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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. notrod13
    Joined: Dec 13, 2005
    Posts: 988

    from long beach

    just send the spots to me friend... ill use em ..
  2. chiro
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 908


    Some people like E and J headlights too. It's just personal preference. It's your ride. Make it the way it makes YOU happy. In the end, that's all that matters.

  3. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,470

    Rusty O'Toole

    Spotlights for car go back to the twenties or earlier. In those days there were no street lights outside the big city and not many IN the big city. A spotlight was handy for spotting road signs, street signs, street numbers etc.

    There were a lot of different designs of lights for fog lights, driving lights, spotlights etc for all different kinds of cars. Red spotlights and red lights on the front of a car were illegal except for official emergency vehicles. Other than that you could do what you liked.

    Then in 1951 or 52 spotlights became illegal. The excuse was they were a hazard because a driver could use one to blind an oncoming driver. But really it was because drag racers used them to flag illegal drag races at night, and to signal each other the cops were coming.

    After that some guys used them for looks even though it was illegal to wire them up. Von Dutch claimed he installed the first dummy spot to cover up a flaw or dent in a paint job, using an old spotlight suitably gutted.
  4. Well not exactly. If it has to do with Jive Bomber's Merc it really does matter.

    I kind of like Jive Bomber and his Merc is becomming about as sweet as it gets. If I can say something that helps him not screw it up in the end even if it offends him I am going to say it.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  5. gee i thought the fake were where the door opening buttons were all hid ...ooops some may not have known?
  6. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    Some famous customizer (can't remember who) said " If spotlights had been standard equipment on cars, they would have been the first thing the customizers removed".
  7. Marcy
    Joined: Apr 6, 2004
    Posts: 1,532


    I can't think of a single car I think looks better with spots---for me the disruption of smooth flowing lines is a shame.

  8. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Whoever he was, he hit the nail squarely on the head.
  9. mastergun1980
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 1,095

    from Alva OK

    In my opinion spotlights are for cop cars and farm trucks
  10. Beaner have you ever used the red lens cover for after dark hunting? I have 1,000 cdl power hand held w/red removable lens for coyotes after dark. The red light doesn't bother them.
    you fellows looking for a pair of unitys look in the for sale thread.
  11. Cruiser
    Joined: May 29, 2006
    Posts: 2,240


    I like spot lights. My '41 Ford tail dragger had real 812 Appleton's and looked very cool. I didn't run them on my '49 Caddy because they wouldn't look good on it's classic lines. I'm building a '52 Chevy Fleetline and I'll be running Kustom Kraft spotlights from "King of Dice" because they look cool on the car.
    The Kustom Kraft spotlights duplicate the Appleton look with the right shape. It all depends on the car, early tail draggers, Merc's look cool with the spots, early '60's Chevys don't look good with them. If, the shape is right, the car is right, dummy spots are fine with me.
    Early customs only had one spotlight like the police cars then the custom guys used two to balance the look out.

    Dummy or real spotlights are cool.

    CRUISER :cool:
  12. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,930

    from Tampa, FL

    I forgot about spot light "dancing" on drive-in screens. You had to park down front and center for the best effects. My folks never had a car with spots, but I sure remember seeing them when I was young at the movies. The real jerks did it during the movie, but not for long. Ya know, I think one of those jokers might have invented Pong! Gary
  13. chillywilly
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 274


    I'm building a 50 shoebox coupe with a subtle 3" chop and I've got a pair I will be putting on. I think it's like the rest of customizing a car - taste, preference, style and of course appearance. Mine are the Appleton S-451 style which is a flatter style ... not tall and pointy like the 112s so they better fit the profile of my roof. And of course functional - never put anything on a car that isnt functional. Point is there are many different kinds of whatever you want to customize or accessorize your car with... use your brain, do research, study history and tons of photographs and try things out. You'll find something that you like - looks good or you'll find that you don't need it.
  14. Listen to Tardel!
  15. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,028

    from California

    damn, you can't argue with that :eek:
  16. I think dummy spots ruined it for everybody. just like all the cool stuff that is starting to get repopped these days. i love lincoln door buttons but i noticed alot of them in santa maria last year.

    with that being said i just bought a appelton for my car. and when i can score another i will buy it as well. i bought lorraine spots for my car. i wanted 552's and i admit that they fit the timeline of my car a bit better.but my grandma who raised me is named lorraine and i thought it would be a fitting tribute to her. so here we are.



    and for you guys looking at unity spots they are a shit ton bigger then the one i just bought.
  17. not that this is helpful but i like cars with and without them. it looks damn good as is. but i do think it would be good with them in. how about someone photoshop them in?
  18. I bought a mild custom 59 Chev big window truck years ago that had the dummys on them. First thing I changed on that truck. I still have em in a box somewhere.

    In HS we had a 64 Imperial convertible that had a spot on it ... we used it to cause trouble =)

    My 41 Caddy has one. I believe the original owner purchased the car that way. Im sure it wasnt for a custom look, I believe he used it for its intended use. If I ever do something with that car I may just keep it because it came on the car.

    I have a set of Unity's I took off a 72 Chev truck, I may use one of them on my panel. My hope is to use it as a push truck someday and I think it would be a good addition to the build.

    As far as spots on customs ... it depends on the custom.
  19. spiders web
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 384

    spiders web

    Personally I like them on a car that has not been chopped. If a chop is performed then I believe I would pass. Functional is prefered. .02
  20. I/m with Andy, do what makes you feel good about your car.
  21. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907


    I think it depends on the individual vehicle.... Some fit right in with the whole picture,...others not so much. It's like having just the correct color, to go with the lines of the car / truck.

  22. Strange Agent
    Joined: Sep 29, 2008
    Posts: 2,879

    Strange Agent
    from Ponder, TX

    I think it works on some cars, but in general, it can muck up the lines of a clean custom.
  23. Sledge
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,722

    from Nor Cal

    Spotlights on an early custom are like jewelery on a pretty lady. Much like the Caddy's and Packards running around back then with factory spotlights, the custom guys wanted to add a touch of class to their fords and mercs!
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  24. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,633

    from Chino, Ca

    Amen and God knows Fords need all the help they can get to look halfway decent.:D
  25. What Mike said. (Although I wasn't around in '53) :)
  26. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094


    Less will always be more to a "Hot Rod guy" and if I'm not mistaken (It's happened before :eek:) Mr Tardel Sr. is that guy.
  27. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,775


    I'm not a fan of anything being what you're 'supposed to do'... things like this need to be viewed on a case-by-case basis to see if it improves or detracts from the particular vehicle. With that said, I'm not a fan of dummy spots. They should be functional, and I like driver-side only... or go with twins if you need symmetry... but the key is that it/they would be a functional accessory, not a bolt-on geegaw.
  28. Never tried the red lens, I'll bet it does make a difference. The red lense always worked just the opposite on me, when a cop shined that sucker at me I always knew i was in trouble for something. :D

    There seems to be a lot of functional and dummy discussion. Here is something to think about when you are thinking dummy spots, we get all over the rat rod crowd to welding stupid stuff on their car. The mentality is that they are just putting stuff on for the sake of putting stuff on, I would think that a dummy spot would fall into that catagory, why bolt something on just for the sake of bolting something on.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  29. Kripfink
    Joined: Sep 30, 2008
    Posts: 2,040

    Member Emeritus

    I have a custom panel truck and I can't chop it because I wouldn't get me in the wheelchair inside. However, I put on my cal custom style dummies and they trick the eye into thinking the windshield and roofline are a good couple of inches lower. Then I had a couple of green 10 W bulbs fitted into the spots wired to come on with the headlights and they sure do make the flake on the hood sparkle nicely. If that makes me a dummy then a dummy I will be.
    Also, I'm not a hot Rodder so I don't pass comment about hotrod etiquette. Seems like a lot of hot Rodders feel like they're qualified to give custom guy's a hard time over custom aesthetics.
  30. Bigchuck
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 1,141

    from Austin, TX

    Yup, it is all matter of opinion. I never cared for spots myself, the fake ones are the worst. I guess I just don't get it.

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