ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

Electric Eyes

Reinstalling the headlights is a job that requires time and finesse.  There are lots of parts comprising the mechanism that raises and lowers the headlight assembly, and they required some minor restoration before they could be reassembled.

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As you can see, I refinished most of the parts with a nice satin black that will remain clean and low key, although they’ll be mostly unseen.  The headlight motors got a coat of cold galvanizing compound and then a final coat of metallic silver, giving them a clean look which is not far from their original galvanized case.

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Getting the actuating arm from the motor axle through the slot in the headlight well and attached to the tilting headlight bracket was a small challenge, especially since it all must happen through the collar of a rubber weather boot that envelops and seals the motor hub apparatus when finished.

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The next step actually relates to the EV conversion side of the equation, and it regards the headlamps.  I have upgraded from the original incandescent to HID (high intensity discharge) for power, longevity and energy savings.  This is a Xentec universal slim ballast bi-xenon kit (including the high beam switching option), purchased from HID Country .  An HID headlight is basically a gas-arc lamp that uses a plasma to generate more light in the visible spectrum with less wasted heat than a comparable incandescent bulb, while consuming less than one half of the energy to do it.  Of course, in an electric car this is crucial.  HID lamps also produce more UV light, so the lens is manufactured with filters for the protection and safety of the user and general public.  They also require a separate external electronic ballast for each lamp, which means they aren’t exactly plug & play, but easy enough to install nonetheless.  Above you can see each ballast and bulb on the left, and the system relay bundled up on the right.  I zip-tied my ballasts to the support posts under each headlight motor, where they’ll be hidden from view.

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Most HID kits are designed for converting preexisting halogen lights to HID, so they assume you already have the correct headlight fixture.  The original 914 headlights were standard incandescent sealed beams, so I first needed to order an H4 halogen conversion kit with a housing that allows for bulb swapping.  When the kit I ordered on eBay Motors arrived, I just pulled the stock halogen bulbs and swapped in the bi-xenon HID bulbs.

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Here’s a shot with everything installed.  The final step is to adjust the play on the headlight tilting mechanism, allowing the headlights to open and close without rubbing or binding against any body parts, and ensuring the headlights come to a clean rest position.  I scrapped the rubber grommet dealies that fixed the lower eyelids in place under each headlight, simply because they didn’t allow for adjustment where the clearance issues were most critical.  I bought some 6mm stainless machine screws, nuts and a few nylon fender washers, and now those eyelids will stay wherever I put them.  Once the EV is mobile, I’ll drive out to Target and use the big white backside to tweak the headlight vertical and horizontal position.

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Here’s a closer look at the finished HID headlight alongside the Euro-style turn signal lens.  It’s beginning to look like a real car again.

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7 Responses to “Electric Eyes”

  1. Very nice !! It is definitely looking like a car again, you are doing an amazing job.

  2. Sweet!!! Your car now has eyes and is gaining a personality just like its owner.

  3. […] H6024 headlamps were replaced with H4 halogen housings, allowing an easy conversion to HID bulbs (see Electric Eyes), which put out less heat, more visible light, and use half the […]

  4. […] with aftermarket conversion housings, and fitted with bi-xenon HID bulbs, ballasts and relays.  An earlier post explains the HID install in detail.  The primary power wire was extended from the trunk into the […]

  5. Fantastic job. Clean…Very clean. Jack Rickard would be proud. EVTV.me


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