Saturday, June 16, 2018

I’ve been busy!

I haven’t posted for some time but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing Heinkel things. Far from it! I restored a Heinkel 103 A1 scooter and I made this:

From this:

It’s taken me over three years, during which time I learned to weld, take a coach building / metal fabrication class, made my own bodywork tools, and hammered a lot of metal! Over half of the car is new metal that I either fabricated or got from Jim’s Microcars Parts.
Now it’s off to plastic fill and paint! I’ll be posting some snippets along the way so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tax Evader

Tax Evader

I purchased a collection of Heinkel parts recently and found this gear selector indicator:
Heinkel Cars and Kabines
Heinkel Car Gear Shift Selector

Notice anything missing?

It turns out that in the UK you could register a three wheeled vehicle as a motorcycle and pay less road tax. It must have been significant (or the purchasers of the vehicles were stingy) because there was a catch- the vehicle could not have a reverse gear.

Microcar manufacturers appear to have removed the reverse option in several ways:
  1. Don’t install a reverse gear;
  2. Make the cable or shift linkage in a way that it was impossible to access reverse (or fourth gear, take your pick);
  3. Make a shift selector that precludes shifting into reverse.
I’ve experienced the latter two. My first car had either 4th or reverse (not both) until I installed a longer cable from the UK club. And now here’s an example of a no-reverse shifter gate.
Heinkel Cars and Kabines
Heinkel Gear Selectors

Does anyone need one for an “authentic” restoration?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Midwest Microcar Museum

There’s a number of microcar collections in the United States, which is surprising if you stop and think that many of the cars you see there were never officially imported into the country. Anytime I’m anywhere close to one I always try to visit. The hosts are invariably fascinating and welcoming. Over the weekend I visited the Midwest MicroCar Museum in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. Mazomanie is about 20 miles northwest of Madison, the state capitol, and about a three hour drive from Chicago.  

Heinkel Cars, Kabines, and Trojans
The museum opened in August 2015
The museum is in a former blacksmith shop in the historic center of town. The owners of the collection, Ingrid and Carlo, have built up quite a collection of small cars and motorized bicycles over the years. Their son Sven found the building for sale on Craigslist, and as the say the rest is history. 
Heinkel Kabines and Cabin Scooters
The museum is in a historic blacksmith shop
I wanted to go to the museum because they had a Heinkel 153 in an original dark red color. This car is exactly the same color and model as a Heinkel I am currently restoring. It seems to be a mostly original car and has some special features including amber turn signals mounted below the headlights.
Heinkels, Trojans and Cabin Scooters
A Heinkel Kabine 153

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Heinkel Car Interior

That’s not the only Heinkel that they have. They also have a Perle, a two stroke moped that is rarely seen in the USA ("rare" is relative; there are only about 25 Kabines in the USA and maybe 5 Perles). 
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
The Heinkel Perle. Paint is hammered silver color

The Perle had a number of contemporaries from other German manufacturers such as NSU. They have a few of these as well, which are really quite beautiful.

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Other 1950's German Mopeds

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Another beautiful moped at the museum
Most of the cars are accompanied by informative signs that explain the history of the vehicles and provide some historical context. 
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Informative signage at the Microcar Musuem
They have a few American microcars, including a Bantam and a Croseley. 
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
American Bantam at the museum
I’m partial to the European cars because they tend to be the most unusual. One of my favorites was the  Biscuter from Spain, which is basically a micro version of a woody wagon.  
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
A Biscuter from France
 Some of the French cars tend to have the most unusual styling. Here’s an example of a 1951 Mochet.
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
1951 Mochet three wheeler

What English cars lack in styling they more than make up for in unusual engineering. A case in point is the Bond. This car is front wheel drive, but there’s only one wheel and it is attached the Villers engine which also turns. 

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Bond with moving engine

They have a variety of two wheeled vehicles, only a few of which are currently on display. They have acquired another building nearby in which they will display the two wheeled collection starting later this summer.

Here’s an example of a Valmobile foldable scooter. This was originally kept by a pilot in his plane for use as ground transportation. 
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters

There are a number of other cars to see as well. I’ve included some photos below:
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
A Goggomobil
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
I'm not sure what this is but I like the paint scheme
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
A Vespa 400

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
BMW Isetta

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Velorex- a fabric covered three wheeler from Czechoslovakia

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Messerschmitt 200

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooter
Vespa Ape- a 500 cc 3 wheeled industrial vehicle

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Another vehicle I can't identify!
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
A  Reliant Robin
You should definitely visit if you are any where nearby. They ask for donations, which they give to the town for charitable causes and local events.

Their address is 103 Crescent Street, Mazomanie, WI. You can find them on Facebook at, or thier website at,  Check with Facebook for open days.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jetex Carburetor Conversion

If you’ve read my blog you know that many Heinkels suffer from carburetor problems. Parts are no longer available for the original Pallas carburetors. The slides wear or they leak gas (and air), resulting in poor idle and a host of other issues. Even if you manage to get another Pallas carb, chances are it will be worn and you will run into the similar problems. I know, I think I have 4 of them!  You can purchase a new Bing carburetor from the German Heinkel Club, but these have issues as well. In addition to costing $400, mine ran consistently rich, (averaging only 25 miles per gallon) and I had an annoying flat spot upon acceleration. No amount of adjustment, needle swapping, or jet replacement could improve the performance.

In the December 2012, The UK Club Cruiser News magazine club published an excellent article by John Drucker about how to fit a Jetex carb to a Heinkel engine.  It included step – by – step instructions and pictures. I bought a Jetex on e-Bay and decided to try. I’ve had it on my car for about a week and am happy to say it is the best carburetor I’ve used to date. My idle is good and the car’s performance has noticeably improved.

The Jetex Carb:
Heinkel Kabine and Trojan Cars
The Jetex 22mm carburetor
If you’re a vintage scooterist you may have heard of Jetex- they were fitted to Indian Lambretta scooters and are frequently used on restorations. It is a pattern copy of a Dellorto carburetor. I had some experience with  Jetexes as I fitted one onto a Lambretta I had some years ago. 

The best thing about the Jetex is that they’re cheap! I got a new one on eBay, delivered to my door from India, for $45. The bad news is that it’s not a straightforward installation and will take you quite a few hours (20-25?) to complete the switch. While it’s not easy that does not mean it is impossible; if you’ve done things on your car beyond routine maintenance you should be able to tackle it.

You will need to complete four major steps to accomplish the switchover:
  1. Make an adaptor to fit the larger carburetor manifold to the smaller Heinkel intake manifold;
  2. Rework  (or make new) the adaptor from the Jetex carburetor intake manifold to the air cleaner;
  3. Make an adaptor to effectively lengthen the outer part of the carburetor cable;
  4. Fit a choke cable that can be accessed from inside the car.

Let’s go through each step:

1. Engine intake manifold to carburetor:

Issue:  The Heinkel intake manifold is about .0015” too small for the Jetex carg. This is the thickness of about 3 aluminum beer can sidewalls.  
Fix: I found a plastic pipe that fit snugly over the intake manifold, then turned it on my wood lathe at slow speed to fit the inside the carb manifold.  Another option (which I realized after) might be to use heat shrink tubing to take up the space.  
Heinkel Kabines and Trojans
Used plastic to make an adaptor between carb and manifold
2. Carburetor air intake to the air cleaner.

Issue: The Jetex air intake is much bigger than the Heinkel intake.
Fix: Adapt the existing one by cutting out a larger hole and putting in a new mounting neck. 

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Used block of wood and hole saw to adapt air intake

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
New (above) and old (below) adaptors
Alternatively you can also buy an air cleaner that fits the carb and mount it directly. I suggest looking at this item available at Cambridge Lambretta Works in the UK:

3. Make an adaptor to fit the carburetor cable:

Issue: The stock inner cable for a Pallas carburetor is too long.
Fix:  This one is pretty easy. Order a 2” (50mm) long adjuster from Flanders Cable in California. Here’s a picture of one:
Heinkel Kabine

Alternatively you could shorten the cable and solder on a new end.

4. Choke Cable

Issue: The Jetex requires a choke for cold starting:
Fix: Unlike the Pallas, the Jetex does not have an accelerator pump and needs a choke for cold starting. The Jetex has a pull type choke and requires a pull of about 5/16” (8mm).  This step absorbed most of my time because I found a cable (I think from a snowmobile) at my local motorcycle salvage store and I fell in love with it because it looked so original:

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Installed choke looks SO original!

Let’s go through the steps to fit the choke:

Get (or make) a choke cable:  Once again the easiest route is to probably buy one from a Lambretta supplier. I suggest in the USA or Cambridge Lambretta Works in the UK. You can also adapt any number of cables available on eBay, just remember the length of the pull, and realize you will probably have to make a hole somewhere in the body for access.  I thought about getting a long one and positioning it near the parking brake. You could also put it near the pull lever for the defroster.

Drill a hole in the firewall for the choke lever/cable:  Use a step drill to make a clean hole. These are cheap and do a very nice job.  Here’s a picture of one from Irwin,  maker of the original step drill bit.
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Step bit for drilling hole in Heinkel firewall

Get an elbow to route the choke cable: There isn’t enough headroom for the cable to pull straight up- you will need to route it through an elbow. Once again the easiest route is to purchase one. I used this one:
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Choke elbow 
Route the cable so it doesn’t melt because it touches the engine: Because of my cable’s length and the hole I drilled in the body, the cable ended up right on the valve cover- couldn’t have been in a worse place for heat and potential melting. I made a stay to pull it off to the side and up off of the engine cooling tins. If I were to do it again I would mount the choke someplace else to avoid that problem.

Here are some pictures of mine installed:
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Choke cable routed away from valve cover

Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Jetex installed on Heinkel car. Note choke elbow and long throttle adjusment screw

Once you’ve completed all of these steps you need to make sure the cables function and do not melt on the hot engine.


Now you need to adjust the carb for optimal performance. There are two variables here- the mixture screw and the idle screw. The carb has a sticker near the mixture screw that says not to exceed ¾ turn out. I have run mine at various settings ranging from 1/2 to 1 1/2 turns and find 5/8 turn is about the best. It requires a slightly faster tickover than I would normally like so it doesn’t bog on hard acceleration, but idles and runs very well. One way to check is to inspect the spark plug after a 10 or 12 mile ride. It should be brown in color. Here’s mine:
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Plug color is OK

I’ve gone about 50 miles on 3 different outings with various traffic conditions.  I haven’t checked gas mileage yet but I hope to soon.

Would I recommend doing it? If you have idle or bogging issues, or need a carburetor, I would definitely recommend it.
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
Goodbye Pallas!