History Zenith

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Zenith history

The Zenith brand was often known as a carburetter that was ‘once adjusted, always adjusted’ or ‘the last word’ in carburetters, such was the simplicity of use, universal fitment and resulting mix of performance and economy.

The Zenith carburetter company was formed in 1910 when founder director Julian Caillat arrived in the UK from france, bringing with him a carburetter design with a new principle of mixture compensation.

When orders began to come in a small factory was opened in Camden Town producing 25 carburetters per week for motor manufacturers such as Albion and Star. Over the next three years the trickle of orders became a stream and a limited company was formed in 1914, moving to new premises in Newman Street, London.

During the first world war production shifted to support the growing war effort.

Being personally tested by Julian Caillat in Lincoln a Zenith carburetter was fitted to the first tank ever made! Thereafter all British tanks were fitted with Zenith's as standard.

In 1930 under works manager H.W Harcourt Zenith produced their first die cast alloy carburetter the 22FZB which was fitted to the famous and well loved 'baby' Austin.

By 1931 Zenith's research department had produced a revolutionary new carburetter the V type, which was quickly taken up by Ford and Vauxhall who were starting production of British cars.

The V-Type was ahead of its time in the 1930's and the principles of the advanced design carried forward on carburetters fitted to Austin, Bedford, Ford, Hillman, Vauxhall and Volvo cars into the early 1960's.

In 1965 Zenith joined with there pre-war rivals Solex which led to the brand name of Zenith slowly falling into disuse, with the rights for designs being owned by Solex UK.

Production shifted towards producing the IV range as well as the CD Stromberg, a design thats was in direct competition with SU designs and fitted to new production vehicles up until Solex UK's demise in 1986.

Burlen Ltd, jointly with SU Automotive took over the manufacture and distribution of Stromberg and Zenith IV units, shifting production to the SU plant in Birmingham.

By 2002 Burlen Ltd acquired the intellectual property rights for SU and Zenith. Since then we have continued to provide spares for the aftermarket for Zenith as well as offering a restoration service for CD Stromberg's.