Audio Bill Buckle describes Buckle Motors, 2006

TLF ID R8838

This is an edited sound recording of 79-year-old Bill Buckle speaking about his Sydney company, Buckle Motors, which in the 1950s began making fibreglass cars. Buckle describes how Buckle Motors moved from small German-designed cars to an Australian-designed mini sports car, the Goggomobil Dart. He describes the advantages of the Dart and how early in the 21st century there has been a revival of interest in 'microcars', including Darts. The recording was made in July 2006 and lasts for 2 min 24 s.



Educational details

Educational value
  • This is a recording of an innovative Australian who manufactured microcars in his own factory in the western Sydney suburb of Punchbowl. Buckle (1926-) recalls that he began making fibreglass cars in the late 1950s so that he could offer a cheaper alternative to the imported cars he already sold. At first the cars manufactured by Buckle Motors were among the cheapest new cars available on the Australian market.
  • In the recording Buckle explains that the first cars he made were designed in Germany by the Hans Glas company (later part of BMW), which made steel-bodied microcars called Goggomobils. Under an arrangement with Hans Glas, Buckle Motors made Goggomobil bodies in Sydney from fibreglass and imported the other parts from Germany. That avoided the hefty duty imposed on fully assembled imported cars.
  • Buckle explains how he saw a demand for an affordable mini sports car in Australia and subsequently developed the Dart. Unique to the Australian market, the doorless two-seater Dart had a fibreglass body made in Sydney. Most of the other parts, including the chassis and gearbox, came from Hans Glas in Germany, while the windscreen came from France (and was originally manufactured to be the rear window of Renault's Dauphine sedan).
  • The advantages of the streamlined Dart, as listed by Buckle in the recording, included good performance, fuel economy, easy parking and 'good fun'. The 1959 promotional brochure described it as 'cool, clean, low slung'. A Dart measured about 3 m (length) x 1.5 m (width) x 1.2 m (height). It had a 392-cc two-cylinder two-stroke engine and weighed just 380 kg.
  • Buckle recalls how his factory could not meet demand for Darts from 'all sorts of people'. Between 1959 and 1962 about 700 Darts were made in Sydney. However, the production of Darts came to an abrupt end in 1962 with the arrival on the Australian market of the similarly priced English Morris Mini 850, which seated four and - with its four-cylinder four-stroke engine - offered much better performance.
  • Buckle says that in recent years the Dart has experienced a revival in popularity and is now in demand from collectors in Australia and other countries. Buckle himself bought one of his own Darts (for $9,000 in 2001) to restore it after realising that the value of Darts was increasing.

Other details

Contributors
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2006
  • Name: Bill Buckle
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
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Learning resource type
  • Sound
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Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.

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