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Homepage. This page: Original hand tools (spanners, wrenches, foot pumps, grease guns etc) from the 1900s onwards.
Old garage tools

Vintage cars tools, spanners & more.

Home > Vintage car tools
Possessing a few old hand tools goes hand-in-hand with owning an old car, lorry, or other mechanised form of transport, as sooner or later they'll need fixing or servicing. But what to use? Later classics, and those built in European car factories, tend to use metric fittings, so sourcing spanners and sockets to suit requires nothing more than a stroll down to the local motor factor. However, ownership of an earlier British vehicle - or one built in the USA - will often require older, imperial (AF) spanners, or perhaps the Whitworth variety if your interests stretch back to the pre-war (1920s/1930s) or immediate post-war (1940s/1950s) British vehicles. Cars would often have been equipped with a usable selection of spanners and other tools when new, but these easily get lost over time and after multiple changes of ownership. This corner of Old Classic Car will feature many of the old tools that I've accumulated over the years, ones that are not only interesting in their own right, but are also essential if wielding spanners is something you plan to do beneath the bonnet of your classic or vintage motor.
Collecting old tools can be an enjoyable hobby in its own right, even if you don't actually need them!

Where to find old tools.

Car boot sales, garage sales, autojumbles, and of course eBay are all good places to source a wide selection of tools from, often for modest amounts of money as people with modern cars only will have no use for these aged items.

Branded or un-branded tools?

Owners of British cars have had a broad choice of tool maker's products to consider over the years. As with any product, they varied in both price and quality, and with prices relatively low for even good quality old spanners, for example by Britool or King Dick, there's no real need to buy poorly-made tools. Building up a useful toolkit shouldn't take long therefore, and can be good fun.
Old spanners and related tools can be expensive if you're looking for specific, branded, spanners. Not branded as in marked with a maker's name such as Snail Brand, but marked with the car manufacturer's name and/or logo on it. For cars produced in large numbers, such as the popular models of Ford or Austin for example, finding most of the branded tools that would have come with the car when it was new, isn't usually a major problem. Prices even for these branded spanners aren't usually too high either. Matters become altogether more expensive where branded tools for cars that were relatively scarce "back in the day" are sought, and they can take some tracking down. Many cars just came with "off-the-shelf" spanners, ie not marked specifically to any one marque. Knowing what your car was originally equipped with therefore is the first task, before beginning the hunt.

Contents of a typical toolkit.

The more expensive the car, the more comprehensive the toolkit that it would have had (usually). Basic cars might have had a few spanners, a wheelbrace, starting handle, and little more. Cars further up the desirability ladder may also have been supplied with feeler gauges, a plug spanner, an oil can, hammer, tyre pressure gauge, screwdrivers, and a broader selection of spanners, some of which would have been branded with the car manufacturers name, others perhaps not. Usually a car's handbook or parts list will shed light on what the toolkit would originally have been populated with.
This corner of the website will feature a wide range of tools that motorists in the early/mid twentieth century would have had tucked away in their car's toolkit, or within toolboxes in their garage. Motorcycle tools, and those supplied with early bicycles, will also be featured, some quite common and easy to find, others more obscure.
Branded car spanners

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