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Low Profile Headlights

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I am working on a 1935 Graham Model 74 project. This vehicle has very nice large and flowing front fenders. I would like to put on something for headlights that are not as large and obvious as the originals. I am looking for the lowest profile option for legal headlights and I am thinking about two projector headlights on each side and build a housing for them out of fiberglass. We would mount the low profile headlights via the mounting holes for the original headlights, so therefore no modification required to the fenders.

If we had more skill, we would probably try hideaway headlights, but we just don't have that level of skill and experience (and I am hesitant to cut up these perfect fenders).

Thanks in advance for any ideas and suggestions.

Wade

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If you want to see at night, taller lights have a better beam pattern. It's physics and optics. The best headlamps for those buckets IMO is the Cibie/Valeo 7" round units. Reasonably priced and pretty widely available. They were mislabeled as "fog lamps" the last time I bought a set on Amazon. I can look for the part number if you want.

You can get a "motorcycle" fixture/bucket for 5-3/4" round lamps. Those are generally used as a set of 4. There isn't one that delivers a complete high beam, although some use H4 bulbs and the outer is a combination low beam/partial high beam. You might be able to find some for the smaller rectangular lamps as well. In the small rectangular, the H4666 sealed beams will deliver both high and low beam that (barely) meets USDOT safety specifications. That's what came in my S10 pickup. I replaced those with Cibie/Valeo Euro units that were NOS and no longer made and cost over $300 for the pair. And those don't give adequate high beam performance, so I ended up getting a pair of motorcycle mounts and putting those on my bumper with highbeam only H1 lamps.

Avoid anything with LEDs if you plan to drive at night. None of those are safe or adequate as headlights. From my own observations, you're more likely to blind yourself and wreck your own ride with them than cause other drivers to actually have an accident. You will mostly just annoy the hell out of other drivers. You're the one in danger with those.
 

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Another possibility is something longer more streamlined and smaller like the 7" late 30's Chevy that would go with the long flowing fenders or just use something completely different like the non round (I believe) Graham of an earlier year.
 

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I've seen several different attempts to reinvent the headlight on older street rods and, in my opinion, they just don't look right for that era car. But, if you are looking for something different take a look at some of the motorcycle headlights that are molded into the fairing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've seen several different attempts to reinvent the headlight on older street rods and, in my opinion, they just don't look right for that era car. But, if you are looking for something different take a look at some of the motorcycle headlights that are molded into the fairing.
You have hit on one of my concerns. I would like to find something smaller and more streamlined, but it may not look better than what I have. I will mock it up in cardboard first and see how I like the look. I was thinking that given the original mounting holes for the headlights are down in the area between the inside of the fender and the nose that I might be able to put something in there that was not too obvious. Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you want to see at night, taller lights have a better beam pattern. It's physics and optics. The best headlamps for those buckets IMO is the Cibie/Valeo 7" round units. Reasonably priced and pretty widely available. They were mislabeled as "fog lamps" the last time I bought a set on Amazon. I can look for the part number if you want.

You can get a "motorcycle" fixture/bucket for 5-3/4" round lamps. Those are generally used as a set of 4. There isn't one that delivers a complete high beam, although some use H4 bulbs and the outer is a combination low beam/partial high beam. You might be able to find some for the smaller rectangular lamps as well. In the small rectangular, the H4666 sealed beams will deliver both high and low beam that (barely) meets USDOT safety specifications. That's what came in my S10 pickup. I replaced those with Cibie/Valeo Euro units that were NOS and no longer made and cost over $300 for the pair. And those don't give adequate high beam performance, so I ended up getting a pair of motorcycle mounts and putting those on my bumper with highbeam only H1 lamps.

Avoid anything with LEDs if you plan to drive at night. None of those are safe or adequate as headlights. From my own observations, you're more likely to blind yourself and wreck your own ride with them than cause other drivers to actually have an accident. You will mostly just annoy the hell out of other drivers. You're the one in danger with those.
Thanks for the info. I don't want to go with four headlights.
I would appreciate it if you could provide the Cibie/Valeo part number. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Another possibility is something longer more streamlined and smaller like the 7" late 30's Chevy that would go with the long flowing fenders or just use something completely different like the non round (I believe) Graham of an earlier year.
I checked out the 1939 Chevy car headlights. That looks like a nice option. I did not find any 1939 car headlights for sale, only Chevy truck which are similar to what I have now from the Graham.
 

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I would appreciate it if you could provide the Cibie/Valeo part number. Thanks.
Cibie/Valeo 82440

Get them soon. Looks like those are now discontinued.

Use the best H4 halogen bulbs you can find. Phillips H4-XV "Xtreme Vision" are what I've used in the past. Osram Night Breaker Laser "+150" is another I've heard good things about.
 

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Also, before someone pipes in that Osram is now offering a "street legal" LED "bulb" in H4 and H7 applications, you have to read the fine print on those. They are only approved for use in certain specific vehicles with the factory optics. The exact list varies by country within Europe, with France and Germany probably having the most stringent optics testing.

One good thing on that German list is the 1997-2006 Jeep TJ Wrangler and the 2007-2018 Jeep JK Wranglers with H4 headlamps. I believe that headlamp assemblies for the JK are still available new from your local Mopar parts counter. I'm not sure about the earlier TJ model.
 

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I recently saw in a movie a car from the '30s (unmodified, the movie took place in the '30s) with no headlights on the front fenders, the headlights were mounted on each side of the windshield, apparently on the cowl panel. It sure made for a clean-looking front end and enhanced the swoopiness of the front fenders!
 
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