a bit disappointed that we haven't heard from the original enquirer about Zeta information, Mr Robin Heath of Cairns. Mr Cairns has contributed to the Unique Cars and Parts site on the Zeta and enquired further on the car's connection with Donald Campbell. He has also contributed - somewhat negatively it has to be said - to The Bluebird Project Forum thread on the Zeta.

If Mr Heath is reading this, I would be most interested to learn more about the cars he has as well as the ones used at Lake Eyre and whether or not he knows if any survive. Out of less than 400 built, that may be unlikely. But you never know.

Edited by Pullman99, 17 November 2010 - 17:40.


#31 f1steveuk

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:08

If it's any help, the picture of Bluebird CN7 was taken in 1963, while still sponsored by BP, the record fell the next year while sponsored by Ampol. Biggest clue is the camera pod on the tailfin, installed by BP for the film "How Long A Mile", for '64 the pod and BP were gone!

#32 friskyjohn

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 15:08

That could make it a genuine racing GT Lightburn washing machine. Did you ever spin it? :rotfl:

Atually, back OT, I was a bit disappointed that we haven't heard from the original enquirer about Zeta information, Mr Robin Heath of Cairns. Mr Cairns has contributed to the Unique Cars and Parts site on the Zeta and enquired further on the car's connection with Donald Campbell. He has also contributed - somewhat negatively it has to be said - to The Bluebird Project Forum thread on the Zeta.

If Mr Heath is reading this, I would be most interested to learn more about the cars he has as well as the ones used at Lake Eyre and whether or not he knows if any survive. Out of less than 400 built, that may be unlikely. But you never know.



To the best of my knowledge Robin Heath had only the one Zeta Sport that may have been one of the prototypes. I am currently looking into this with the Keith Peckmore who came to Lightburn with Gordon Bedson in spring 1959.( Keith built the Frisky Sprint at Meadows, the only one ever built, it never made production)

Robin has recently sold the Zeta Sport and its new owner who has been in touch with me and has started restoration

I understand only 51 Zeta Sports were built along with two prototypes. All were built in 1961 although they were not offered for sale until April 1964.

In 1971 Lightburn sold of all the spares.

I am not an expert on the Zeta Sport but have for the last 30 years run the register for the Frisky cars which are of course close cousins. They were built at the factory founded by my grandfather, Henry Meadows perhaps more famous for its Meadows Engines that powered such cars as Lagonda, Frazer Nash, Lea Francis HRG, Invicta etc etc.

It is not surprising that Robin Heath is confused about the Zeta Sport history as a lot of the information given by Lightburn in their sales literature was incorrect. As one Zeta enthusiast said to me Lightburn were never one to let the facts get in the way of a good story!! But then they are not alone in that and it is a very attractive car.

A link to more info on Bedson and the Frisky in my earlier post for those who are interested

Regards to you all

John Meadows


#33 David McKinney

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 17:55

. They were built at the factory founded by my grandfather, Henry Meadows perhaps more famous for its Meadows Engines that powered such cars as Lagonda, Frazer Nash, Lea Francis HRG, Invicta etc etc.

Thank you John for answering a question I asked more than 50 years ago

As a schoolboy fascinated by all things motoring, I wrote to the Frisky manufacturers asking if they were descended from the engine company, and the reply was something along the lines of "we have no connection" - which didn't answer my question :|

(I did subsequently establish the link)


#34 Pullman99

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:32

To the best of my knowledge Robin Heath had only the one Zeta Sport that may have been one of the prototypes. Robin has recently sold the Zeta Sport and its new owner who has been in touch with me and has started restoration It is not surprising that Robin Heath is confused about the Zeta Sport history as a lot of the information given by Lightburn in their sales literature was incorrect.


Thank you so much John. This has helped considerably as I did assume that the car Robin owned at the time had basically nothing to do with Bluebird or Donald Campbell apart from the manufacturer's connection. I am both amazed and delighted that so many people have responded and contributed to this thread.

Thank you too for the reminder about the tremendous contribution made to the story of motoring made by your grandfather's company. I was aware of the Frisky's ancestry, even if the company appears not to have acknowledged it at the time! :up:

All the best.

Ian

Edited by Pullman99, 30 January 2011 - 15:05.


#35 Pullman99

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:58

If it's any help, the picture of Bluebird CN7 was taken in 1963, while still sponsored by BP, the record fell the next year while sponsored by Ampol. Biggest clue is the camera pod on the tailfin, installed by BP for the film "How Long A Mile", for '64 the pod and BP were gone!


Thanks Steve. I haven't looked at this footage for a while but I think that where the 1963 material is re-used the pod appears and disappears with some regularity! Am I correct in saying that the pod has been at Filching Manor for some years?

BP of course were basically left without a film in 1963 and eventually produced "Muloorina" about Elliot Price and his sheep station with Bluebird and the LSR attempt being very much an incidental theme. I have looked it up on the BFI site and note that the production company is listed as R.H.R. productions and released through the Film Producerss Guild. Director was David Cobham and with music by John Barry! Maybe he needed the work! BP made some superb documentaries at that period and I remember seeing quite a few of them at school. Some used to crop up as test films in the early days of colour television (1960s) here in the UK. Much later I got to know the late Bill Mason (Nick's father) when he was producing their "History of the Motor Car" series in the 1970s. He did tell me about David Cobham's clearly very frustrating time in Australia in 1963 and the need to convert huge amounts of shot material into something that BP could actually make promotional use of. I am aware that the whole episode of Donald parting company with BP was more than somewhat acrimonious.

The main documentary of the successful 1964 attempt was produced by Ajax Films for Dunlop (and possibly Ampol too) and this does seem to incorporate some of the 1963 footage as well - including the screen appearance of one of the Zetas. Plus, of course, Donald incorporated this into his own film "How Long a Mile" with all the new material being shot around the WWSR attempt. Had some involvement with this at Beaulieu, but that's another story!


#36 Catalina Park

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 06:22

Today on Ebay... Ultra Rare Zeta by Lightburn full colour 8 pg brochure

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 12:57

That'll fetch more than most Zetas would a few years ago...

That is, if it sells!

#38 f1steveuk

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 13:17

Thanks Steve. I haven't looked at this footage for a while but I think that where the 1963 material is re-used the pod appears and disappears with some regularity! Am I correct in saying that the pod has been at Filching Manor for some years?

BP of course were basically left without a film in 1963 and eventually produced "Muloorina" about Elliot Price and his sheep station with Bluebird and the LSR attempt being very much an incidental theme. I have looked it up on the BFI site and note that the production company is listed as R.H.R. productions and released through the Film Producerss Guild. Director was David Cobham and with music by John Barry! Maybe he needed the work! BP made some superb documentaries at that period and I remember seeing quite a few of them at school. Some used to crop up as test films in the early days of colour television (1960s) here in the UK. Much later I got to know the late Bill Mason (Nick's father) when he was producing their "History of the Motor Car" series in the 1970s. He did tell me about David Cobham's clearly very frustrating time in Australia in 1963 and the need to convert huge amounts of shot material into something that BP could actually make promotional use of. I am aware that the whole episode of Donald parting company with BP was more than somewhat acrimonious.

The main documentary of the successful 1964 attempt was produced by Ajax Films for Dunlop (and possibly Ampol too) and this does seem to incorporate some of the 1963 footage as well - including the screen appearance of one of the Zetas. Plus, of course, Donald incorporated this into his own film "How Long a Mile" with all the new material being shot around the WWSR attempt. Had some involvement with this at Beaulieu, but that's another story!



Hi Ian, yep the tail pod and the two others (under the nose and under the tail) are also at Filching.

I think Beaulieu now have the only complete version of How Long A Mile as BP had the short version (as you say) and when asked some years ago, it had "gone", and the NMM one was put together out of some reels they already had, and some that turned up in a suitcase Tonia had. Steve Vokins held a special night to show the complete thing again for the first time in years, and I went with Ken Norris. It certainly was an editing nightmare though!!

#39 Maso1947

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 22:45

A bit of drag racing history.
My name is Ken Mason and in the late 60's built an altered drag car using the Lightburn Zeta body the body was fibreglass with lightweight metal doors and no window winders the door glass slid on tracks.This car raced at Castelreagh Drags in the outskirts of Sydney .
The chassis was tubular frame with transverse leaf sring axle at the front and solid rear end.
Powerplant was 200 cub inch fuel injected Ford Falcon inline 6 cylinder coupled to an early Holden 3 speed box and Vanguard rear end.The Falcon engine was a challenge to keep reliable without breaking and the conrods were boxed with steel the overhead rocker shaft required special posts to be made for supporting each end due to the heavy valve spring pressure. We also made falcon engines for speedway and hydroplane racing at the time and were successful with all three forms of racing using the Falcon 6 cylinder powerplants.
If by chance anyone knew where this car was I would be interested in restoring it (but is probably on a rubbish tip) my contact No. is 0408 296 593

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#40 Pullman99

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:51

A bit of drag racing history. My name is Ken Mason and in the late 60's built an altered drag car using the Lightburn Zeta body....If by chance anyone knew where this car was I would be interested in restoring it (but is probably on a rubbish tip)


Hi Ken,

Thanks for contributing another snippet of info on the Lighburn Zeta saga. I had previously noted a reference to your drag racer based on the Zeta body. Good luck with tracing it. My interest is primarily the 4 Zetas used in connection with the Bluebird CN7 LSR project at Lake Eyre in 1963 / 64 and would still be interested to know if an identifiable car from that attempt has survived

Lightburn Zeta to the top of the Forum yet again!

Edited by Pullman99, 03 March 2011 - 06:51.


#41 Catalina Park

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 07:22

For anyone with an interest in Lake Eyre should take a look at this link...
http://www.lakeeyreyc.com/

#42 Pullman99

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:01

For anyone with an interest in Lake Eyre should take a look at this link...


Yes indeed! I know that contributors to this Forum have expressed concern over the recent devastating flooding in Australia (and the earthquake in New Zealand). I guess that Lake Eyre may be in a flooded condition for some time to come so the yacht club may be in business for a while yet.

Best wishes from the UK.

#43 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 09:02

For anyone with an interest in Lake Eyre should take a look at this link...
http://www.lakeeyreyc.com/

Lake Eyre is suitable for water speed records at the moment. Land speed will be areal trouble as there is a lot of water there at the moment!

#44 Andrew Stevens

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 18:27

My Zeta experience is tied to the aforementioned Paul Blank's car - we got it up to third gear in reverse once before chickening out... that and the fuel 'gauge' was a tube on the dash attached to the fuel tank in the scuttle so that you got an idea of how much was left in the tank... Got to be well into the top ten of worst cars ever I think!

Edited by Andrew Stevens, 03 March 2011 - 18:27.


#45 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 20:45

My Zeta experience is tied to the aforementioned Paul Blank's car - we got it up to third gear in reverse once before chickening out... that and the fuel 'gauge' was a tube on the dash attached to the fuel tank in the scuttle so that you got an idea of how much was left in the tank... Got to be well into the top ten of worst cars ever I think!

But very versatile. You could buy twin tub and concrete mixer parts at the same parts counter!

#46 GMACKIE

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 21:02

My Zeta experience is tied to the aforementioned Paul Blank's car - we got it up to third gear in reverse once before chickening out... that and the fuel 'gauge' was a tube on the dash attached to the fuel tank in the scuttle so that you got an idea of how much was left in the tank... Got to be well into the top ten of worst cars ever I think!

Along with the Lloyd Hartnett, another Aussie beast. If you asked me "What was the worst car you have ever driven", the Lloyd would be right at the top! Nice little 600cc engine, but diabolical to drive.


#47 Pullman99

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 08:36

I am posting this on behalf of Robin Heath who has (or had) one of the Zeta Sports models. He has enquired separately on the Guest Book section of The Bluebird Project website but I don't think that he's a member here.

"Do you have any photos of Zeta cars at lake Eyre or photos of Donald Campbell at the start of the 1964 Ampol Trial as I am researching a project for the National Motor Museum in Adelaide in preparation for a display at the Museum in the next three years. I hope you have K7 running for the 50th Aniversary of her Australian campaign as it is the main record we wish to remember I was in Adelaide when Donald was so I remember well the excitement and history of that time."

Thanks. Robin Heath

I will forward any responses.

Edited by Pullman99, 04 March 2011 - 08:37.


#48 275 GTB-4

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 10:06

Well...here are two Zeta's I saw today now destined to be saved from the scrapper...interesting vehicles! :yawnface:

 

P1010533Zeta_zps8c965572.jpg

 

P1010530Zetapnt_zps53373080.jpg

 

97e5c041-741e-455c-a4cc-943aff35d964_zps


Edited by 275 GTB-4, 12 October 2013 - 10:31.


#49 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:26

The scrapper won't miss them...

 

Too much fibreglass.



#50 arttidesco

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:03

A bit of drag racing history.
My name is Ken Mason and in the late 60's built an altered drag car using the Lightburn Zeta body the body was fibreglass with lightweight metal doors and no window winders the door glass slid on tracks.This car raced at Castelreagh Drags in the outskirts of Sydney .
The chassis was tubular frame with transverse leaf sring axle at the front and solid rear end.
Powerplant was 200 cub inch fuel injected Ford Falcon inline 6 cylinder coupled to an early Holden 3 speed box and Vanguard rear end.The Falcon engine was a challenge to keep reliable without breaking and the conrods were boxed with steel the overhead rocker shaft required special posts to be made for supporting each end due to the heavy valve spring pressure. We also made falcon engines for speedway and hydroplane racing at the time and were successful with all three forms of racing using the Falcon 6 cylinder powerplants.
If by chance anyone knew where this car was I would be interested in restoring it (but is probably on a rubbish tip) my contact No. is 0408 296 593

 

Sorry no info on the whereabouts of your car now but found this linked photo of Bill Palmer in an altered Zeta is it the same car as yours Ken ?