Night driving – Indicators


Sadly…. the reluctant fitting of indicators.

I love the clean lines of just having headlamps at the front of the car. Brake lights at the rear of course are a legal necessity – indicators though? Nasty ugly things that never look right on vintage cars, historically and legally I didn’t need to have any. But as mentioned in a previous post, if the lack of having them means there is danger to others then I feel obliged to swallow my artistic pride.

After much Internet research, for the rear I finally settled on a pair of subtle 50mm motorcycle ‘pods’. These are black painted brass in a sort of a torpedo shape and are unobtrusive apart from the bright orange lens. These have been mounted onto the chassis rails alongside the spare tyres. This position was chosen following a series of ‘how-do-they-look-there’ temporary placings. I will probably soon forget they are fitted but for a moment its a shame.

The front indicators though – I am rather pleased with because you cant see them!

I have a pair of original side lights that were (one day) to be mounted on the front cycle wings – I thought I could probably convert them into being sidelights AND indicators. I stumbled across an LED bulb that could be used for sidelights and indicators and this is what triggered the design thought process. When they are ‘off’ the sidelight lens is an opaque white. When the side lights are on they shine a bright white. But when the indicators are enabled the LED bulb is orange. So conceptually all I had to do was remove the original bulb holder from within the period sidelights and convert them to the modern LED version. Simples (ish).

However… the period Lucas lamps have a flat bottom and the cycle wings are of course curved around the circumference, curved across the width of the tyre AND they have a ridge running down the middle – a flat surface it is not! I have seen the Lucas sidelights fitted off centre, i.e. to the side of that central ridge but to me its a lazy design. The right solution is a fabricate a complex curve ‘spacer’ that matches the contours of the ridge and the cycle wing and has a flat top. Much head scratching ensued, with a number of potential solutions being tried and rejected. I tried carving a strip of hard-wood, grinding out nylon blocks, grinding rubber blocks (exceptionally smelly). None of them were satisfactory and I was becoming slightly dispondent.  It was then that my eye fell on a tin of fiberglass saturated with resin. All I had to do was mix some of that up and plop it on the wing and it would naturally flow into the correct contour. However, resin is sticky so the ‘dollop of resin’ would adhere to the aluminium which is not good. The solution was laying a piece of plastic film over the cycle wing and placing the  fibreglass on to the top of that. Once hard, the fibreglass should in theory peel off the plastic film, then it can be machined to match the shape of the sidelight base. We had a plan.

Pictures paint a thousand words but basically a big dollop of fibreglass reinforced resin became a fairly small spacer.

Here is the dollop covered in clingfilm – I flattened the top of the resin using a handy spirit level – that’s the easy bit.

Below is the sidelamp base rubber washer that I am using as a template to carve the spacer. As you can see – I have plenty of resin to work with.

Below you can see how the hardened resin formed itself around the wing contours – it is of course a perfect fit.

Next – mark out the basic shape

…Cut to size. Its about 6mm thick on the outside long edge and about 4mm thick down the middle…

…machine to shape… as you can see it fits really nicely.

And here we have the converted sidelamp come indicator bolted to the cycle wing (mudguard)

Next is working out and installing the wiring.

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