The Tourist was sold as an upscale scooter. It was more expensive than a Vespa or a Lambretta, and was generally heavier, more comfortable, and more stable. It was available with a speedometer, a steering lock, a clock, a luggage carrier, and a spare wheel. It was referred to in England as "The Rolls-Royce of Scooters" and was advertised by a dealer in Massachusetts as "The Cadillac of Scooters".
The Tourist had a tubular steel frame to which pressed steel body panels were mounted. The engine of the Tourist was mounted in the frame and drove the rear wheel by a chain enclosed in the swingarm. Thus sheltered, the chain ran in a sealed oil-bath, extending its life and preventing any oil from contacting either scooter or rider. The engines used in Heinkel Tourists were 4-stroke while most other scooters of the time, including the Heinkel 150 light scooter from the 1960s, had 2-stroke engines.
Production of the 103 A0 series began in August 1955. 103-series Tourists had four speed transmissions and ten inch wheels, enlarged from the three speed transmissions and eight inch wheels of earlier models. The result was a larger, heavier, and thirstier scooter on one hand, and a faster, more sophisticated scooter on the other.
It is stated that 34,060 Tourist 103 A0s were built before production ended in September 1957, but this production figure is disputed.
Production of the 103 A1 series began in September 1957. The tubular handlebars of previous series were replaced by a cast handlebar containing an instrument panel. The engine, while remaining the same in size, was improved by the use of a two-bearing crankshaft. The engine was now mounted to the frame with rubber mounts, improving the ride.
50,050 Tourist 103 A1s were built before production ended in June 1960.
Production of the final series of Heinkel Tourist, the 103 A2, began in August 1960. The telescopic forks of the previous series were replaced by a single-sided trailing-link fork. The rear body panel was restyled and was not interchangeable with those of earlier series.
55,000 Tourist 103 A2s were built before production of the Heinkel Tourist ended on 31 December 1965.
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