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Spotlights? Why exactly do we run 'em?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Jive-Bomber
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    Jive-Bomber
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  2. Ryan
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    Ryan
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    I like spots on a lot of occasions, however this isn't one of them. Especially with the new chop, I think your old car is just too damned clean for em.
  3. SUHRsc
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    I have no intentions of running them on my "custom" if I ever get around to working on it.... shooting for a clean simple mid 40's look.....
  4. Squablow
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    Squablow Member

    Personally, I like them. I have an ancient set of dummies ready to go on my current project and I think on the right car they really give the period-perfect look. It's a dress-up item.

    I think the overly smoothed off look is more a holdover product of the 80's and 90's monochromatic street rod days, many of which cars are being restyled traditionally today, hence all the 81 Olds tilt columns and high back bucket seats in otherwise traditional cars.
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  5. liljonny
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    liljonny Member

    I think spots make some cars look cool. Some look like diarrhea! And imo spots sometimes take away from a cars beauty.
  6. liljonny
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    liljonny Member

    Appleton still makes electrical material. Go to any electrical wholesale house. Top quality still! .02
  7. porknbeaner
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    porknbeaner Member

    I run them for hunting at night. But I am not a custom guy.

    Some cars they look good on as though that need to be there good and on others they just look out of place. I think cars are like chicks some chicks just need to accessorize while others don't.
  8. Slide
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    Slide Member

    It's always seemed ironic to me that people would shave a bunch of sparkly trim off a car, then add these chrome warts back on.

    I think they are pretty benign on some customs, but get in the way of the flow more often than not.
  9. Chris
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    1. 34 Fords
    2. Hamb dog lovers
    3. Northwest HAMBers

    I have a set of Appletons on my 41, but when I got it it had dual (miss-matched) spots on it already. I like em on most cars. To be honest I always wondered what made them so popular on early customs.
  10. 40grit
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    40grit Member

    I like them but really prefer the real thing. Not a big fan of dummies. I have a set of two still new in the box. The only reason I have never installed them on one of my cars is I haven't been willing to see them "go down the road" if I sold the car they were on. I would suspect they are pretty valuable by now.

    John L

    [​IMG]
  11. Atwater Mike
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    Atwater Mike Member

    Too many cars with the 'dummie' spots spoiled the pudding, at least for me...

    Appletons were the real deal, and I was aware of them on the 'better' cars since 1953.

    When the dummies came out, (1957? '58?) Cal Custom sold a lot of them. (I liked their profile, but never used 'em...they weren't Appletons)
    Every 'mild custom' to high school kid's stocker had 'em, and guys screwed 'em on fenders, hoods, and everywhere else in the broad area surrounding the 'A' pillars!

    It was one of the early Lodi runs that I saw 3 'Kustoms', two of them had original Appletons. Then they came back out of the woodwork...
    But they don't belong on everything. Some smooth chopped classics can get 'gooked-up', as Von Dutch used to say.
  12. jazzfidelity
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    jazzfidelity Member

    I have a set of dummies (soon to be functional) on my Buick, only thing is people now ask me if it used to be police car at some point..
  13. millersgarage
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    not a fan of fake ones.
    I have one on my '47, mainly because when I bought it, there was a hole in the pillar, and a spotlight in the trunk....
  14. bigeasy
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    bigeasy Member

    You had me when you wrote "set of shiny chrome boobies bolted proudly on the A pillar" I like 'em if they're functional
  15. justanotherguy
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    justanotherguy Member

    Less is more my friend!
  16. Catdaddyo
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    Catdaddyo Member

    Not a fan I think it does mess up the lines on most cars. just my apinion
  17. boozoo
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    boozoo Member

    I plan to put one on my Hudson pickup project... but can't see doing it to anything else I have.
  18. 60galaxieJJ
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    60galaxieJJ Member

    I'm going to run them for functionality so I can find the party :cool:
  19. Squablow
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    Squablow Member


    I had real ones on my '53 and used to get that all the time from ignorants. I took them off of that car, they didn't fit the period.

    I will say that they look best on 40's or early 50's styled cars, the taildragger era, with fender skirts and the really wide whitewalls. I don't like them on late 50's or 60's cars unless they're the factory optional type on a restored stocker or decked-out lowrider.
  20. Kripfink
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    At the end of the day, it all comes down to opinion doesn't it? I mean, there really is no right or wrong here only preference. I choose to run Cal custom style dummies not because I'm cheap, but because that's more than likely what would be used during the period that interests me, i.e. late 50s and early 60s. That said, and taking into account that the real ones were probably never used for their intended purpose, if I was shooting for an early Fifties style I would use functional ones. I guess nothing's changed really since back in the day, you can love them or hate them, either way is traditional!
    Paul
  21. teddyp
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    teddyp Member

    I always like them on some cars i have the fake 522 on 2 of my cars i sold the real ones i had cause in jerzery when i was a kid (i,m 66) you couldn,t pass state inspection with 2 working spots a shame alot of appletons had their handles sawed off and the only car i like with real ones is a 49-51 merc the handles fit in the right place
  22. Dog Dish Deluxe
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    Dog Dish Deluxe BANNED

    "Spotlights? Why exactly do we run 'em?"

    I've always wondered the same thing. Real spots are cool I guess but dummys are well, dumb.

    It's like having a Pontiac Fiero with one of those stupid "Ferrari" body kits on it. If it's not the real thing then its totally retarded and you are just a poser. Lake pipes that aren't functional fall into the same category for me. (My opinion)

    Form will follow function. With the correct functionality, the right aesthetics will apply.
  23. ynottayblock
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    ynottayblock Member

    I never really liked spotlights, sure they can look good on some cars but I'm from the less is more crowd.

    Take Rudy Rodriguez' 40 merc for instance:
    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=552849&highlight=rudy mercury
    Would spots look right on it? sure, but it looks better without. Its perfection.

    I have a question for those with spotlights...how often do you use them? I always see people bashing dummy spots, but have never seen anyone actually use their real spotlights ever.
  24. 49ratfink
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    49ratfink Member

    dummy spots are the most stupid accessory a person could bolt on a car. they should sell a kit, dummy spots, food tray with fake food to hang on the window, and a drive in movie speaker. add an earth angel or lead slead sticker for your quarter panel and you are all set.

    my favorite ones are when they are mounted on the hood. there is no car in the world that looks better with dummy spots.

    real spots are cool on stockers, had a Unity on my 49 4 door. planned on 2 but sold the car.

    I would never put a pair on a '49 or later custom, though on something like your Merc, real ones might be cool, I might be tempted to put just one. I'd have to see the chop all done to make a final decision.
  25. Special Ed
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    Special Ed Member

    "Spotlights? Why exactly do we run 'em?"

    My Muntz left the factory in 1953 with a pair of Appletons on it. Almost every single Jet that MadMan built, had them. I couldn't come up with enough reasons to remove 'em...
  26. Ryan
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    Yeah, you can't take them off your car. No way.

    The differing opinions here? Well, that's what makes all this so much fun.
  27. Old-Soul
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    Old-Soul Member

    I'm thinking about putting a set on my '49, but don't want dummies.

    Other than Appleton, who made period-acceptable spots that guys were running? Unity is a name I hear from time to time.
  28. VoodooTwin
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    VoodooTwin Member

    Less is more. Probably why I'm a hot rodder.
  29. daddio211
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    Funny how many of us wonder about why we run 'em. Somebody here has to know some history on this!

    I never got the dummy spots thing either. Kind of like adding a horn that doesn't work or a passenger side steering wheel that doesn't steer. Just don't make no sense.

    In a time when customizing seemed more like "remove what's not necessary" I wonder who thought "Man those spotlights on my work truck sure are handy, they'd look purdy on my Merc!" Maybe it originated from the lowrider guys, bolting on anything shiny they could find?

    I dig functional spots on the RIGHT car, but my '50 Shoebox isn't one of them.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
  30. plym_46
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    plym_46 Member

    Well they came in handy for two things when we were youths. Sneaking into a lovers lane area then lighting them up was always fun, unless you were on the recieving end. Back when Drive In theaters were still on the social acceptable activity list the also had their uses. Between the two movies back when double features were the rule of the day, the theaters usually had spot lights on the top of the screen, they would light these to allow partons to see their way to the rest room or snack concession. Folks with spot lights would shine their lights at the screen and either dance along to the music, or chase each other around the screen. Some guys even had tited their bulbs, so you could tell wheo was their. When the first video games came out, a few would fake a game of pong on the dark screen.

    Of course lots of guys used them for deer jacking.

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