Let there be light.

….and there was. Well kind of. The headlamps of vintage cars are interesting things. First the shiny bit that reflects light onto the road is silver. Yes really. Silver tarnishes as we know and so the reflectors go yellow. When you try to polish them, it is exceptionally easy to polish the silver plating away leaving you with shiny brass – which is yellow. Secondly the dipping mechanism for headlamps is mechanical. The light bowl literally swivels down when you select ‘dip’ then swivels back to horizontal for full beam. This means the electricals are a bit of a challenge to work out. Main beam is on all the time and there is a separate wire to operate an electrical solenoid within each headlamp. Having managed to get the solenoids to work I then found that the ‘dip’ setting turned the lights off. After a bit of head scratching I worked out how all the contacts and terminals worked together and rewired them.

Oh and another daft vintage idea. Up until 1936 dipping the headlights meant that you mechanically dip the drivers side lamp but turn off the passenger side lamp completely. This results in you only having one headlamp. I am sure this was fine in the 30’s when no-one went over 30mph and the roads were pretty empty but now days that would certainly confuse other drivers. I have therefore modified my setup to have TWO headlamps that mechanically dip. Oh and they operate with quite a solid ‘thunk’ sound. Funny.

Having got working headlights I can now drive the car later at night although I am told to expect them to be near useless so I will be converting them to LED shortly.

The rear lights and number plate lights merely needed connecting into the circuit. I have quite a lot of wires now that all need forming into a tidy loom. That’s a job for another day.


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