Vintage Accessories: Voltage Drop and The Educated (Spindle) Nut

Ad from October 1952 Hot Rod Shows the “Educated Nut” Also Called the Micro-Lok System. This ad appears in early and mid 1950’s Vintage Automotive Magazines

Hi Gang…

Welcome to the new category of stories you’ll find on our Forgotten Fiberglass website…’Vintage Accessories” for your car.  This is our first story in this area.

Vintage accessories are the bomb!  Alright…forgive the modern day slang – which is probably already out of date (I’m not the most up-to-date guy in the world when it comes to Pop Culture..  I was going to say that I wasn’t the most “hip”….never mind).   But having them on your car is one of the ways you can really achieve a period correct restoration or build.  And keeping these accessories when you find them is an absolute “must” for those of you finding and restoring these cars.

In talking with many of you who are restoring fiberglass sports cars from the 1950’s, we come across parts that are installed that are either completely foreign to us or that we disregard and immediately throw away and replace with modern vintage parts from Speedway, Summit or other great resources.  While the modern equivalent of the vintage parts is excellent and often better than their 50+ year old counterparts, perhaps we should not be so callous in our quick disregard of these vintage parts.

Some of the parts we find on our cars build character and show the history or patina left from the original builders.  You see their original vision at work.  What they had imagined would be best on their car.  The original builders are speaking to you from the past…. don’t be so quick to disregard their words – or work.  Carpe diem….

Historical Auto-Archeology at Work:

This Ad Appears in the October 1953 Issue of Motor Trend. It’s a Voltage Drop Resistor and Shows the Type of Accessories That Would Have Been Used in the 1950’s by Guys Building Their Own Sports Cars

For example, during the restoration of a recent fiberglass car, we came across a seemingly mundane voltage drop mounted on the firewall, and a strange type of spindle nut keeper on each of the front spindles.  Quick!  Get the screwdriver and grab the plyers – let’s get these strange parts off the car and get something that is shiny, new, nice, clean, and with a name someone will recognize!!!   Not!

Do not take this action in any way, shape, or form.  Keep that part and do a bit of research and look for history.  That’s what I hope to share in this new category of stories.

Parts that are popular in 2010 – will be found on cars 50 years from now.  Parts that were wildly popular back in the 1950’s – are found on our vintage cars now.  We just have to take a bit of time and do a bit of research.   If we do….voila….we have extended the history, interest, and value of our cars just a notch more.

Introducing Two Vintage Accessories from the Early / Mid 1950’s:

So today….I present to you:

The Educated Nut– also known as the “Micro-Lok Spindle Nut

The Vol-Ta-Drop – converts 12 volt power from car battery and delivers 6 volt power to vintage accessories

Here Are the Micro Lok Spindle Components – Fresh off the Right Front Spindle

Educated Nut / Micro-Lok:  I’ve included the stories and ads for both of these items below.  The spindle nut accessory is kind of neat.  I never saw one until I took apart the front end of a vintage fiberglass car – it perplexed my friend Scott Miller and myself.  It was neat, but we had no idea of the heritage of this part.

Was it for racing?  What is a prototype?  It worked well, and now with the vintage articles and ads shared below – all of us can know why this worked, and why it was so popular back in the day.  Definitely worth keeping as an accessory – and knowing the history too. I’ve included some of the vintage ads, and even a review by Fred Bodley – who was soon to become the Technical Editor of Motor Trend with his own column to boot (read more about Fred Bodley in our previous story on Guy Dirkin’s “Lost Motor Trend Victress“)

Vol-Ta-Drop:  This is a nice piece too.  If any of you have 6 volt systems and are going to upgrade to a 12 volt battery – you may need something like this. For our vintage fiberglass cars, there are few accessories – mostly light bulbs in the head/tail lights and the dash.  But for a custom guy in the 1950’s, if you were taking your 6 volt car to 12 volts – this accessory would have saved you time and money.  Upgrading your 6 volt car to 12 volts involves many changes – but this is an accessory that would save you time on any car.

The Vol-Ta-Drop Accessory – Mounted in the Same Place on the Firewall for 50+ Years

I hope you like this new “jaunt” into an area we haven’t touched on before.  I plan on revisiting this topic several times and introduce additional “vintage accessories” each time – so we can build knowledge, history, and heritage for each of us and each of our cars.

Hope you enjoy and glass on gang…



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Vintage Accessories: Voltage Drop and The Educated (Spindle) Nut — 2 Comments

  1. Great forum/site. I think the vol-ta-drop was one of the most dangerous devices to put on a car next to an air pump for hand pressurizing a gas tank. Basically a ballast resistor, and as most were, a huge heat source that did cook a few wires carelessly left next to it. Voltage reduction was from current draw, so regulation was none just a voltage drop based on current draw. Even in the day this poor boy approach was extremely hard on tubes. The spindle nuts are fascinating. In a machinist’s world they would be called indexing nuts. I wish they would still be around; I would use them.

  2. We’re in a strange time– we used to buy or build sports cars TO DRIVE and often modified them for improved performance.
    Now all our olde toys are considered INVESTMENTS so putting a modern radio in a 50’s car is considered a degradation as is installing Webers in place of a tiny solex!
    AGREED! rare cars–and that includes all those on this site will best show their original intent if nothing is visable that wasn’t available when it was constructed– but to me that means I can “improve’ the mechanicals within that limitation. Remember that the late 40’s Austin A-40 used a rear anti roll bar so having one front and rear would be possable back then so your olde crock doesn’t have to wallow like a rowboat or ride like a wheelbarrow.

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