Monday, May 17, 2010

Was Washing Machine, Now about a car.

I don't suppose there was more than one model made, so it must have been the same as this one. The Lightburn washing machine, firstly owned by my grandmother and then passed on to my mother. It was called a twin tub, but the washing tub rather resembled a concrete mixer. With only a chip heater to heat bath water, Mother used an electric immersion heater to heat the water in the machine. It was a very efficient clothes washer........and destroyer of fine clothes, buttons, zips, in fact pretty well anything except a pair of tough dungarees.

So it is not so strange that Lightburn also made concrete mixers. Lightburn was an Adelaide company and wait for it, the company was so pleased with its washing machine and concrete mixer effort, they made a motor car. It was produced between 1963 and 1966 and they managed to sell 363 units. The car had a fibreglass body, a two stroke engine which drove the front wheels and it could travel as fast backwards as it could forwards, which wasn't terribly fast but possibly alarming if you were in reverse. Mr Lightburn's intention was to knock car maker Holden off its perch, but who knows why, this did not happen.

The Zeta did have some good points. The front seats could be removed and clipped to the roof to use the car roof as a viewing platform for sporting events etc. But generally motorists found the most use for the seats on the roof as a comfortable place to wait for the roadside service van, while peering up the road for the man who they had now had quite an intimate relationship with.

It ain't what you would call pretty.

9 comments:

  1. Oddly enough I don't find it particularly offensive to look at. I've only ever seen them in white though. The design recalls Alec Issigonis somewhat more successful automotive design. You probably know it better as the Mini.

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  2. Front is not so bad perhaps Mutant, but the back is horrible. Reminds me a bit of a Hillman Imp. I can see why the Mini succeeded and the Zeta did not.

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  3. Haha, reminds me of the paddock basher my brother and I used tro race around in as kids on teh farm. I bet it is as tough as anything and near impossible to roll even if you made up stumps to go over...like we used to, hehe

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  4. Ours was a Morris Minor van Cazzie. What was yours?

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  5. Funky looking vehicle, and I love the fact that you can strap your seats to the roof! How very drive in

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  6. The Zeta reminds me of that feat of East German engineering, the Trabi. Not exactly pretty, but looked on with fond nostalgia.

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  7. Raelene, I thought of drive ins too.

    Same here MD. Trabi was probably caused the beginning of the greenhouse effect with the fumes they emitted.

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  8. That washing machine looks like a commode to me....

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  9. Well Victor, I don't think you would want to sit on it for too long, especially if the spin dryer was on. It almost dried clothes.

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