Zeta Beginnings


How then did a Washing Machine manufacturer ever contemplate thinking of entering into the Automotive field?

To know the Managing Director, Mr Harold Lightburn, was the answer. He had an overall plan to employ ten thousand people, and this venture was to play a major part in this plan. To outlay millions of dollars on an Automotive program and wait three years for it to materialize, was not in his thinking. He was to take the simple approach. His planning with the model approved, schedule a launch in twelve months. An impossible task; not at all in the method he planned. The approach was within our company’s capabilities. We were already making hydraulic jacks, trailer axles, and other automotive components, and had probably the best Reinforced Fibre Glass Plant in Australia. He instructed that the plastics department, in conjunction with his Engineers, should develop a complete Automobile body, using Reinforced Fibre Glass Plastics.

Our Engineers, with the complete understanding of this material and many hours of hard work, provided the Managing Director, with the moulds and technical know how to manufacture the Zeta Car on schedule. This was his answer to the low cost tooling programme and a delay of only twelve months. During this period the chassis was also being designed and built, the specifications again, set down by the Managing Director. The chassis was to compliment the plastic body both in technology and performance. It was assembled from strong steel stampings, arc welded together, and torque tested for strength and rigidity. After inspection and painted, it was fitted with the running units, wheels, brakes, shock absorbers, hydraulics, steering gear, floor and seating. Tp this was added the Villiers Engine, fuel system, gear selection, and the exhaust system. At this stage the chassis was able to be driven, road tested, adjusted and stamped for approval, and then passed to the final assembly line for body installation.