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Where did spotlights on Kustoms come from?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by adamshumard, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. RalphyBoy161
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 915


    I think just like the dummy lake pipes...THEY JUST LOOK FUCKEN KOOL AZ HELL!
  2. RDR
    Joined: May 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,365


    love em,hate em;love em,hate em;.....(makes the world go round)
  3. We used them to check parkers on the back roads back in the 50's ha ha.
  4. Wild Turkey
    Joined: Oct 17, 2005
    Posts: 903

    Wild Turkey

    That wasn't very nice of you, was it.:rolleyes::D

    Need a replacement taillight lens for my '57 Poncho -- found one in local wrecking yard but the reflectors in the middle had been drilled out so he would be harder to spot!:D
  5. 56fordf100
    Joined: Nov 23, 2008
    Posts: 115

    from Arkansas

    Now I have a lot of junk in my head that I didn't have before. :cool:
  6. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,246

    from Quincy, IL

    there is another reason you find the real ones on late 40's particular. After wwII cars were in heavy demand and dealers could sell anything there recived from the factory and they loaded them with accessories to improve the profit. so, seat covers, windshield visors, bumper guards, and yes, spotlights were among the items they added. most weren't very stylish, but the appleton 'teardrop' style were very much so.......and then the 'dummy spots', as they were called became very popular. as stated by a previous poster, they were a cruiser skirts, b ubble skirts, chrome reverse wheels, lake pipes (usually 'dummy') continental kits and so on........

  7. Four of us were trying to locate a freind parking one night.
    Car was a 49 Ford coupe mildly customised. Jet black shaved hood
    and dual spots with a seperate switch that controled both spots.
    Moon was full that night so we're cruiseing with all lights off
    to be sneaky!
    Didn't find the parkers so guy says turn on the fng lights.
    Guy hit the spots! Blinding the driver as they were pointed at hood.
    Ran into ditch and we all had to push her out.
    1958 wish I was back.
  8. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,045

    from Tampa, FL

    Mostly for "fun" playing spot light tag at drive-in theatres! Gary

    Sort of a pre-historic Pong game.
  9. My grandmothers 50 hudson hornet had one it , must have been a factory install or a dealer install. Had a rear view mounted on the rear. Made for a remote control mirror. Bet she never turned it on.
  10. TinWolf
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 190

    from Sweden

    First of all there is no single reason for any changes made on customs , customs are fashion .
    Customs by definition are a modifyed car usually cheaper brands like Ford , Mercury , Chevrolet ..... to look expensive and influeces were taked from the expensive brands , Cadillac , Lincoln , Packard , Prototype cars . Spotlights can be seen from all kind of things as far apart as Duesenburgs to Chris craft roundabouts , ofcause both as a stylish option as well as working lights but customs I think It must have bin more a stylish "add ons" to brake up massive molded painted panels . Look at the early customs build before 1950 using dual spotlights , George Barris -41 Buick and others , in the beginning guys even got stopped by the cops for having a light on the right side and they were not allowed to work or they got a ticket . Some early customs only had one spotlight like Calori -36 Ford and the -36 Ford 5W with narrowed grill. Dual Appletons court on and by 1950 Appleton spotlights seemd part of the basic recipe brewing a custom . Appleton Series 112 / 552 were used up to possibly -53-54 and by mid fifties Georg Barris got the declining spotlight manufacturer Appleton spotlight to make a slightly smaller size Appleton spotlight with or without handles and sold in his name . By late fifties the custom era was in decline and so were the use of spotlight only used the easy assemble dummys on front fenders since cars by that time had panoramic front windows and the A-pillar were out of reach .
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  11. guiseart
    Joined: Apr 7, 2005
    Posts: 3,872


    I don't understand them... but I don't understand flame-throwers, fuzzy dice, ass-dragging bumper-mounted metal plates, or retractable antenna either.
  12. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    Spot lights were a police/fire (emergency) vehicle accessory. Well into the 1950s, even later, it was illegal to have them on a citizen's car in many jurisdictions. Not necessarily written into the law, but cops were famous for writing tickets for "illegal modifications" anyhow, and got away with it. Spots were in the same category of 'pipes, fenderless, etc. Leaders in town didn't like it for hot rodders to modify their cars. Hot rodders were considered low-lifes, to be discouraged, and kept off the streets at any cost. In those days, cops spent a lot of time writing tickets for 'modified' vehicles, a lot of times it was a vindictive act, where they wrote up their enemies and didn't bother their friends.

    Whether one likes them or not is happenstance. I like mine.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2009
  13. TinWolf
    Joined: Sep 12, 2006
    Posts: 190

    from Sweden

    There is nothing to understand , either you like it or not ...............!
    No word can explain a good painting or the taste of a good wine , either you like it or you dont and move on to somthing you like ..............!
  14. MUNCIE
    Joined: Jan 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,286


    WhenI was a kid I thought that they all actually worked until one time I asked a uncle to turn his on and he said they didn't work so I thought well they must be broke or something it wasn't until my early teenage years that I figured out that they were called dummy lights for the reason that they don't actual turn on.Being a kid and seeing them in the movies I just assumed they all worked like on the police cars and stuff.But if I ever build me a kustom I would want some on it.It would be even better if they actually worked now that would be cool as hell in my opinion!!
  15. AV88
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 235


    I Got told dummies were put on in pairs to give the impression of a lower windshield , Ive got them on my car and when you take them off the whole windshield becomes huge it's a true thing and a traditional thing, Once you go spotlights you can't go back , I like em
  16. AV88
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 235


    See the difference no spotlights = tall windshield ,different angles I know but ImageUploadedByTJJ1342595703.573679.jpg it's true you gotta beleive me
  17. 60galaxieJJ
    Joined: Dec 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,525


    Hmmm I don't know but I am planning to put one on my Galaxie and it WILL work:cool:
  18. Heo2
    Joined: Aug 9, 2011
    Posts: 661


    They are for light up girls on the sidewalk
    so you see what they look like before you
    pick them up
  19. Heo2 that sounds like a perfectly logical use for them on a custom.
  20. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,045

    from Tampa, FL

    A couple more thoughts...

    If you must have them, I'd use a dummy and mount them a little more to the side so perhaps you could turn them into cool rearview mirrors by replacing the useless glass / reflector parts with a very good rear view mirror. But you might have to ditch the regular mount and attach them with something more adjustable.

    I'd also guess that while spots had a many practical uses, that sooner or later some jackasses would shine them at oncoming cars or harrass cars ahead of them on the road - causing untold mysery in the case of oncoming cars - and were banned because of accidents.

    There are lots of laws now that prohibit making your car look like a police car or emergency vehicle, probably to prevent confusion and to protect the public from criminals who impersonate officials. Gary
  21. 6t5frlane
    Joined: Dec 8, 2004
    Posts: 2,382

    from New York

    Thats what I was thinking
  22. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    Nobody ever told me this, but that was what I figured.
  23. pwschuh
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,501


    In 1970 my dad bought a 68 Chrysler Town & Country (440, dual exhausts) on which the previous owner had mounted two spot lights. The Chrysler/Plymouth dealer we bought it from said that the guy bought a new car every two years and always put two spotlights on his cars. He had traded in the T&C on a 1970 Dodge Charger, which also got two spotlights. The dealer didn't know why. Maybe he grew up seeing customs with spotlights?

    The driver's side spot was a working light and the passenger side light was real, but it was not hooked up. We were told at the time that in Ohio, you could not have two working spotlights so that you could not use them in place of headlights. I used it fairly often to read house numbers, read street signs, mess with my friends, etc.
  24. ne'erdowell
    Joined: Nov 30, 2005
    Posts: 455


    So, on working spots, how can you tell if they are meant for pillar or cowl? Are the mounting plates interchangeable and available? Is there a good resource for info?
  25. 49coupe
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 566


    I love it when I see a pair of dummy spots mounted 6" from the windshield on the front fenders. Gee, are those real. The guy must have used 2 borgenson universals and been an engineer to make that work...... I like them on SOME early kustoms. Main reason I've been told echos whats been said: practical, but mainly to break up the long window posts and add chrome eye-candy to a smoothed car.
  26. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,974


    When I was younger, back in the early 50's I remember my Father using them to find places we were going at mentioned earlier, no street lights, and if no porch light on it was hard to see he used the spot light to find the place we were going... just one of many uses I am sure.

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