Alan's Live Sachs Line

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Two-stroke Dispensers

Avery Hardoll: Shell-branded 2-Stroke premix dispenser.Avery Hardoll: Shell-branded 2-Stroke premix dispenser.

F
or many years I have owned a garage forecourt portable two-stroke dispensing pump given to me by Basil Seaney. These items follow a roughly standard design. They have about a two gallon capacity tank with a pump mechanism mounted on top which you depress to dispense a measured shot of the oil down a pipe with a sprung loaded nozzle. The better ones do not dribble and most come with suitable decals and paint to match the oil company whose product they purport to dispense.

Having had one of these dispensers I can only report that I would not be without one as you have a good container into which you can store all the loose ends and bargain two-stroke you can collect in travelling around or at autojumbles. This is far better than a stack of sticky bottles tumbling about. The dispensing is easy, either direct to the car or into a suitable container to carry in the car. To cap the whole thing you have an appreciating interesting bit of automotive heritage in use rather than as a static exhibit.

Some owners have found bottles that offer an easy measured amount of oil and have a set of three or four smaller bottles saving the need to stand peering at vague measures on the side of a container chosen in haste. They know one of their bottles treats half a gallon say.

On obtaining the collection of automobilia I was fortunate to find it included two of these pumps to add to the original one I was given, and a Duckhams one cleared from the Fyfield Simca garage which was, before bypassed, a main filling station on the A420. Clearly I do not need four of these items.

Now these pumps come in a hierarchy of sophistication. The basic type just dispenses a fixed amount of oil and is labelled 'One shot treats half a gallon' normally. This in addition to any company signage. The better versions of this type can be adjusted internally to provide the chosen treatment. In other words they can be set to offer 25:1 for a half gallon per pump. If you had customers with different requirements you could alter it to offer 50:1 for a half gallon per pump. Clearly this could lead to confusions and damaged engines, though one would hope the unit charge per pump might have suggested the ratio if you had not asked. I had my original ex-Basil pump, in use, and a Texaco one (now sold to a Nobel owner) conforming to this style. The Basil item is for sale for £49.99

Next on the list was therefore a pump which offered a choice of ratios. Some did two, some three, some four. In most cases the top of the unit or a sleeve/lever is rotated to select the required ratio. I have not dismantled one to see how they work but I would hope they are accurate and adjustable. These pumps are of course more desirable, not least as they offer a collector of two-strokes a simple range of two-stroke treatments without having to think too much. Likewise a far safer item to have on the forecourt as the customer would select his ratio at his risk.

The ultimate in pumps had a pair of wheels on it with a long handle so that it could be moved around without great effort to the vehicle to be treated. Normally this offered at least four ratio options. My examples are an unrestored Shell and a Duckhams branded versions. These have been known to fetch quite strong money. However I shall keep these two.

However I was greatly pleased to find the collection included the ultimate in two stroke dispensers — an Avery Hardoll premix pump. This is like a half-size petrol pump with a flat sign on top normally rather than a globe. This was because it is portable and would have been wheeled out during opening hours but then put away under lock and key when closed. They are a heavy old things and effectively it has a folding sack truck on the rear. I am still learning about these units as by the time I was driving they had all but vanished. It has two different oil containers — not sure quite why. Also there is the petrol tank. You select the ratio from what appear to be one of twelve options, then operate a demountable lever to dispense the pre-mixed fuel into your vehicle. Mine is also a Shell branded unit.

The deep joy is I have a matching standard Shell Avery Hardoll petrol pump with original globe, so I have a set. On the minus side Wynford tells me he used to avoid these machines as they were notoriously inaccurate. One wonders if that was a design fault or a lack of maintenance and adjustment. It is not difficult to imagine that two-stroke buyers were considered second class customers and the machines servicing them were at the bottom of the list of important things to do in a busy garage.

Anyway, this machine is really just a collector's item as modern fuel goes off quickly and it is simpler to use the more portable and smaller pumps.