Rear lights

Ok I am getting ahead of myself a little but I find I do my best work when my heart tells me what to work on next. That, and the weather was cold and wet and I could do this part in the warmth of the office.

Originally the Falcon would have had rear lights mounted on the wings with a separate arrangement for illuminating the number plate. The rear of the car now bears very little resemblance to the original car and the lights can’t realistically (or aesthetically) be mounted on the tiny rear mudguards. They now have to fitted to a panel that has to be removable because it will be fixed onto the twin spare tyres…

I have not completed the fabrication of that panel yet so you will have to wait to see what it looks like.

Another problem is that vintage cars utilise an old design of a dynamo which barely generates much of an electrical charge. To make matters worse, the dynamo is bolted onto the front of the crankshaft and Riley’s are low revving engines – tickover speed is 400rpm. If you couple a poor design with a low rotation speed – the end result means all the lights are barely visible when stationary. The answer is to ignore period fittings and resort to modern technology and replace all the filament bulbs with an LED equivalent.

The rear lights are arguably the most important because drivers behind the car need to be able to see the car. The answer then is to replace the single bulb with 30 bright LEDs. This then is the subject of today’s blog.

The lamps of choice are a pair of genuine 30’s D-lamps. So called because they are shaped a little like the the letter D. Below you can see the lamp swung open on its hinge. The paint was probably white once. Step one was removing the old lamp fitting which is simply held in place with two small copper rivets which were drilled out.

Below is the LED light board which merely requires two small holes to be drilled into the casing and the board is then bolted in.

This board provides the rear light, a brake light and side illumination which will light the number plate.

Below is the test of 12v being fed into the lamp. You can see the clear window which will light one side of the number plate.

Yes you can argue that originally the lamp was lit by a single bulb but trust me looking at the light straight on, they are properly bright and being LED they consume a fraction of the power a bulb would suck out of the dynamo giving it a fighting chance of powering the headlights. Bright means safe. I think it’s a fair trade. Finally below is the pair of lights which are now both converted.

A later post will show these on the actual panel.

I then moved my attention to the front of the car and converted a pair of side lights to be dual function side AND indicator lamps. This nearly needed the internals being replaced with a modern conversion which will also be LED when I get around to buying the ‘bulbs’. The original figment is on the right.


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