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Lucas 1130A Sidelamps … eh? ‘A’ What?

We are all familiar with the common garden variety Lucas 1130 sidelamp, but did you know there is an 1130A?

The discovery
The sidelamps on my ’37 TA had scars and bruises from poor care, so I decided to restore a better pair from the bits boxes. That done, I had another look at the original ones and noticed the model number was 1130A. I called Anthony Pearson of Vintage and Classic Bulbs and he verified that this was a pre-war version. That sounded good – certainly fitted the car year, and were probably the originals, considering how well they had ‘grown’ onto the wing. He said they had an interesting feature in that the red dot medallions were glass, not plastic.

I cleaned them and was pleased when they proved to be glass. This is good, because they won’t become ‘frizzled’ with age. I knew then that I had to reconsider the importance of these lamps, and set about restoration, the objective being to refit them to their rightful and original place atop the wings. After much time and effort, I repaired them well enough for re-plating.

Now finished, I decided to document their differences for the interest of others.

The why?
Being an ‘A’ model, it would be usual to assume it was a subsequent production to the parent 1130, whenever that was. Without further model information, it is hard to understand why this version was created, as it is effectively the same as the common 1130, with the differences only noticeable after close scrutiny. Were there other models – B, C, etc? But why make a more intricate item hardly different from the standard unit and, it would seem, of low production and higher cost?

The interesting bits
There are several differences between the two models as you can see. The 1130 is on the left and the 1130A on the right.

The obvious external variations are the body is longer, the medallion is set back further, and the rim screw is a smaller diameter – 5BA versus 4BA. Importantly, the medallion is entirely different in the unseen area. Whereas the standard medallion is
pushed in from the top, these are inserted from below. For the medallion to be held in this position, it has a flange around the bottom edge which seats on the inside edge of the hole.

When the hole is punched, the edge is folded back 180⁰ against the body for about a millimetre all round to match the diameter of the medallion flange, leaving the fingers projecting downward, to be bent over after inserting the medallion. The internal picture above shows this locking detail.

Extra care to take
The parts that should not be lost therefore, are the screws and medallions as they are probably not available anywhere.

It is fortunate in that, though the original internal parts were damaged and rusted, these lamps were complete. Standard reproduction plastic medallions may fit the hole but would need some sort of gluing to hold in place and to seal from water entry. Chrome replacement 5BA screws, or a substitute of some sort, may be available but they are unlikely to be the original Lucas style, such as the pilot tip.

These lamps being pre-war, others with pre-war unmolested cars of any make may have this mysterious 1130A model.

It is possible both styles were co-produced and even possible that either version was fitted on production lines, depending on supply.

I guarantee that if I had one of each on the car, that a scrutineer at a concours would not pick up the difference.

Miscellany
As an aside, another interesting item I picked up in my travels is the red lens fitted to the standard 1130 shown here.

I picked up a pair of genuine red glass lenses by chance from a Lucas agent. I don’t know what application these had when in-vogue, possibly tail/stop lamps for different housings, eg fitted into body pressings instead of pods. Or for commercial vehicles?

Who knows? Note the rims are much slimmer than standard. These lenses will make good auxiliary stop/tail lamps in period style.

One thing is guaranteed, with a classic car, something new will be discovered and to share.

Peter Lloyd

On The Marque March 2020

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