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History Poll one tail light or two

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by porknbeaner, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. One tail light

    32 vote(s)
  2. Nope you dummy two tail lights or stay home.

    127 vote(s)
  3. Other for those who are creative

    14 vote(s)
  1. So Mike britton's thread got me to thinking about something. I know that we are all used to modern rods and saftey is always a concern.

    That said a lot of the cars that we build came with only one tail light. Take for instantace my '38 sedan, it only has one light. Sometimes when I am looking at old rescure rods r or survivors or even piccs of old rods they only have one tail light, even some rods that have an update tail light still only have one tail light.

    So the question becomes if you are building your car and want it to be authentic would you consider running only one tail light, especially if it was a car that only came with one light?

    Note: you are welcome to call me a dummy or what have you for asking this question. I probably have earned it from a couple of you.
  2. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,710


    No body understands hand signels now days you will get runover.
  3. TheTrailerGuy
    Joined: Jun 18, 2011
    Posts: 392


  4. Beano,when I built my first Model A pickup back in the 70's I used only one tail light because that's the way it was equipped when Henry sent them out the door.

    I ran it like that for a long time for that one reason,,I could get away with it.

    As I have gotten old and wiser?,,I realize with the distracted drivers that are on the road two tail lights are better than one,,I even compromised my own distorted rules and now have LED's on my pickup to help alert the tailgates that I am turning or preparing to stop.

    I like the looks of one but in all honesty two are smarter. HRP
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  5. I actually saw someone using hand signals last week and chuckled.

    Missouri actually has a size requirement on tail lights, 2" dia. I don't think that the stock tail light in my '38 meets the size requirement.

    HRP I have actually thought about going one step farther on that one, they make an inertia switch kit (or you could make up your own) that makes your brake lights flash on hard braking. I have thought about one of those setups. Way off from traditional.
  6. Well,the universal hand signal (The Bird) doesn't let people know your stopping the tail lights do. :D HRP
  7. EnragedHawk
    Joined: Jun 17, 2009
    Posts: 1,039

    from Waco, TX

    What about tinting the back window and having your bake, tails, turns, etc there? Look cool at a show, be safe on the road.
  8. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,594


    I would go with one tailight if it's an early car, say, 27 down but two for anything later. I use hand signals on bikes during the day, it tends to catch other drivers attention better. I would think where you live and drive makes a differance too, heavily congested areas two for sure.
  9. If you plan on driving it on public roads, amongst the general public two taillights isn't enough to get their attention, their brains are so used to seeing 3. These idiots around here don't even know to act at a 4 way stop. One tail light would be asking for it around here.

    If I were planning a something other than driving on public roads, One would be fine by me.
  10. Nothing makes me sicker than seeing a Kool Car that's been rear ended. With some 80 percent of drivers doing other things while driving (cell phone, texting, KIDS) just to name a few. It's not like it was back in the 60's when you had a fair chance. No way will I run a 3rd brake light, but 2 taillights, you can count on it here. By the way I've already been rear ended by a D.F. that didn't see my 1 taillight.
    The Wizzard
  11. Magnum Wheel Man
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 418

    Magnum Wheel Man

    My Nash has 2 tailights, but didn't come with turn signals, & I'm keeping it that way...

    one thing... those guys are right, that no one seems to understand the concept of hand signals... even had a "biker" wave at me a while back, while signaling for a right hand turn...

    on the other side, lets hope your ride is so cool, that everyone stops & looks at it as you ride on by... my Nash has that look, I only worry about left hand turns, & just plan on the fact that I'll have to yield to even those behind me... I cheat the center line when possible to get their attention, & honestly I've never had a close call yet, with 2.5 years of driving it pretty regularly

    one thing to consider, is bikes just have one taillight, so if you are wanting to keep an original look, just make sure your taillight is bright ( modern car bright ), & large enough for others to see... ( the original lenses in my Nash were only 2" & quite dim... I replaced them with replica Model A taillights that are 4" & much brighter )

    the safety guy in me, says 2 lights, but as a guy trying to keep an old car pretty original looking, I think if you drive defensively, you'll be fine, just remembering to understand, that everyone else is an idiot, & they'll be doing their best to get in your way...:eek:
  12. hmmm my 50 chev sedan delivery has one tail light stock its fine bombing around the hood but when i'm on the freeway i just cringe ....thinking they wont see the hand signals or even the single light which means of course there is not directional signals .. also my rear visability is still poor with 3 mirrors
    i have found the very rare pass side light but like you i am hedging the install
    'cuz that ain't stock!"
    my other older cars mostly have pairs but not all have directionals ..

    i am all for the safety and have found some lighting that would/could become era correct (but not stock)third brake lights

    its time to change em all ... if i have to....i guess ...
  13. I used to always ride tail end charley and kept a left hand glove with reflective tape on it just for riding at night. But "the times they are a changin'" (Dylan)
  14. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,310

    Model T1

    I'll have to agree with HRP's answer without even going farther.
    And by the way you are a DUMMY ! Which has nothing to do with this thread question.

    Even on my stock 1926 Model T I added another tail light and I used a very large light with the word STOP in the lens as a third brake light in the center of the wood spare tire. Still no signal lights.
  15. nukeman
    Joined: Mar 17, 2007
    Posts: 131

    from Michigan

    You know that everyone behind you is a dummy.
    If you make things hard for the dummys behind you, THAT would make you one of them.

    Ya big dummy!
  16. maybe a set of those magnetic trialer towing lites would be okay at speed and removeable when ya care about your looks ..when ever that is?
  17. Tell you what got me thinking about it real hard, by the '70s 2 lights were the norm. But I was reading an article probably a year ago at least where a fella had an old roadster that had been workin my Mikey Thompson at some point and had the rear panel pretty crappily welded in supposedly by Thompson. It originally had one '48 Chevy light in it according to the pics.

    The guy smoothed out the pan and added another tail light. I got to wondering if he should have left it?

    Oh and Model T1 you are absolutely correct with your assesment. ;)
  18. Two. And a strip LED third in the rear window.
  19. There has to be 1000% more cars on the road than there was 60-80 years ago.
    Law of averages says there are that many more idiots too, just they are a bit dumber today.
  20. Mike Moreau
    Joined: Sep 16, 2011
    Posts: 289

    Mike Moreau

    Safety vs tradition always makes for an interesting discussion. As noted above, people are used to seeing 3 stop lights. The more you drive on the Interstates and fast moving, busy roads, the more you need to think about tail and stop light safety. Traditional tail/stop lights are inferior to modern lights. Traditional lights are much smaller and have poor or non existent optics. You can only do so much with silver paint and bright bulbs of any kind. The best modified old light is a distant second to any modern light in terms of being visible from the rear. 2 traditional tail lights would would be better than one. I chose to add a third brake light with a flasher. The flasher pulses 3 times in six seconds then stays bright. My choice will offend the purists, but it make me feel safer when I hit the brakes and have more than 2 39 Ford tail lights attempt to wake up the texters and cell phone users behind me.
  21. I believe that you have hit on something here.

    Ever since there have been "we finance anyone" car lots springing up on every corner around here anyone who ever wanted to try and drive has bought an old hooptie and tried driving it. Some of those cars wouldn't pass an inspection by a blind inspector.


    I have actually thought of using '40 Ford lights [on a boat fender car], they are not popular today but have been in the past I think because they are bigger but still scream FORD.
  22. George/Maine
    Joined: Jan 6, 2011
    Posts: 949


    My 39 came thru with only one, but added another,and have a reflector on plate.
    I use hand signal till i get hookedup.

  23. Sorry brother, I just had to throw that at 'ya seeing you opened the door! :D


    I'd look at it 2 ways. First, most single tail light cars had a second tail light offered as an option or one was available aftermarket.

    The other is that if you or I were driving only in the daylight hours, I don't see where having 1 tail light is all that big a deal. However if I was driving at night I would want as much light back there as possible so I would go with two.
  24. Many cops dot understad that you only need one tail if it came with only one. My T had a burned out bulb a couple moths back. I got pulled over, he was going to write me a repair order. I told him my car is only required to have one. We argued back and forth. I told him to check with dispach, he did, they said the same thing I did. I didnt get the ticket, but I did have the hassle of being pulled over ad now have a pissed off cop and I drive a very identifiable car.

    I'm sure I will meet him again. :mad:
  25. Around here, if it's there it has to work.

    Make sure you drive around with some free donut coupons in you car. :D
  26. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,310

    Model T1

    Thinking about it, which often confuses me, 99% of these cars are supposed to be traditional rods. Therefore would and should have at least two lights, which include signal lights. From experiance, those famous 39 and 40 Ford rear lights are just not bright enough. They at least need the silver, white, or other treatment to the insides plus brite bulbs or LED's.
    But I remember back in my antique car days, most used a magnetic set of lights while driving to and from shows and road trips. This kept the antique cars original yet semi safe.
    Even my lowly 55 Chevy wagon has four tail/blinker/ brake lights plus an 87 Ford Escort third brake light above the rear lift window. I still panic when some idiot comes up behind at a high rate of speed.
    PS You are not a dummy Beano as hard as you sometimes try!:D
  27. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Hand signals don't work at night.
  28. Prewarcars,
    The ruling in Missouri is if it has it it has to be functional. So they would have had you over a barrel here, but all they normally do is give you a warning and you promise to fix it ricky tic. But they could write you up and would have had you.
    Hey still among the living. One of my favorite Fred Standford sayings by the way. ;)
  29. Two taillights and this lighted hitch cover when I'm not towing the trailer on the coupe. Basically the more the merrier because of distracted drivers. The third light in the rear window doesn't belong in traditional hot rods IMO

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  30. Thats what the cop here said too, dispach told him otherwise. I told him (as well as dispach did) that it was considered a "accessory lamp" and could be functional or decorative (same as a non required 3rd brake light). I would love to see a law that says otherwise, most guys assume that it does because the law says you have to have 2 working lamps, year appropriate.

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