Selecting The Right Toggle Switch For Your Classic Car

At Holden Vintage & Classic we offer a range of toggle switches for your classic car, including both Lucas and reproduction Lucas varieties.

If you are less familiar with the purpose of a toggle switch, we’re happy to explain.
Almost every function performed by your classic vehicle involves a switch – whether it be a lever switch, push button or a toggle switch. A toggle switch in particular is manually operated by moving a short handle and has a ‘springing’ action, giving you the ability to control the flow of electricity through a circuit. They are more commonplace within classic cars than modern vehicles and can handle a large voltage.

Lucas toggle switches come in licensed and reproduction varieties but there’s very little difference between the two. Lucas toggle switches feature copper terminals as opposed to steel and the reproduction is very slightly thinner. Having said that, they’re both rated at the same ampage and are built to the highest standard, often used by many of the top international motor sport teams including McLaren, Prodrive and Williams.

In the above video, Julian Parker, Managing Director, explains how to use toggle switches to meet the particular requirements of your classic car. Some of the most common toggle switches available on our website include long level toggle switches, Lucas levers and stainless toggle switches.

To see our full range, click here.

Sports Bucket Seats


If you’re looking for a sports bucket seat that provides you with optimal support while driving, we’re pleased to offer high quality trimmed or untrimmed seats in a range of colours and styles, including custom options.

Each bucket seat is hand made locally and is specifically designed to provide optimal lateral support and weight distribution, which is especially important while cornering. Thanks to its lightweight steel shell and sturdy wooden base, as well as the removable back cushion, you’ll feel confident that the sports bucket seat can hold you safely and securely without compromising on comfort.

In the video, Julian Parker demonstrates how a modern sports bucket seat can be installed into both old and newer cars alike. If you’re installing a sports bucket seat into an older model, it could be you’re able to use the existing runners, but if not, we sell runners separately. Julian also gives you a glimpse of the 1955 Morgan +4 that’s beginning a long and labour intensive restoration in the Holden Morgan service and restoration bay which you can read more about here.

Should you wish to choose a colour other than black, all you need to do is send in a sample of your preferred colour and we’ll do our very best to match it. After you’ve approved the final colour choice, we’ll get to work at creating your custom seat. While most of our sports bucket seats are finished in leather, PVC material is also available.

For the full range, including trimmed and untrimmed seats, head over to our page.

 

Powerlite Starter Motors

 


At Holden Vintage & Classic, we have in stock a huge range of Powerlite starter motors, so no matter which classic car you drive, we’ll be able to quickly supply a Powerlite starter motor to replace your original unit.

Powerlite have been supplying rotating electrics to the automotive industry for ten years and are based in the West Midlands not far at all from the Holden premises.

The motors are lightweight (about half the weight of the original) and also offer increased cranking speeds and power when compared to your original unit. There’s also a lot less strain on your car’s battery. Upon installation, no modifications are required to your vehicle as they work for both positive and negative polarity.

In the video, Julian shows the main differences in appearance and functionality between an original unit and Powerlite starter motor. You can also look at our range of Powerlite products by clicking here.

Julian Parker Explains Why We Use Magnecor

 

Magnecor are a leading manufacturer of high performance ignition leadsets. Made in the UK from high specification conductors, each set is specially designed to fit with ease onto your classic car distributor, and caters for both push fit caps and side entry caps.
When using a push fit cap, the Magnecor leads simply push down on top, and you’ll also notice that each lead is conveniently marked so that you can connect it without confusion. For side entry caps, the grub screw inside will fit with the Magnecor cable, and it’s important to select a Magnecor cable that has been specifically designed for this purpose.

Some of the fantastic Magnecor products we have on offer include:

Austin Healey 100/6 2.6 with Side Entry Distributor

This stainless steel conductor provides radio frequency interference suppression and a capacitive reserve to help ignition coil regeneration at high engine revolutions. It is surrounded by an EPDM insulator with fibreglass reinforcement, and covered with high temperature resistant silicone rubber. This set is for the Austin Healey 100/6 2.6 litre with carburettors and side entry distributor cap.

Triumph TR4 (Screw In Type)

This set is for the Triumph TR4 with screw in type distributor cap. It features radio frequency interface suppression, and is surrounded by an EPDM insulator with fibreglass reinforcement. As you would expect from any high quality product of this type, it also features high temperature resistant rubber.
Watch our video to hear more from Julian Parker, Managing Director, about finding the right Magnecor leadset for your classic motor. Then head over to our dedicated Magnecor product page and select the right leadset for you.

Plug Caps and Leads For Your Classic Car

Plug leads and caps make up vital components of your classic car which is why we are pleased to offer a range of reliable leads and caps from reputable brand names.

 
Our high performance plug leads have a robust outer coating so that they’re able to withstand higher temperatures – a feature that’s vital for classic cars. We also offer sturdy copper core cotton braided leads and modern graphite cable (note that graphite requires a metal connector in order to link to the appropriate cap).

 
Plug caps are split into two categories – suppressed and non suppressed and can be angled or straight. Both types of plug caps contain a metal element that screws onto the lead. It’s advisable that you cut the lead cleanly and form a small hole at the end in order to produce a better fit when fixing the two together.

 
Of course, it’s important you pair the right lead with the correct plug cap. A failure to do this can cause the plug cap to blow. Watch our exclusive video featuring Julian Parker, Managing Director of Holden Vintage & Classic, who explains more about finding the right plug leads and caps for your classic motor.

 

Plug caps we supply include:

Champion Right Angle Waterproof Plug Cap (Suppressed)
KLG Right Angled Spark Plug Cap (Not Suppressed)
Straight Suppressed Spark Plug Cap

Leads we supply include:

Copper Core Cotton Braided
Standard HT
Suppressed Graphite

Head over to our dedicated page now to place your order.

Is Your Classic Car Ready For Summer?

With the May bank holiday behind us, it’s safe to say that summer is well and truly on its way. But is your classic motor ready to hit the road again? Many owners tuck their classic cars away in the winter, anxiously anticipating the arrival of warmer weather. But that means you need to be extra vigilant in ensuring your motor is in optimal condition before taking it for a top-down spin around the countryside.

Here’s some basic checks you can complete before you embark on your next driving adventure:

 
Tyres and Brakes

 
It’s critical to make sure your tyres are in tip-top condition, so check the pressure first and that the tread is still legal. Then, hunt for any cracks in the tyre walls, along with any stones or nails that have potentially burrowed their way in during the winter and tighten the wheel nuts. As for the brakes, make sure the pads have plenty of life left in them and that the fluid levels are correct. If the brake pedals feel spongey when you push down on them, you may need to bleed the breaking system to remove any air and replace the brake fluid.

 
Oil

 
Check your oil level. If it’s low, you’ll need to top it up before you get going. Castrol classic oil is a superior product specifically designed for vintage and classic cars because it remains the right consistency at hotter temperatures and features less detergent than modern oils. To learn more about why Castrol oil is the best oil product for your classic car, click here.

 
Cooling System

 
It is vital to have an efficient cooling system in an older vehicle to prevent overheating. Check all parts within the system, including the hose, seals and radiator for leaks as well as the fan belt. You should also watch out for any perishing in rubber pipes. Should you need replacement radiator hoses, joiners or valves, you can find these on our dedicated page. Don’t forget to top up the coolant!

 
Lights, Wipers and Battery

 
Starting at the front of the car, test your main beam, side lights, fog lights, indicators and dipped beam. It usually helps to have a second person present to do this. Then move to the back and check the brake lights, reversing light and fog lights. Should any of these be faulty, use our Speedy Delivery Service to order yourself some bulbs. Ensure your wipers are in good condition with no ‘scudding’ on the screen. Should your wipers seem a tad worn out or damaged, order some more from our dedicated wiper page. As for the battery, you may have left this to trickle charge over the winter, in which case simply make sure you have enough charge to get going.

 
Clean and wax

 
You want your classic motor to look spick and span for the road, right? During the winter your motor will have likely acquired some grime and muck from the atmosphere. In which case, give it a wash with some good quality shampoo conditioner, wipe down the windows, clean out the wheels, and finish up with a touch of wax for that extra shine.

 
We know you can’t wait to get out and about in your classic vehicle again. But safety is paramount, so these simple checks are essentially before you get behind the wheel after an extended break.

What To Wear To Classic Motoring Events

Are you geared up for the vast array of fantastic motoring events this summer? May alone has many opportunities across the country to get out and about in your classic motor with the top down and a picnic in the boot. But if you’re going to go the full measure, you’ll want to look the part – that’s where we can help.

Perhaps you’re not sure what to wear to a motoring event, or feel your wardrobe needs a bit of a motoring makeover. Whatever it is, we have a huge range of authentic and stylish motoring clothing for both men and women in stock for you to choose from. Here’s some examples:
Mens Clothing

Woodcote gloves

Driving gloves not only look smart, but can protect your classic wheel from wear! Their design ensures maximum grip as you cruise through the countryside and keeps your fingers warm if you’ve taken the top down. They look especially sophisticated with a leather jacket and are sold in a variety of styles and colours.

Made to Measure Flying Jacket

Are you the kind of person that finds clothes never quite fit the way you want? If so, no worries. We have a made to measure service that allows you to wear this merino lambskin leather flying jacket with confidence. It also features slant pockets, tan coloured wool and a collar fastening.

Grand Prix Gulf Jacket

Look the part in this padded men’s Steve McQueen style Gulf Jacket. It features original colours and logos from the 1960s, external and internal pockets, metal zip and press stud at the collar. This is a truly authentic item of motoring clothing.

Suixtil Racing Trousers

This authentic rendition of the Suixtil race pants from the 1950s and 1960s will transport you right back to the heydays of motor racing. It’s constructed from pure cotton fine twill, with a comfort fit waistband and ankle cuffs. The inside leg is 32 inches.

Suixtil Targa Pima Red Long Sleeved Polo

Feel comfortable and stand out with this vibrant red long sleeved polo shirt. Perfect for all-day-wear thanks to its breathable cotton material, this men’s long sleeved shirt gives you that ‘fresh off the race track” look.

Grenfell Harrington Jacket

You’ll be in good company if you choose to wear a Glenfell Harrington jacket. Grenfell cloth has been worn by some of the fastest men in motoring history. Sir Stirling Moss drove for years in Grenfell Cloth, notably the Milli Miglia and British Grand Prix victories of 1955. Grenfell are particularly proud to have been associated with Sir Malcolm Campbell who wore Grenfell racing suits for both his 1931 and 1935 records.

Holden Overalls

Look the part in these traditional mechanics style overalls. Featuring ”BP Motor Spirit” printing on the back and a Holden logo on the front, this men’s outfit is perfect for serious classic motorists who are looking for comfortable clothing with a difference. It also has detachable arm bands to add to the authentic look, as well as an elasticated waist for an optimal fit.

Ladies Clothing

Belstaff Hairpin Waxed Jacket

Look smart and feel confident in this leather padded waxed jacket by Belstaff. It features an adjustable neck strap, pockets, adjustable gussets and built in belt for both a sophisticated and versatile look. Perfect for pairing with denim jeans and a chic pair of boots.

Gobi Sheepskin Hat

This gorgeous dark brown leather hat with honey coloured lambs wool trim is the perfect punctuation mark to your motoring outfit. Protect your hair and ears from wind as you drive down the open roads, and feel comfortable and snug on a cooler day.

Jack Murphy Tweed Jacket

Look smart and sophisticated in this high quality British wool tweed jacket. It features deep pockets, stylish moleskin detailing on the collar and elbow pads as well as back vents and royal blue inner lining. Perfect for any lady who likes to stay warm and look fantastic in her classic motor.

Scarves and Neck Tubes

Every lady loves to accessorise, and this should be no different when it comes to your classic motoring clothing. We’re proud to supply a range of neck tubes and scarves, as well as face masks, to give you optimal comfort when driving around in your classic vehicle.

Dents Ladies Driving Gloves

Treat yourself to a pair of luxurious soft leather gloves by Dents. Dents have been making the world’s finest leather gloves in England since 1777. Made from 100% sheep leather, these ladies driving gloves are soft to touch and will keep your classic wheel protected at the same time.

Vintage Motoring Cap

Complete your outfit with this stylish vintage motoring cap. Unlike regular caps, this design gives room for your hair and is specially constructed to not fly off when you’re driving at speed. It also looks particularly fetching with a pair of driving goggles.

Or, if you’d like to see more from our range, head over to our dedicated page now.

 

Why It’s Important To Bleed Your Classic Car Brakes

If you’ve ever had to perform an emergency stop, you’ll know just how critical it is to have an optimally functioning braking system on your classic vehicle.
And much the same way that other systems in your classic car need servicing and maintaining, your brakes are no different. One effective way to preserve the integrity of your classic car’s braking system is through a process referred to as ‘brake bleeding’, which is why we’ve made our Silverline Brake Bleeding Kit our Product Of The Week.


So what does it mean to bleed a brake? And why is it so essential?

Well, the entire braking system within your classic motor is dependent on the hydraulic power of brake fluid to function. However, over time, moisture and air are introduced into the system, which take their toll on the effectiveness of the brakes themselves. Have you ever felt a spongey sensation when pushing down on the brake pedal? Or perhaps noticed that the pedal is reaching closer to the carpet than it usually does while waiting at the traffic lights? This is an indication that air has entered the system through the brake lines, usually because brake fluid level dropped too low in the master cylinder reservoir.

The bleeding process essentially removes the air from the master cylinder, brake lines, callipers and wheel cylinders. When you do this, the brake fluid itself will also need to be replaced because it will likely be contaminated with atmospheric dirt and may have absorbed moisture from the air resulting in a lower boiling point of the fluid – so giving it a fresh batch of fluid will inevitably result in an improvement in its braking quality.
Typically a brake should only be bled every couple of years, but brakes that are exhibiting unusual behaviours is indicative that bleeding may be required.

The principle of the Silverline Brake Bleeding Kit is to ”suck” the fluid through the system using a vacuum pump. It’s easy to use, even for beginners, as the kit contains a handy pressure pump and all other necessary accessories to enable you to perform one-person bleeding without the need to depress the brake pedal.
If you’d like to learn more about brake bleeding kits or place an order for your classic car, head over to our dedicated page today.

Why We Recommend Cibie Lighting Systems

Drivers don’t tend to pay much attention to the lights on their cars, unless of course they’re failing. But as you know, they’re absolutely critical to a car’s overall functionality, and without them it simply can’t run. That’s why it’s essential to install lights onto a classic car that are hardwearing, reliable and don’t require a second thought once you’ve hit the road.

While many believe that Lucas or Bosche are the largest producers of car lights, you may be surprised to know that Cibie actually take first place.
Founded in 1919 by a young French technically talented man called Leon Cibie, the company benefitted from the get-go from his lighting expertise and enthusiasm. With a love for all vehicles, not just motor cars but aircrafts too, Cibie helped revolutionise what was, at the time, emerging technology and create robust and effective lighting systems.

At the beginning of the First World War, Cibie was asked to develop and manufacture lighting systems for night-flying aircrafts and broke new ground by inventing the world’s first mobile lighting system, in which the generator was controlled by a voltage regulator and was used to light takeoff and landing strips.
The company continued to expand and by the end of the Second World War, the Cibie factory was located in Rue Haxo in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. Following the liberation of France, the company was nationalised and became the sole supplier of production headlamps for Renault – a relationship that continued for many decades to follow.
The factory in Rue Haxo was too small to keep up with the massive growth in Renault production and so it was transferred to Bobigny, where it covered nearly 12,000 m2.
In addition, Peugeot and Simca, as well as many other new customers, joined in using Cibie as their main supplier of car lights.

For the past few decades, Cibie have continued to be the top pick for driving lamps, sports lamps and fog lamps and have supplied to numerous motorsport teams and disciplines such as the Monte-Carlo rally and Le Mans series. The lights are very easy to fit, and classic motorists benefit from a powerful beam while enjoying minimised energy use and consumption.

The legendary Oscar is the most famous of all the sporting lamps, hailed throughout the motorsport world. Its trademarks include the chromed rim, black painted domed steel shell, and E marked hardened glass concave lens. It can also be used with a variety of lenses. Throughout the years, the Oscar has been fitted as original equipment to many of the worlds finest cars and used by many rally teams.

We’re proud to supply a huge selection of Cibie driving lamps, fog lamps and sports lamps, so head over to our dedicated Cibie page now and place your order.

Product Of The Week – Classic Castrol Oil

Choosing the correct engine oil for your classic motor is critical in ensuring it runs smoothly with maximum wear protection.

Older vehicles require a different formulation to newer models. Unlike engine oils for modern engines that are required to adhere with the most recent API ratings of SN/CF as well as ACEA and OEM specs, classic car oils tend to have somewhat opposing characteristics. They feature cork or graphite seals, a greater dependence on ‘splash’ or ‘cling’ lubrication as well as lower revving with greater machine clearances.

That’s where Classic Castrol Oil comes in.

Castrol is the world leading manufacturer and distributor of lubricating oils to the transportation industry. Based in the UK, the company operates directly in over 40 countries, with a delivery network that branches throughout over 140 countries.

Founded by Charles “Cheers” Wakefield in 1899, the company (named CC Wakefield& Company) began by producing lubricants for trains and heavy machinery before expanding to automobiles and planes in the early 20th Century. Faced with new engine types, a challenge existed in trying to manufacture an oil that was slippery enough in cooler temperatures and thick enough to withstand hotter temperatures in order to work efficiently. After some research, Wakefield noticed that adding castor oil created the ideal consistency – hence creating the brand name ‘Castrol’.

Promoting his product through the sponsorship of landspeed record attempts and motoring events, Wakefield was able to expand the brand, introducing new lines of lubricants catering to car manufacturer’s individual engines.

Since then, Castrol oil has played a key role in many exciting transporting events, from lubricating the largest ocean liner of its time’s maiden voyage in 1967 to having direct involvement in NASAs first ‘Rover’ mission to Mars in 2012. It’s probably safe to say that when Wakefield invented the substance he never imagined his product would end up assisting in an interplanetary space mission a century later!

So what is it about Castrol classic engine oil that sets it apart from the rest? Well, there are a number of things:

1. It remains the right consistency in hotter temperatures. This is very important because clogging can easily occur in the oil galleries if the oil becomes too thick.
2. It features less detergent than modern oils. In classic vehicles, carbon has built up over the years which can be scoured off by detergents, causing it to flake and create blockages. Sometimes this can cause oil leaks, because it breaks away carbon that is actually acting as a seal. So, Castrol uses less detergent to help maintain good vehicle health.
• Castrol oil has anti-wear additives which ensure that if there is a breakdown in the oil film between moving parts, permanent engine damage is prevented.
• It contains the correct anti corrosion inhibitors, so that the components are well protected.
• It is designed using the original formula as a foundation, but also with the latest appropriate technology and carefully balanced additives for optimal protection.

So which Castrol oil product is right for you? Well, the answer depends on your vehicle type and age. We have a wide range of Castrol engine oils, gear oils and two stroke oils so head over to our dedicated Castrol Oil page now and place your order.