1963 Zeta saloon

1963 Zeta saloon

The unorthodox-looking Zeta saloon was a multipurpose Australian family car using a mixture of locally made and imported parts.

Produced in Adelaide by Lightburn & Company Ltd from 1963, it was made in small numbers until 1966.

The Zeta was claimed to be the first vehicle sold in Australia which combined the attributes of a sedan, wagon and light delivery truck. Its two-door fibreglass body was an ungainly but ingenious design with seats which could be folded flat or quickly removed to provide a large cargo area. The seats could also be fitted to the roof to provide a grandstand view at sporting events!

The low-priced four-passenger car weighed only 436 kg. Power came from a Villiers 324 cc two-stroke engine driving the front wheels through a Burman motorcycle gearbox. The wheelbase was 1.88 metres. Handling was nervous at best.

Harold Lightburn, whose main business was producing car jacks, concrete-mixers and power tools, announced ambitious plans to build 50 Zeta cars a week but only 363 were made over a three-year period.

In 1964 a two-seater Zeta sports car was also built by Lightburn. The Zeta Sports was powered by a 500 cc two-stroke engine made by the German FMR company. The engine developed 16 kW, giving the Zeta a claimed top speed of 120 km/h.

Only 48 Zeta Sports were made.

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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