Heinkel Tourist Buyer's Guide
Heinkel Tourists are rare motor scooters.
Outside of Europe, they can be extremely difficult to find. According to data listed on the HCD website, a total of 156,610 Tourists were manufactured between 1953 and 1965. During that time, the Ernst Heinkel’s company produced five different models.
Nearly 175 Tourists are contained in my North American owner’s registry. Approximately 150 of them were imported in the 1960s. This number represents one half of the 300 that were officially imported. When Americans want to purchase a Tourist, we have few opportunities to “shop around” for the perfect selection. If we find a Tourist for sale, we must act quickly… we never know when another might be available.
If you are interested in buying a Heinkel Tourist, I present a few details you might consider. This advice is offered so you can estimate the potential project that lies ahead.
First, you must determine which model you prefer to buy, or which you have come to purchase. Tourists are known by their model number only. Unfortunately each is cryptic and confusing: 101A-0, 102A-1, 103A-0, 103A-1 and 103A-2
The five Tourist models incorporate a few key design elements, which differentiate them from each other. The following questions will determine the model:
- Does it have a kick-starter? Only one Tourist had a kick-starter: 101A-0. This was the first production Tourist. As you can imagine, it is the most rare. There are many other differences, but the kick-starter is the key indicator.
- Does it have an electric starter and 8" wheels? The 102A-1 has 8” wheels like the 101A-0, but it has an electric starter. From this point onward, all Tourists had electric starters and 12V electrical systems.
- Does it have 10" wheels and chrome handlebars? The 103A-0 has chrome handlebars like the 101A-0 and 102A-1, but this model was the first to implement 10” wheels. All subsequent Tourists used 10” wheels.
- Does it have 10" wheels, a speedometer mounted in the handlebars and a curvy sloping tail end? The 103A-1 looks just like the 103A-0, except the speedometer is mounted inside the handlebars. All prior models had the speedometer and optional clock mounted in a dashboard behind the leg shield.
- Does it have a stretched out rear end and fancy chrome tail lamp? The 103A-2 differed from all prior Tourists in look alone. You can immediately identify the 103A-2 by the stretched tail section. To me it resembles an American “fin tail” car from the 1960s.
The model number is printed on the VIN plate. If you have access to the scooter, open the seat. The VIN plate is riveted to the frame and is located on the left hand side of the valve cover.
Now that you know how to recognize each model, it is important to know about the details
The floorboard is a single piece of aluminum. Floorboards do not deteriorate like steel. But they are more difficult to repair if necessary. Typical damage includes holes (due to crash bars), or breaks in the edges (due to a wreck).
Floorboards are available from Europe. Repaired floorboards are usually painted. (Floorboards were never painted from the factory.) Floorboards are expensive. Since they are large and heavy, shipping is equally expensive. If Tourist requires a replacement, remember that floorboards varied from model to model. The 103A-1 utilized two different floorboards during its production. The same may be true for the other models.
I believe a high quality floorboard is more important than straight bodywork.
All body pieces are available from Europe. The pieces aren't as heavy as the floorboards, but they generally require larger shipping boxes. If the shipping boxes aren't packed well, there is a risk of damage. Even though all pre-103A-2 models looked nearly identical, their body pieces changed between models. Bodywork may not be interchangeable.
All engine parts are readily available. A poorly running engine, or a frozen engine is not much to worry about. However, if you receive a disassembled engine, you may have trouble detecting if pieces are missing. Engines from 103A-1 and 103A-2s are interchangeable. However all other engines are specific to the model.
The handlebars aren't very strong. Thus, it is common to find them with one or both sides bent downward. With this in mind, it is important to NOT use the handlebar grips as a tie down point when transporting the scooter.
Model Specific Advice
The 101A-0 has a 150cc engine. (Later models had an increased engine displacement.) The 101A-0 is the only model based upon a 6V electrical system. I suspect the related elements (points, coil, regulator, etc.) are difficult to find.
The kick-starter is an obvious visual difference from the other models, but the kick-stand is different from all others as well. Given the rarity of this model, and the likelihood of expensive and hard to find parts, I would only recommend this model for diehard Heinkel collectors.
The 102A-1 introduced many updates. The obvious two are the 174cc displacement and the 12V Siba electrical system. The 102A-1 has 8” wheels and a three-speed transmission. The harder to find parts are:
- Rear luggage rack
- Seat lock
I bought my 102A-1 after owning several later models. I was skeptical about the 8” wheels. I was convinced the scooter would operate similar to an 8” wheel Vespa. I am happy to say this Heinkel handles much better than a Vespa and is almost indistinguishable from the later Heinkels.
The 102A-1 incorporates a tremendous amount of chrome:
- Wheel rims
- Rear luggage rack
- Seat strap brackets
- Headlamp trim
Chrome is expensive. Keep this in mind if you restore a 102A-1 and want to maintain the originality
I have not yet located a workshop manual for the 102A-1. All subsequent Tourists models have one. A workshop manual would help you understand the front suspension on the 102A-1 – it is very different from the later models.
The 103A-0 introduced a new fork design that was shared with later models. Additionally, the 103A-0 has 10”wheels. This small change resulted in many overlooked differences that are unique to the 103A-0:
- Wheel rims
- Swing arm
- Rear luggage rack
- Spare tire mount
These aren’t rare pieces, but know that neither a 102A-1 nor a 103A-1 can serve as a parts source for these items. The 103A-0 is the first Tourist to implement a four-speed transmission. This minor update increased the top speed slightly while reducing the engine’s RPMs.
Like the 102A-1, the harder to find parts are the seat lock and points. Similarly, the chrome pieces on the 103A-0 were the same used on the 102A-1, but the wheel rims and luggage rack were a different design.
The 103A-1 brought many updates. Specifically:
- Wheel rims
- Bosch 12V electrics
- Engine mounts
The last two are the most important. Three rubber engine buffers now isolate the engine from the frame. The result is a considerably more quiet and smooth Tourist.
The 103A-1 transmission no longer includes a spring-loaded gear index within the engine. Shifting gears on an older Heinkel was very precise. Shifting on the 103A-1 and 103A-2 is anything but precise. Having said that, I do prefer the newer design. When it is set up correctly, it is very smooth.
The components of the electrical system are new to the 103A-1. Thankfully, all are easily available!
The 103A-1 used less chrome. Only the headlamp trim, seat brackets and rear rack were chromed.
The 103A-1 incorporated many updates before the end of production. The frame, floorboard, kickstands, leg shield and nose differ on later models. Keep this in mind if you are looking for spare parts.
The harder to find part is the seat lock. This is the last Tourist to use this type of seat lock.
Visually, the 103A-2 is different from all previous Tourists. I find that most Americans prefer this model and I believe their choice is based upon the tail section (based upon reasons stated above). The rear end incorporates many chrome accents, which further attract buyers.
The 103A-2 incorporated turn signals (front and rear) as well as a larger taillight. The German government required both updates. The result is a pleasing design and a scooter that is more visible at night.
The frame of the 103A-2 differs from the 103A-1 at the spare tire mount point. This area has a slightly different geometry, which prevents mounting a 103A-1 tail section.
The seat was redesigned. Personally I feel little difference in comfort – all Tourists are comfortable for long distance riding. I do believe this new seat design made the 103A-2 feel like a taller scooter.
The 103A-2 has early and late designs as well. The early model is nearly identical to the 103A-1. The late model has redesigned forks, hubs and rims. These components are unique to this model. If you look closely, the spare tire mount and rack are different as well. Keep this in mind if you need these spare parts.
The only hard to find part for this scooter is the decorative plate used when not mounting the spare tire and rear rack.
The Heinkel Tourist is an ideal choice for the collector of antique motor scooters. With few exceptions, spare parts are readily available for each model. Most Tourists use the same engine parts (bearings, seals, gaskets, etc.) even though there are slight differences in the their implementation.
Older models (pre-103A-1) tend to be more expensive to restore. Fewer were produced and therefore spare parts are slightly more difficult to locate. These same scooters implement more chrome. If you maintain the originality, you will invest more into the restoration.
In the USA, choices are usually limited to the 103A-1 and 103A-2. These two designs were our only official imports. (I suspect this rule applies to other non-European countries.) With this in mind, most soon-to-be owners must decide if they prefer the curvy tail end of the 103A-1 or the stretched out Cadillac style of the 103A-2. Once this decision has been made, I hope you locate the perfect Tourist.