History of Caerbont Automotive Instruments

Samuel Smith & Son

Samuel Smith Junior began selling clocks and watches in the Strand, London in 1871.  By the turn of the twentieth century they were the premier clock and watch supplier in London and at the same time taking their first steps into manufacture of automotive speedometers.  Through the twentieth century the product portfolio grew and the name Smiths became synonymous with automotive components.  One of the factories producing instrumentation was in Ystradgynlais, South Wales,   formerly the Celtic Clock and Watch factory known locally, even today, as ‘Tick-Tock.’


Anglo Celtic & Lucas

The automotive instrumentation business was sold to Lucas back in 1984.  Lucas introduced wiring harness manufacture to the Ystradgynlais factory and relocated instrumentation, a few miles down the road, to Abercrave.  Whilst under management ownership and renamed Caerbont Automotive Instruments Ltd (CAI), the Abercrave factory continues to produce Smiths instruments today, with original tooling and authentic designs.   CAI is officially licensed by Smiths in the UK and they own the Smiths brand in North America

CAI manufactures a Classic range of traditional Smiths designed instruments based on bourdon tube mechanical and bimetal electrical movements.  Matching electrical rev counters and mechanical speedometers are available although an electronic speedo variant is becoming more popular.  This range is very popular with classic car restorers.

CAI still manufactures AC Cobra and GT40 instruments to the original patterns.  They have a number of other ranges popular with OE manufacturers and kit car builders alike.  The Motorsport range features tachos with customer adjustable shift lamps, which are available in variants from 8,000 to 18,000rpm.

The technology span runs from the age-old but still effective bourdon tube to up to the minute processor driven stepper motor movements and OLED displays.

CAI caters for small to medium volume manufacturers and offers bespoke designs to meet customer requirements.  CAI covers a lot of ground under one roof with in-house electrical and mechanical design capability, hardware and software design engineers, press shop, print shop, and electrical harness manufacture.