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History Spotlights in the Spotlight

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by soddruntlestuntle, May 15, 2015.

  1. I'm not a huge fan of spotlights on traditional customs, though I do understand that they were de rigueur for the early 50's time period I'm aiming to mimic with my '41 Chevrolet... with that said, I have an Appleton S-551 spot that I found in the trunk of my car when I got it. My question is, were they ever mounted solo or always in pairs? In all the photos of customs from that era that I've seen twin spots are shown, but I'm sure someone must have run with just one. My main thing is I just don't really want to spend the extra money on another spotlight if I don't have to. I know aesthetically two lights would look more harmonious, more balanced, but I'd like to keep my check book balanced as well. Thoughts? Any photos of customs with just one spotlight?
     
    Model T1 likes this.
  2. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    If your 41 is going to be 100 % stock, then a single spotlight on the driver's side is fine but if you are going to lower it, throw on fender skirts, etc......etc............then dual spotlights is a must.
     
    Model T1 likes this.
  3. And (eventually) a Custom it shall be. So then, let me ask a follow-up question-- from my limited research, I've found that the S-551 is a less desirable model-- is it still worth mounting?
     
  4. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    If I am correct, the S-551 is a large 6 lens and I think it's best used as a single driver's side spotlight. I would install two smaller 5 inch or even better if you can get the teardrop models.
     

  5. rustythumb
    Joined: Nov 24, 2008
    Posts: 101

    rustythumb
    Member

    jack calori's '36 had only 1! but most customs had 2. s552's and 112's were the most popular.
     
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,857

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    I had only one on my 1949 Chevrolet sedan, but it was a stocker. I would not put them on a custom.

    here's an old Appleton store display. pretty cool.

    $_57.jpg
     
  7. 551 was less desirable you can watch ebay and pick one up cheap. really the 552 and 112 are the only ones that are stupid expensive. I would put two on if I were you. And eventually you could piece together a set of 112 for your car. when I get home from work I can post pics side by side of 551 &552 they are completely different spots size wise.
     
  8. eric54chevy
    Joined: Jun 3, 2009
    Posts: 988

    eric54chevy
    Member
    from TEXAS!

    I'm going to run dual 551 on my 41 Merc sedan, I'll post pictures of the dual spots when they get mounted which should be sometime this month. Right now it has the single spot
     

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    soddruntlestuntle likes this.
  9. Eric H
    Joined: Apr 2, 2006
    Posts: 969

    Eric H
    Member

    Many 1940s customs had a single spot.
     
  10. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,032

    Torchie
    Member

    We had this very discussion over on the CCC(Custom Car Chronicle) site not too long ago.
    Appleton 552's or 112's are the standard for custom BUT there are lots of other options out there as well. The 552's and the 112's had the most pronounced bullet shape to them.
    As far as 1 vs 2 goes. It seems that the early customs (Pre war) ran single spots but not always as some were double. No way to no for sure when twins became the latest"had to have" item.
    Torchie
     
  11. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,268

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Depended on where you lived as well - further east you went, the more Unitys you'd see.
    About 1970 I was given a '41 Chev convert that was wrecked in 1950. It had a Lorraine on one side & an Appleton on the other - they looked identical & had factory paint under the brackets.
     
  12. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    Appleton is Lorraine and Lorraine is Appleton
     
  13. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    Unity still produces their vintage spotlights and fog/driving lights in 6 and 12 volts.
     
  14. i don't understand why you would want something your not crazy about on your car.
    if you were to go back in time, would you have done it........just to be like everyone else?
     
    Model T1 likes this.
  15. My friend Teddy, (who is 80 years young), told me that alot of guys only ran one spotlight because having one on the passenger side was illegal. If you had two, the cops would cite you for it every time they saw you. Some guys wouldn't even wire the light up, but the cops didn't care. Dual spots equalled a ticket. That was here in Denver in the 50s, but I'm sure the laws varied by state. E
     
    Model T1 and TonyVan like this.
  16. Just trying to be period correct-- and real spotlights DO look kinda cool-- I guess I shouldn't have said I didn't like them, it's just that there are about 2,356 items on my List of Things to Do to the car ahead of 'purchase proper pair of Appleton S-552 spotlights'.
     
  17. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1
    Member

    That's what we were told in central Illinois too. But I believe they were legal if not wired. My 41 Ford has the fake spotlites with out the hole in the A pillar.
    Guys I knew used them for snooping on lovers lane. :rolleyes:
     
  18. that makes sense.
    i myself don't care for them and can't understand why something that belongs on a utility truck or cop car is a cool thing to have on a custom car.
     
  19. ok here is a pic for you. on my car 552 bottom 451 tarnished 550 and the one with a sticker is a 551.

    [​IMG]
     
    soddruntlestuntle and The G00SE like this.
  20. I'm in the same boat…..and spots are not that high on my to do list for my '41.
     

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