One time too many I have heard the prejudices about Lucas, the infamous British company that started producing electrical components for the automotive industry around the turn of the century. So let me just summarize my own experience: The rumours of Lucas’ shortcomings are greatly exaggerated.
My assessment is quite unscientific, let me state this from the outset. But I have, after all, driven almost 100.000 kilometres/60,000 miles in vehicles with electrics by Lucas, and very few times this equipment let me down. When a fanbelt breaks, it is not really the fault of the alternator (or dynamo). When the car will not start in the winter because the battery has collapsed, it is not Lucas’ fault either – even if the original battery may have been Lucas it will have been changed many times since (otherwise a failure is to be expected…). When a distributor shaft is a little wonky after a quarter of a million miles this should not be incomprehensible either?
The cars I have driven most have been Lucas-equipped: I did 30.000 km/19,000 miles in my first Spitfire, 10.000/6,000 in the next and about 30.000 km in my GT6 as well. My Triumph 2.5 PI had a nonworking tacho much of the time (and it was a Smith, not Lucas!) so the mileage is guesstimated at around 30.000/19,000 as well. I did not drive my Triumph Stag that much, but it didn’t put a foot wrong at all either.
Some of the aforementioned did, of course: As they were 30 to 50 years old I was always very understanding when a contact had to be wiggled a bit. But as the Spitfire blew fuses because of a loose wire I had forgotten to attach my self Lucas was rightly acquitted.
So to the best of my knowledge Lucas is really no worse than equivalent suppliers in my other old cars. Nonetheless countless people are enjoying terrible Lucas jokes and spluttering the title of “Prince of Darkness”, which does not seem fair to me. Yes, as the illustrations below show, recently there even was a competition targeted at making fun of Lucas.
But what do you say out there:
Have I just been lucky or you can shed some light (pun intended) over the matter with your experience?
Please tell your best Lucas stories in the comments below …