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Hot Rods I wish guys would follow their own car after they're done

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rustynewyorker, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. Leaving the Prison City Ramblers car show in Auburn today I wound up behind a nice white '28 A Tudor that was more street rod in touches and even though he had '46-'48 Chevy lights in the fenders they were damn near invisible. Looked like a single LED inside of them, at more than 50 feet they were about useless.

    Then he went over some bumps where the city is repaving a street and the door popped open, he had to shut it. It was funny in the moment but jeeze if the car's ever in a wreck the doors are going to fly open and the people inside fly right out.

    Something you guys might want to consider is have someone else drive the car and you follow it and see what other people see. Just because the lights work doesn't mean the visibility is great. I see a lot of cars get lights tacked on and they're meant to be roughly vertical, but get aimed up or down to fit the car's body. This one the angle was about right, they were just dark. I know we hate LED bulbs here but that alone would have made them a ton more visible.

    I wound up backing way off from the guy and he still made a left turn in front of me that surprised me because the lights were so dim. But I was glad he turned off and I didn't have to follow him anymore.

    And I think anything I have in the future is going to get bearclaw latches put in it. The door mechanisms out of 95-back GM G-vans are narrow enough they'd adapt easy to a lot of cars if you don't want to spring for some expensive 1-800 kit. The ones in the right side middle door may be even smaller, I haven't taken one apart yet.
    GuyW, INVISIBLEKID, trollst and 11 others like this.
  2. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,405

    from Oregon

    That a great tip about the 95 and back vans. Thanks. I have had similar experiences. An ounce of prevention as they say.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  3. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,946

    from Minnesota

    Add no side view mirrors to the list.
    Have seen way too many guys who just start waving a arm out and moving over with a following vehicle by the rear fender
    Robert J. Palmer likes this.
  4. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,473

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    I agree. Traditional is kool , but safety must always come first. Over the years I have seen a dozen nice cars get wrecked because the tail lights or front turn signals where almost invisible. Street roddish or not a third brake light in the upper rear window is a no brainer. In this case he could have fashioned a mounting bucket and used the same 40's era chevy tail light. My Merc has a Halloween skull with a led light mounted in side. Folks that have seen it think it is kool as hell. Be safe people. Larry
    wicarnut likes this.

  5. To expect that "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" would work to whom you ask to stand before it is just as equally a lie that'll it happen.
    iwanaflattie likes this.
  6. Good point. I actually did have my son follow me in my coupe to check out the lights. Afterwards I decided to put a small row of LED brake lights in the back window. Getting rear ended in one of these old cars is not going to come out good for us.
  7. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,060

    from California

    had a buddy like that . we told him his tail lights were useless, and he got pissed off.
    GuyW likes this.
  8. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,191

    rusty rocket

    I hear ya. Went to a run this weekend, on the Friday nite cruz I followed a guy on one leg of the drive(no brake lights). Tried tracking him down but couldnt find him, fast forward to Saturday morning I find him and tell him that his brake lights were not working. He had the balls to say yes they do. I tell him I followed him thru town and there were no brake lights. Must have hurt his feelings! I know if someone out of the blue had told me the same news I would be very thankful.
    I guess you cant fix stupid!!!!!
    49ratfink, GuyW, pecker head and 10 others like this.
  9. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,121

    from Michigan

    Yo got that right!!!!!.....:confused::rolleyes:
    mad mikey and lothiandon1940 like this.
  10. Many years ago I finished a '55 Chevy. It looked great, sounded great, and handled as well as could be expected.
    The first trip in the neighborhood was going splendidly as I eased up to a stop sign. A guy pulled up next to me and hollered "Nice car but did you know you have no brake lights?

    I waved and thanked him and headed home. Sure enough as I backed up to the garage door there were no brake lights. The brake light switch on the steering column had slipped--probably due to my carelessness.

    I think about that good guy and how he might have prevented something serious every time I fire something new up for it's first time. OP has a great point!
    INVISIBLEKID, clem, catdad49 and 3 others like this.
  11. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,374


    A week or so ago I was following a mid 60s Chevy pickup on the interstate. The truck must not have been equipped with turn signals, every time he changed lanes to pass someone, he was waving his arm out the window. Most of the people around him had little clue what the hand turn signals were, or what they meant. I witnessed him nearly getting wrecked on 3 different occasions. It didn't help that he would fly up on someone's rear end, wave his are out the window and change lanes with little regard if someone was beside him or not. I followed him for a while and covered his butt, but had to leave him just before we entered Nashville. I sure hope he made it to where ever he was going.

    Along with tail lights and brake lights that are bright enough to see during the daylight, also add functioning turn signals. Gene
  12. Agreed. I went on a rod run and the friend behind said he couldnt see my lights very well, so I ended up getting led’s with the blue dot built in since that what I had before. All lights work including turn signals. Even has hazzards.

    wicarnut and lothiandon1940 like this.
  13. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 26,664

    Jalopy Joker

    what a "delicate" subject - as stated, having the "just right" Cool look is a high priority - as driver/owner you may be willing to give up on some common sense creature comforts - but, wake up and realize most people on the road do not give a shit if you are in their way - tail lights are a secondary item for many - and more than one visible light is limited - like others, have been behind older cars with stock dark red tail light lenses with a 6 volt system and have no idea if their brake lights are working because the light can not be seen - as others have found out, you inform the owner about the problem and they think you are a critical nut that does not understand that this is how it was back when the car was built - I have brought up using LED lights or brite bulbs behind quality plastic stock looking lenses only to be chewed up for presenting a non-traditional idea - no true solution but, wait for the endangerment of themselves and other drivers around them to cause an accident - yes, rearview mirrors fall into the same category - have been in chopped cars with very little, if any visibility , that just meander down the road looking Cool - just overly cautious I guess - and yes, I have been guilty of holding my cell phone in my hand and glancing down at the GPS map because my pipes are too loud to be able to hear the talking voice that is telling me when to turn next - enjoy the ride, that is what it is all about ----
    GuyW, Bearcat_V8 and loudbang like this.
  14. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,873

    from Berry, AL

    I have often wondered if when these older lights were new if they weren't a lighter color, and darkened with age? I know plastic discolors with age, but what about glass? I have bought NOS lens and lights for OT 60's cars and they would be lighter than the ones on the vehicle, so it stands to reason that a lens even older than that could age darken. Or am I just full of crap on this?
  15. I had the same problem with my stock 47 Chevy tail lights- someone behind me on a run said they were hard to see. I got into them, the glass lenses were OK, but the inside of the housing was black with crud, corrosion, etc. I sandblasted them and painted the surface gloss white, the increase in light output was fantastic.
    I hate following a new car with the provision for 65 brake lights, but only 1 measly bulb is working. Makes me think if they have 4 out of 4 brakes working, too.
    Montana1 likes this.
  16. MAD MIKE
    Joined: Aug 1, 2009
    Posts: 611

    from 94577

    So true with custom tail light installations.
    This even happens with older stock systems. It's amazing how much crud can buildup on bulbs and lenses. Simply cleaning them can do wonders for how bright they become. Playing with amber vs clear lamps also can increase the apparent intensity of the lamp/lense combination. How often do you see an LED replacement bulb used in an older housing and it is less useful than if it was just the original incandescent lamp.
  17. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,160


    Following your own rig in another vehicle both in daylight and at night is something I have preached for a while. I've followed too many other rods with lights that you can't tell if they were working or not over the years.
    Cleaning the inside of the housing and painting it bright white is probably the simplest thing you can do to get the lights brighter. Switching from 1157 to 2357 bulbs helps a lot too. I did both on my 48 and then on my 71 GMC after a state patrolman stopped me and told me my tail lights were real dim. Got home parked the truck and left the park lights on and started walking back out my 400 ft driveway and at about 200 ft they were dim and at about 350 ft you had a real hard time seeing them. Pulled them apart the next morning, cleaned and painted them, ran to town for 2357 bulbs and no more problems and what a difference.
  18. 56premiere
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 1,445

    from oregon

    I've never heard of those 2357 bulbs, thanks Mr48. I go through every car I get and clean up the lights and paint the insides , I think flat bright white seems best.
  19. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 2,438


    Confession time. I'm guilty of this sort of thing. My last car was 6 volt with a single taillight. Oh yeah the gas tank was in the trunk and was only separated from the passenger compartment by seat springs. Super dangerous.

    My current car which isn't done yet has some questionable stuff like crappy door latches which I'm dealing with. Now that I'm a little older I would never do some of the stuff I did in the past and take safety way more seriously. Ive taken quite a few steps backwards on my current build to address some of the sketchy stuff. When I see hotrods that have been crashed and think about my own car it definately makes me look at stuff different.
    mad mikey and Ron Funkhouser like this.
  20. I always have someone drive my "new" cars and I follow behind. I look for exhaust smoke, listen closely for funny sounds, watch to see if it tracks squarely. Of course watch the signals and brake lights. With my current car, I was able to observe the brake lights were slow to come on, fixed that with a switch that trips easier. I'm a bug about my signals and brake lights working. Part of the reason for the new wiring harness.
    wicarnut and Ron Funkhouser like this.
  21. Following a car we've built is standard operating procedure here.
  22. Some great suggestions guys. I add to the list. I don't let others drive my Hot Rods {or play with my toys} Lol:rolleyes: But I cruise a lot with friends. We video each other, and watch for problems. I put a new set of rims on my delivery. I couldn't tell by the driving it, but one of the NEW wheels was bent, probably dropped at the factory.:mad: Another time a cop pulled me over in my Nomad, and said that my break lights weren't working. I thanked him, He not only didn't give me a ticket. But followed me home for safety. It was just the switch.:) Also on the door opening thing. 202.jpg I put these little screen door hooks at the bottom of the doors., cheap and it works too. Ron.....
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  23. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,360


    Great advice,
    I followed a friend in his ‘34 coupe a while back and couldn’t see his brake lights come on, on a sunny afternoon.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    chryslerfan55 and Ron Funkhouser like this.
  24. Some good advice here, Guys!

    I haven't heard of the #2357 bulbs, but I think I'll give it a try. Thanks Mr48chev...

    To add to the mix, I've found that the 3" convex "spot" mirrors fit perfectly on my peep mirrors and give a full lane view on either side of my sedan. ;) These bodies are pretty curved and I couldn't see past the door before, plus there's a huge blind spot in the back corner.


  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,160


    I think I have a box of those damned peep mirrors out in the shed that I have tried and pulled off the 48 over the years. they all shake and I couldn't find one of them that I could actually see behind me with enough to feel safe.. About all they are good for is to pass the Must have two rear view mirrors on the car to be legal in the state of Washington thing. Daughter got pulled over on that one not having an inside mirror at the time and had to explain to the cop that the law read "2" rear view mirrors and didn't specify that it had to have the inside mirror. She points to her left and right mirrors, he says "oh have a nice day" and that was that.
  26. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,299


    I think your suggestion is a good one and one that I should do. I do not have period correct rear lighting, and have motorcycle lights in front for turn signals. I used LED units in the back and assume they are bright from a distance, I need to check that out to make sure my assumption is correct.

    I am building a Studebaker and I want to somehow upgrade the tail lights so they are brighter than the factory designed lights in 1953 IMG_1142.JPG
  27. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,571

    from So Cal

    I've got those on my A too. I use them every time I drive it. Even though it has bear claw latches, those will also pop open with the right conditions.
  28. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,664

    Bandit Billy

    I haven't followed any of my builds but I'd follow @lonejacklarry 's avatar anywhere she went!
  29. Another thing that gripes me, are headlights with the so-called turn signals in or around the lens. I can NOT see them flashing and never know if they are turning or not! So, I just wait patiently (yeah right) until they either turn or go straight.

    OK, rant over... :rolleyes:
  30. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,153

    from Burton, MI

    Huh. I'm gonna get home and pull my Shoebox out in the sun and turn the lights on. Let's see how far down the driveway I can see them. Great advice guys!
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.

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