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See Homepage. This page: Examples of classic motoring tools, gadgets and gizmos!

Old motoring gadgets, accessories & garage equipment.

mechanic preparing to work on a 1920s Dodge
Since the dawn of motoring, enthusiastic drivers have sought to modify or accessorise their motor-car with some of the many 'useful' gadgets that were on the market. Equally, as the motor-car grew in popularity, engineering companies were quick to spot this lucrative new market, and came up with some weird and wonderful garage tools and workshop equipment.

Some of these accessories and period extras have been given a mention on the car accessories pages, and here I plan to feature some items from my own collection, and others I've read about in vintage sales literature over the years. Some are very useful, others distinctly less so! The one thing that the accessories all have in common is that they were aimed at the driver who felt that the basic car was lacking something, and more was needed to improve the car's efficiency, appearance, or go-faster appearance.

Some of the neat tools featured here were designed to make working on cars both quicker and easier, both important factors to consider if working on cars was your business. I plan to feature some of the tools and garage equipment that would have featured in workshops large and small, going back to the earliest days of motoring.

If go-faster gadgets and accessories are of interest, the period engine tuning companies section may also be of interest. Fans of British cars built in the 1960s may also find the BMC Approved Accessories page to be worth a look. In the video below, I flick through a pre-war catalogue for motor accessories and tools.

From my own collection.
Various tools and accessories that I've picked up since I started out with old cars & memorabilia.
chrome GB badges Ace chrome GB letters.
Auto-Mapic Auto-Mapic.
Champion Plugometer Champion's "Plugometer".
Eversure Fillacan The Eversure Fillacan.
rubber bulb holder John Bull bulb carrier.
Schrader air pump Schrader spark plug air pump.
Telulog Telulog mpg calculator.
More vintage tools, accessories & gadgets from yesteryear.
Interesting tools for the DIY mechanic or professional motor-car repairer, found in old sales leaflets and promotional sheets, since the 1920s, plus a selection of handy accessories available to the keen motorist who wished to upgrade his or her 'horseless carriage'.
Commercial garage equipment.
Brake servicing equipment Various brake system tools from JW Pickavant.
These include the Pickavant one-man brake bleeding pump, and a range of pipe bending and flaring tools.
Tru-Check brake tester The Tru-Check Brake Tester.
A low-priced solution to accurate brake testing offered by an American company in the 1930s.
brake testing equipment The ingenious "Weaver" automatic brake tester.
An automatic drive-on brake testing machine, designed to be installed in garages and used either by mechanics, or the passing motorist.
breakdown recovery trailer The Eagle Engineering Co. Breakdown Trailer.
Novel design of recovery trailer designed to accommodate cars, including those missing their wheels.
oil dispenser The AMLO automatic oil dispenser as offered in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as an efficient way to dispense motor lubricants in accurately measured quantities.
Harvey Frost Ltd The Harvey Frost car gantry, designed to lift engines and, if necessary, entire cars. Sold to pre-war and post-war motor garages.
1940s Commer van 8cwt The M.E. car gantry hoist, as found in a post-war motor trade catalogue. An 8cwt Commer van demonstrates its capabilities.
Harvey Frost Jacking Skates The Harvey Frost Jacking Skates, designed to ease the movement of stored cars in a garage or workshop.
C.C. Wakefield car lift 3-ton Car Lift, the C.C. Wakefield & Co. centre post car lift of the 1950s, seen on this period leaflet with a Mk7M Jaguar sat upon it.
Tecalemit lubrication equipment Tecalemit garage lubrication bays, including the impressive Majestic, Olympic and Britannic range of installations.
Intheblok crank grinder InTheBlok crankshaft grinder, an American tool that enabled re-grinding of an engine's crankshaft main bearing journals without removing the engine from the car.
Morrisflex equipment The Morrisflex garage equipment, offering a flexible drive to power sanders, polishers, cutters and wire brushes.
Choldun oil changer The Choldun Oil Changer, a clean automated way of removing, analysing and if necessary replacing an engine's lubricant in the 1940s.
piston refurbishment An interesting piston refurbishment machine used by AES in the 1950s, utilising the 'Koetherizing' method to breath new life into an engine's worn out pistons.
planisher The Cengar Planisher, an air-operated body repair tool, this example from the 1950s.
radiator flush A pressurised radiator cleaner, the Marquette, built in Minneapolis, USA, in the 1930s.
Garage Servisignal device Servisignal.
An audible warning device to alert garage owners to the arrival of a customer's car.
Car trailers Car trailers.
Single and twin axle trailers manufactured by Harvey Frost.
Valve grinder Valve tools from Wolf.
Various valve grinding/cutting tools, and valve re-facers, produced by Wolf in the 1950s.
rotating vehicle lift The "SkyHi" Rotating Vehicle Lift.
Again aimed at the commercial garage end of the market, a nifty rotating car and light van lift that could lift a vehicle of upto 3 tons in weight. Also featured, the matching hydraulic brake tester.
car washing equipment Washing equipment.
Examples of post-war pressure-washing equipment, and also several automatic drive-through car washes of the early 1970s.
dual-level car lift Westinghouse dual-level car lift.
Handy version of the traditional four-post car lift, incorporating a raised gallery.
wheel balancing machine The Amelite Wheel Balancing machine.
A leaflet from the sixties advertising the new Alemite Electronic Wheel Balancer, which enabled a car's wheels to be balanced without removing them from the vehicle.
wheel puller The "Mason" Wheel Puller.
A handy tool used to remove stubborn road wheels without damage, designed to be used on cars or lorries.
wheel tester The "Weaver" wheel tester.
A portable dynamic wheel testing system on sale in the 1950s, enabling wheels to be tested at up to 100mph in the workshop while still being fitted to the car.
wing protector The "Bontop" wing protector.
A simple but very useful gadget, designed to protect a car's front wings while the engine was being worked upon.
More accessories & consumables to tempt the vintage motorist.
car cot Audible Air Filter.
An ingenious Smith's filter from the 1930s with built-in whistle, to warn of clogging.
car cot AUTOCOT.
A hammock-type arrangement for carrying a baby in the back of 1960s' cars.
windscreen wipers Automatic windscreen wiper.
A vacuum-operated automatic screen wiping device, from Jos. Lucas.
battery chargers Battery Chargers.
A pre-war leaflet describing the range of car battery chargers produced by The Electric Construction Company Ltd of Wolverhampton.
cable adjusters Brake Cable Adjusters.
A low-cost solution to the problem of stretched brake cables.
Tapley brake testing meter Brake Efficiency Indicator.
Manufactured in the 1930s by Tapley, for Ferodo, a dashboard-mounted brake testing device.
Brake Safe Brake Safe.
Auxiliary, pre-braking, car warning light system.
The Jagrose car tent Car Tent.
Sold by James Grose Ltd of London, the Jagrose Car Tent for camper and car.
Masking tape for car paintwork Durex masking tape.
Designed to be used when re-painting a car, dating to the late 1930's.
engine warmer Engine Heaters.
Designed to keep the frost out from the engine bay, the "EVERWARM Radiator Lamp" engine heater. Also, a selection of sump heaters and the Bray electric pre-heater.
External sun visors for cars Exterior sun visors.
Cut down on the dazzle while driving with a 1950's exterior sun visor from Wingard, KL and others.
Flashing semaphore indicators Flashing Semaphore Indicators.
A post-war conversion kit to convert pop-up semaphore indicators to flashing turn signals.
Folding trailer "Foldaway" folding trailer.
A 1950s/1960s trailer designed to fold up and stow inside a car's boot.
car heaters Heaters.
Aftermarket in-car heaters from the 1950s and 1960s, including those from Smiths, Tudor and K-L.
in-car frying pan and kettle Kettle & Frying Pan.
12v devices to enable in-car fry-ups, and tea-making, while out on the road.
replacement metal roof Metal replacement roof.
Replace a tired Rexine car roof with this aluminium replacement.
mirrors Exterior mirrors.
A selection of exterior rear view mirrors, dating to the 1950s/1960s era.
dust clothing for the motorist Motorist's Dust Clothing.
Various garments designed for the motorist, motorcyclist, cyclist and mechanic in the 1920s.
hub-mounted odometer Odometers.
A look at optional hub-mounted odometers, or mileometers, suitable for trucks and cars in 1919.
car ash tray Pipe holder & ashtray.
Produced by E.W. Puckert Ltd and sold under the 'Barnacle' name.
folding portable boat for car owners Portable Safety Boat.
This portable boat, the Deloford, was designed to fold away and fit onto the luggage rack of even the smallest 1920s/1930s motor-car. It was produced by the company behind Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles.
radiator blinds Radiator Blinds & Muffs.
Aid rapid engine warm-up by fitting either a Mory Radblind, or else a Duco radiator muff, to your motor vehicle.
windscreen treatment Rain treatment for windscreens.
Keep a car's windscreen/windshield clear of rain and mist with the handy Rain-a-way pad from 1910-1920.
rubber bumpers Rubber Bumpers.
A sprung steel and rubber bumper conversion, designed for all the popular motor-cars of the late 1920's.
Siran instruments Siran Instruments & Switches.
A leaflet describes the range of aftermarket instruments, switches, and related mounting panels on offer by Siran Ltd of Hove in the late 1960s.
Smiths car instruments Smiths Gauges.
A summary of the two-inch diameter Smiths motor-car gauges offered by this British firm in the late 1960s, including examples of oil pressure, water temperature, and vacuum gauges on offer at the time.
steering wheel gloves Steering Wheel Gloves.
A true 1960's accessory, a 100% Bri-Nylon steering wheel glove, just the thing for cold fingers on a winter's drive.
Swing Spout Swing Spout oil measure and pourer.
Designed and built by a Chicago-based company in the vintage era of motoring.
tax disc holder Tax disc holders.
A look at the types of holder available to motorists from the 1920s, through to the 1960s.
twin wheels Twin wheel.
A look at the Dunlop detachable twin wire wheel, as presented in their trade catalogue for the 1915 season.
windscreen washers Windscreen washers.
Typical examples of retro-fit windscreen washer kits from the 1950s and 1960s.
More gadgets and accessories will be added here shortly. If you have something that would fit in well here, by all means get in touch. Advertisements for old automobile-related gadgets and tools can be found on these pages. Motoring memorabilia can be found in the collectibles section. Modifications designed to make a car go quicker can be found in the tuning company section.
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