Craigslist Find: NOS Lucas 18D2 Distributor
NOS Lucas 18D2 distributor with box found
Recently I was on Craigslist searching for some vintage Triumph motorcycles and came across an ad that had featured 2 Triumph Bonneville's for sale. The listing stated that the owner was located in Van Nuys, California. I was somewhat interested in both bikes but wasn't sure if I needed more motorcycles for myself. I have to many projects of my own that need more attention and funds. After having a fierce debate in my mind, I went ahead and gave the owner a call.
"Phil sounded like a very nice fellow..."
The owner picked up the phone and stated that his name was Phil. Phil sounded like a very nice fellow. We made arrangements for me to stop by his place to see his bikes. Later that day I drove down to Van Nuys from Lancaster. Lancaster is about 1 1/2 hour north from Van Nuys on a day with NO traffic.
"I wasn't very impressed..."
To make a long story short, I wasn't very impressed with Phils Triumph Bonneville's. After looking over both bikes I decided to respectfully pass on the offer. Phil was understanding, in fact Phil told me that he had some Triumph motorcycle parts that he accumulated over the years that I might be interested in. With I being in the parts business, Phil had captured my attention.
"Brand new in the box - never installed..."
As Phil and I began shuffling through his garage, I noticed that there where some BSA parts and some Triumph parts in boxes. One part in particular caught my eye because It appeared to be in an original Lucas box. I grabbed a hold of this box and opened it up. Lo and behold it was a NOS (New Old Stock) Lucas 18D2 distributor. Brand new in the box - never been installed. I didn't leave Phil's house empty handed.
Arrow pointing to the rotating direction (clockwise)
The 18D2 distributor known as the "Dizzy Distributor" was fitted to mainly Triumph unit 350, 500 twins and Triumph 6T models. I'm sure this distributor was fitted to other British motorcycles during the same time period that I may not be aware of. What makes this part unique is the fact that its NOS and a distributor. Many folks think that the 18D2 distributor was a bad design. The shaft spins inside a bushing and both the shaft and bushing can become worn. The contact breaker is operated by two lobes on the center shaft - this is why its important to ensure that the bushing is not worn. A worn shaft and or bushing could cause ignition timing issues. I have read (and been told) that the clearance should be no more than .001".
Cap removed from the Lucas 18D2 distributor. Contact breaker shown.
I personally like the simplicity of the Lucas 18D2 distributor. The design makes it very easy to set and adjust ignition timing. Although there is only 1 contact breaker, the timing may not be as precise as it could be because only 1 cylinder can be accurately timed.
"The distributor will sit in my personal parts source..."
There are many motorcycles and rare parts out there that have still not been discovered. Craigslist is always a great source for finding vintage motorcycles and even vintage parts. For now, this Lucas 18D2 distributor will sit in my personal parts source until I find a specific project to use it on. So what do you all think of my Craigslist find? Let us know by commenting below.