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Last page update was 27 May 2020


It is important that these are all E-marked for SVA. I'm also keen to use LED lighting where possible to reduce weight and power usage and to improve reliability. When all you do is race, lighting is just extra weight but, a large part of my fun comes from local B-roads (rarely at night) and being visible on the road is important in such a low car.

Generally, I drive with the side lights on, just so that my car is more visible. This is especially important on country lanes where you are often in the shade of trees.

In 2019, I had to replace the alternator on the R1 engine. I'm pretty sure this was down to driving a classic car run with the headlights on for a long period of time. The alternators in bike engines really don't like the extra loads placed on them by the additional lights used on a car. For this reason, I'm trying to convert all of the light bulbs (including the H4 headlight bulbs) to LED. I could just fit complete LED light units but I prefer the 'classic' look of the existing glass headlight units.

Front Headlights

The front lamps provide high beam, low beam and side lights. My preferred solution is to use a quality, Wipac  Quadoptic Halogen 7" lamp from Vehicle Wiring Products  with halogen bulbs (ref. 4698). Osram Silver Star bulbs from Powerbulbs.com  get top scores in the Auto Express H4 +50% bulb tests.
The lamps need a mounting shell (ref. 5400) and some outer rims (ref. 5445). Unfortuntely these come in a chrome finish only, so I'm going to have to get them powder coated in black.

Update: 2010 - I never did get the surrounds powder coated in black but, I replaced the chrome ones with stainless-steel equivalents as they went rusty quite quickly.

Headlight Bulbs

One thing I could not find anywhere on the Internet was the pin designations on the H4 headlight bulb. With the bulb the right way up, the pins form an n shape when viewed from the rear. Left pin is common ground, top pin is low beam and right pin is high beam.

June 2020 - I've ordered some LED H4 bulbs to try.

Sidelight Bulbs

May 2020 - Back in 2017 I swapped out the filament side light bulbs for some LED bulbs. I've never been happy with them (upper one) though as they really don't put out much light. So I bought some higher power, more direction bulbs to try (lower one).

These are a vast improvement and provide a much brighter spot of light.

Front Indicators

May 2020 - Updated the front indicators and housing to be combined indicators and daytime running lights.

I would like to use an LED lamp if possible but I've yet to find anything suitable. The other problem is that the flasher unit expects to see a 21W load and anything less will cause the flash rate to be too high. You can't mount these in the obvious location (the indentations under the main lights on the bodywork) as they will not be high enough to pass the SVA test.

These have to go on the car something like this. I don't like this at all though. I'm going to put these lamps on for the SVA test, with a single small hole for the fixing and wiring. I'm then going to remove them and add some round indicators in the indentations under he headlights. The maximum diameter lights that will fit in these indentations is 60mm but something nearer to 50mm will be a better fit.

Rear Brake/Stop Lights

I'm using Hella 55mm lights from Premier Wiring Systems . These have a 382 bulb fitment. The lights are attached to the tail light outer rings using three self-tapping screws. I've also added a 3mm spacer to make them appear more flush relative to the outer rings. Post SVA I will fit LED bulbs .

SVA Requirements
Must be less than 400mm from edge of car.
Must be at a height of 350mm or more.
Must be atleast 400mm apart.

Update: Nov 2011 - Looks like my source of Hella lights is no longer in business. You can find them if you search for "hella 55mm" on Google. Try looking at caravan and trailer sites too.

Rear Indicators

I'm using the same Hella 55mm lights as above but these have a 581 bulb fitment. Post SVA I will fit LED bulbs .

SVA Requirements
Must be less than 480mm from edge of car.
Must be at a height of 350mm or more.
Must be atleast 500mm apart.

Rear Side/Tail Lights

I'm using Hella 55mm LED light surrounds from Premier Wiring Systems . I have four surrounds in total as the tail lights. These outer rings are mounted on the surface of the bodywork into a 93mm hole. The most common way to do these seems to be by bonding them to the bodywork but I'd rather not do this if possible.

High-level Brake Light

A high-level LED brake light is a good idea, possibly mounted to the roll bar. I plan to use the same lamp as for my fog light. Note that this lamp is not E-marked and will not pass the SVA/IVA test, so you would need to fit it after the test.

Side Repeaters

The side indicators are standard Ford Fiesta equivalents in clear lens and orange 5W bulb. I bought mine on eBay.

Fog Light

Typically, the fog lamps sits on the small bulge on the bodywork, which ensures it is vertical for the SVA test. I don't like this so I'm going to go for a 52mm diameter recessed LED lamp. Note that this lamp is not E-marked and will not pass the SVA/IVA test, so you would need to fit it after the test. This one is £9.99 from Maplin  (part no. PD01B). This lamp operates at 9.6V according to the specification and typically uses 200mA at this voltage. To limit the current (160mA) at the supplied battery voltage, I have added a 22ohm 3W wirewound resistor in series.

SVA Requirements
Must be on the centre line of the car or to one side.
Must be mounted vertically (facing straight back).
Must be at a height of 250mm or more.
Must be atleast 100mm from stop lamp unless part of a cluster.
The fog light must only come on when low beam or high beam headlights are on.
Must be E-marked.


I'm using some stick on E-marked reflectors

SVA Requirements
Must be less than 400mm from edge of car.
Must be at a height of 350mm or more.
Must be atleast 600mm part.

Light Layout

This is basically dictated by the SVA requirements but there is a fair degree of flexibility in positioning. This picture shows roughly, what I'm trying to achieve. By sheer luck, as I've positioned the rear lights, they will not foul the boot floor side walls. Access for changing the bulbs is going to be hard though. One thing to note is that the lights must go on a relatively flat surface and this limits how close to the edge of the car you can get. All of my rear lights are going to have clear lenses.

Number Plate Lighting

Normally a protruding number plate lamp is used but these just look horrible to me. My preferred solution is to use two bolts with side pointing, yellow LEDs to fix and light the plate. The best commercially available solution I've found is something called Lite'N Boltz by Design Engineering . These are made in the USA but Agriemach  sell them in the UK. I've sourced mine from the USA , via a relative for a very good price ($32).

Reversing Light

The car doesn't have a reverse gear, so this is not needed.

Update: 2011 - A requirement to have a reverse gear came in with the IVA test and this means you do need a reversing light now.

LED Bulbs

If you swap a 23W indicator bulbs with a much lower power LED equivalent, the flasher unit is going to think the bulb has blown and the indicators will flash at a faster rate (electronic flasher units usually double the rate).

Basically, you need the missing 22W (LED bulbs are rated at about 1W) of load to go through a resistor in parallel to keep the flash rate correct. You would need a resistor rated at 22W continous load if the indicator was on all the time. It actually flashes at or near a 50% duty cycle, so the actual power being dissipated by the resistor is about 11W. At 12V you need a 6.5ohm resistor to get a 22W load. In reality you can fool electronic flasher units with much higher value resistors (lower loads). A 33ohm load resistor is fine and would obviously not get as hot as it has to dissipate much less power.

Driving Lights

I'm pretty sure the R1 alternator is not capable of powering decent driving lights as well as the standard headlights, which is a shame as I do a lot of night driving around my local Suffolk and Norfolk B-roads. Driving lights only come on when the headlights are on high beam and are not the annoying, chavtastic things seen on 50% of modern cars. It's a shame some would sit well in the indicator indentations, which I can't use for the indicators.

Update: Nov 2011 - It's been nearly 5 years of ownership now and I have only been out driving at night just once. I've not missed the lack of driving lights!

Update: 2019 - The original alternator failed after I drove a classic car run with the headlights on. Definately not a good idea to fit driving lights!

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