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1964 Zeta Sports

Australia is a land of huge open spaces, and Australians tended to look towards America for their automotive needs. Nevertheless, Lightburn and Co. of Camden near Adelaide , makers of tools, cement mixers, washing machines and fiberglass boats, perceived a need for a minicar.

The rights to the British Anzani- built Astra car were obtained, but a new fiberglass station wagon body designed and built for it. Called the Zeta, the car was a hideous assemblage of jutting, ill-conceived shapes and angles, with tailfins on the roof. There was no tailgate. The familiar Villiers 324cc twin powered the front wheels. Despite participation in the 1964 Ampol 7000-mile cross-country trial, the car remained a curiosity only.

1958 saw the introduction of the 'Frisky Sprint' sports car by Frisky Cars Ltd.
Designed by Gordon Bedson the car was powered by a 3 cylinder 492 cc Excelsior motor that took the prototype to 90 mph. The car made its appearance at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show but never entered production.

Next year at the 1959 Earls Court Show Gordon Bedson met Harold Lightburn, the owner of the Lightburn Company and the following spring went over to Australia to work on a new sports car.

Bedson took a chassis and some Frisky Sports with him to Australia along with drawings of the Sprint and a supply of fifty motors by Fichtel&Sachs, the 493cc engine from the legendary FMR "Tiger". The Lightburn Zeta Sports although based on and similar in appearance to the Frisky Sprint, is not a Sprint.

The original Frisky Sprint did have doors- shallow bottom-hinged ones, but they were deleted in the interests of strength. The windshield was changed, the tail restyled, and the final drive altered. The car did not meet New South Wales' lighting regulations, so some were fitted with additional free-standing headlamps on the hood. It seems most Zeta Sports were built in 1961, but the car was not introduced until the summer of 1964 for some reason. While Lightburn had a network of Alfa Romeo dealerships at the ready, they were underwhelmed by orders, and only some 28 were sold.

Manufacturer: Lightburn & Co. Ltd., Camden Australia

Model: Sports Motor: F. M. R., 2-stroke Body : Fiberglass
Years Built: June 1964 - 1966 No. Cylinders: 2 Chassis: Steel tube
No. Produced: 28 Displacement: 494 cc Suspension Front: Strut
No. Surviving: 6 Horsepower: 20.5 Suspension Rear: Coil
Length: 3225 mm Gearbox: 4 + rev Steering: Rack
Width: 1498 mm Starter: Dynastart Brakes: Hydraulic
Weight: 399 kg Electrics: 12 v 4 Wheels: 5.20 x 10"
Interior: bench Ignition: 2 x Coil Top Speed: 125 kph

© 2002