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1930s period rear-light cluster


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#1 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:13

I beg your indulgence, one and all.

I am assisting with the restoration of an English sports tourer from the 1930s....amidst a pile of other parts was this strange light array.

My best guess is that it was designed to be a rear bumper bar mounted emergency/fog/breakdown rear light set including reversing/rear light....

A question for the British, has anyone seen something similar? and were they "popular" in the period?

Thanks in advance...

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Edited by 275 GTB-4, 23 February 2013 - 08:15.


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#2 ianselva

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 10:14

I beg your indulgence, one and all.

I am assisting with the restoration of an English sports tourer from the 1930s....amidst a pile of other parts was this strange light array.

My best guess is that it was designed to be a rear bumper bar mounted emergency/fog/breakdown rear light set including reversing/rear light....

A question for the British, has anyone seen something similar? and were they "popular" in the period?

Thanks in advance...

Posted Image

They look like 50/60s Morris Minor lights.

Ian

#3 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:09

Yep...but my question is about the unit itself and its purpose....and whether whatever it was, was a popular mod at some time post 1930s or in period :)

#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 15:31

The lights were/are off the shelf from motor factors and the illustration has the appearance of a set of lights made for trailers.

#5 Dipster

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 16:35

I beg your indulgence, one and all.

I am assisting with the restoration of an English sports tourer from the 1930s....amidst a pile of other parts was this strange light array.

My best guess is that it was designed to be a rear bumper bar mounted emergency/fog/breakdown rear light set including reversing/rear light....

A question for the British, has anyone seen something similar? and were they "popular" in the period?

Thanks in advance...

Posted Image



They are standard "off the shelf" Lucas lights used on loads of vehicles and trailers including Land Rovers from, I believe the late 50's.

Your piece is interesting simply as the bracket looks quite well made, possibly a professional job. But, having grown up around cars in the late 50's onwards, I do not recall seeing anything similar. Perhaps on your vehicle it was made to replace a light unit that was not available locally?

Good luck in your search.

#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 16:42

I suspect that would be quite easy to find in a period Brown Brothers catalogue, if you know someone with one?


#7 Alan Cox

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 17:42

It doesn't appear too dissimilar to this - described by the vendor as a number plate light:
http://www.rbspares....detail?Itemid=0

PS A small point, but is it really necessary to repeat the original post twice in responses? I think we all know what is being talked about here.

#8 JtP1

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 19:06

I suspect that would be quite easy to find in a period Brown Brothers catalogue, if you know someone with one?


The unit itself is not in the Brown Bros catalogue. The individual lamps are, with the ruby circular fluted as a 572704/ 571997/ 574635 at 2/9 to 7/- retail or 1/11 to 4/11 trade.

#9 Bloggsworth

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 21:23

Looking at it, it is not a home made job, the main triangle looks like a pressing, and the central rivet is much more substantial than a pop-rivet!

#10 275 GTB-4

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 23:55

Thanks lads...Bloggsworth seems to be close to the mark...I assume that you would buy a pair of these units and bolt to either side of a trailer and wire them up to the brake, reversing and winker circuits ;)

Its definitely a manufactured/pressed item....

The main thing is...its does not appear to be associated with the car itself....Cheers, Mick

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 23 February 2013 - 23:55.


#11 D-Type

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:11

I think that at one time the legal requirement was somewhat different from nowadays. Something like "A single red rear light, which must on the offside". I have certainly seen 1930s cars with a number plate on the RHS (offside in UK). This appeared to have a single red light with a clear section so the same bulb also lit the number plate. It possibly used a dual filament bulb so it could double as a brake light. Remember that the original Citroen 2CV only had a single headlamp.

This triple light could be similar but including a reversing light as well - but I doubt that it would be a reversing light. I think it is one of a pair, but rather than being for a trailer they could have been an aftermarket accessory to update and modernise your rear lights. I think it was in the early 1950s that wimkers replaced the older semaphore arrows. I know that reflectors were also introduced around then. It might even have been a legal requirement to update to two rear lights.

#12 275 GTB-4

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:38

I think that at one time the legal requirement was somewhat different from nowadays. Something like "A single red rear light, which must on the offside". I have certainly seen 1930s cars with a number plate on the RHS (offside in UK). This appeared to have a single red light with a clear section so the same bulb also lit the number plate. It possibly used a dual filament bulb so it could double as a brake light. Remember that the original Citroen 2CV only had a single headlamp.

This triple light could be similar but including a reversing light as well - but I doubt that it would be a reversing light. I think it is one of a pair, but rather than being for a trailer they could have been an aftermarket accessory to update and modernise your rear lights. I think it was in the early 1950s that wimkers replaced the older semaphore arrows. I know that reflectors were also introduced around then. It might even have been a legal requirement to update to two rear lights.


Interesting...tah, muchly...more research required :)

#13 RCH

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 23:27

This triangular set up looks vaguely familiar, on the back of '30's British sports cars, Riley and SS spring to mind. However I don't think it was a standard fitment. I would suspect that the set up would have been reflector on top then brake light and rear light below, the rear light having a clear section to illuminate the number plate. I think at the time the law only required a single rear light, no brake lights or reflector so this may have been an aftermarket accessory to provide what were to become legal requirements somewhat later. A reversing light would have been a very unusual fitment.

I suspect this item may have been one of these devices converted in the '50's with more up to date Lucas lamps.

#14 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:04

Ladies and Gentlemen assembled,

I believe I may have solved the mystery.

The electrical diagram for the 1935 Alvis Speed 20 clearly shows a single three light unit for Stop (Top Left), Tail (Bottom Centre) and Reversing light (Top Right). The draughtsman has thoughtfully represented the unit as a triangle containing three circles and a key.

There is a makers mark, in the centre, with something like "Monarch? King? of? the? (illegible) Road" around the outside. There is also something like a prancing horse (ala Ferrari) and something like a torch, clenched fist or bunch of thistles at the top of the badge.

The picture probably shows the unit upside down, and it might have been hung from the offside bumper bar attaching point.

My conclusion is that this company supplied these units to the Alvis Works, in the period! :up:

Many thanks to all who provided ideas.

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 25 February 2013 - 05:15.


#15 Dipster

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:56

Ladies and Gentlemen assembled,

I believe I may have solved the mystery.

The electrical diagram for the 1935 Alvis Speed 20 clearly shows a single three light unit for Stop (Top Left), Tail (Bottom Centre) and Reversing light (Top Right). The draughtsman has thoughtfully represented the unit as a triangle containing three circles and a key.

There is a makers mark, in the centre, with something like "Monarch? King? of? the? (illegible) Road" around the outside. There is also something like a prancing horse (ala Ferrari) and something like a torch, clenched fist or bunch of thistles at the top of the badge.

The picture probably shows the unit upside down, and it might have been hung from the offside bumper bar attaching point.

My conclusion is that this company supplied these units to the Alvis Works, in the period! :up:

Many thanks to all who provided ideas.


"King of the Road" = Lucas I believe. Sadly amended to "King of Darkness" or similar when bits failed to perform.......

#16 rbm

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:23

Ladies and Gentlemen assembled,

I believe I may have solved the mystery.

The electrical diagram for the 1935 Alvis Speed 20 clearly shows a single three light unit for Stop (Top Left), Tail (Bottom Centre) and Reversing light (Top Right). The draughtsman has thoughtfully represented the unit as a triangle containing three circles and a key.

There is a makers mark, in the centre, with something like "Monarch? King? of? the? (illegible) Road" around the outside. There is also something like a prancing horse (ala Ferrari) and something like a torch, clenched fist or bunch of thistles at the top of the badge.

The picture probably shows the unit upside down, and it might have been hung from the offside bumper bar attaching point.

My conclusion is that this company supplied these units to the Alvis Works, in the period! :up:

Many thanks to all who provided ideas.


the lights are definitely 1950s not 1930s, our 1931 MG originally had a single tail lamp however the design construction and use regulations later required 2 stop/tail lamps many motor factors supplied modification kits - I would suggest if this has been used on the 1930s car it may be as a replacement part.

In the late 50's/early 60's twin rear reflectors became mandatory via the design construction and use regs. and again the motor factors stepped in to make a few shillings and again with twin dipping headlamps (remember the Rover Cyclops?)


#17 GMACKIE

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:43

You could be on 'light duties' for a while, Mick. :rolleyes:

#18 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:09

the lights are definitely 1950s not 1930s, our 1931 MG originally had a single tail lamp however the design construction and use regulations later required 2 stop/tail lamps many motor factors supplied modification kits - I would suggest if this has been used on the 1930s car it may be as a replacement part.

In the late 50's/early 60's twin rear reflectors became mandatory via the design construction and use regs. and again the motor factors stepped in to make a few shillings and again with twin dipping headlamps (remember the Rover Cyclops?)


I hear ya talking rbm...but the evidence is compelling...these are not reflectors, they are glass lens backed by globes.

How do you explain the diagram in the wiring diagram?

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 25 February 2013 - 09:09.


#19 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:10

You could be on 'light duties' for a while, Mick. :rolleyes:


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh! W$%K is a four letter word to me now!! :wave:

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#20 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:46

Is this it? http://image.doc2pdf...s0l9w60_121.jpg


Dunno! can't get the link to work :blush:

#21 rbm

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:52

I hear ya talking rbm...but the evidence is compelling...these are not reflectors, they are glass lens backed by globes.

How do you explain the diagram in the wiring diagram?


not disagreeing with the wiring diagram, but as stated previously the lights fitted (Lucas L488 or some similar derivative) are 1950s (not 1930s however the plate may be earlier or not)

the requirement for twin tail lights was post war (may have been just pre war) and vehicles needed this retro-fitting.

the example of the reflectors and twin dipping headlamps were just to show that as the regulations evolved, some were retrospectively applied (however other such as the requirement for indicators were not retrospectively applied)


#22 Bloggsworth

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:04

The plate was clearly designed for lights of that diameter, unless you think that the raised circles just happened to be the correct size. I'm certain that the whole thing was designed complete - Mind you, as they are not lit in the picture, Lucas probably had something to do with it...

#23 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:36

The plate was clearly designed for lights of that diameter, unless you think that the raised circles just happened to be the correct size. I'm certain that the whole thing was designed complete - Mind you, as they are not lit in the picture, Lucas probably had something to do with it...


Ohhh come on!! you want me to perform miracles!! They are perfectly good at emanating darkness, as originally designed! :wave:

#24 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:44

not disagreeing with the wiring diagram, but as stated previously the lights fitted (Lucas L488 or some similar derivative) are 1950s (not 1930s however the plate may be earlier or not)

the requirement for twin tail lights was post war (may have been just pre war) and vehicles needed this retro-fitting.

the example of the reflectors and twin dipping headlamps were just to show that as the regulations evolved, some were retrospectively applied (however other such as the requirement for indicators were not retrospectively applied)


rbm

The Lucas L488 or some similar derivative do look like the originals, but as you say, they could have been retrofitted with more modern lenses.

may have been just pre war....late 1935/36? :)

The Lucas (shudder...) P100s were mechanically dipped...and possibly only the offside unit to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers...

Where could I find these regs to research rbm??? Cheers, Mick

#25 rbm

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 14:40

rbm

The Lucas L488 or some similar derivative do look like the originals, but as you say, they could have been retrofitted with more modern lenses.

may have been just pre war....late 1935/36? :)

The Lucas (shudder...) P100s were mechanically dipped...and possibly only the offside unit to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers...

Where could I find these regs to research rbm??? Cheers, Mick

Mick

sorry the L488 (should be cast into the lens?) are no earlier than 1950, I don't think that the bodies to support this type of lens would be earlier, but may be.

the MOT Testers handbook used to be a very good source it gives quite a lot of info when these regs came in use.

#26 D-Type

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 15:42

The regulations will have come in at different times in Australia and Britain.

#27 D-Type

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 19:12

While looking for something else I found this picture. It's not very clear but the it appears to have a triangular arrangement of lights on the spare wheel. Other similar Alvises have a triangular bracket hanging the number plate off the spare wheel they don't have the three lights.

#28 RCH

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 19:39

That is more or less as I recall seeing but typically I couldn't find a picture.

As I recall the need for reflectors came in in the early fifties. I'm sure I remember as a very young child "helping" my father fit them to our Bedford van. The need for twin rearlights I think came a little later, but most cars had them fitted by then. ISTR the Austin A40 (Devon) Countryman which replaced the Bedford already had them when the law came in. I also have a strange idea that brake lights weren't compulsary until the same time but most vehicles had them.

#29 Bloggsworth

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 20:57

I seem to recall that trailers in the UK had to carry a reflective triangle with a side length of 7 to 8 inches.

#30 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 23:23

The regulations will have come in at different times in Australia and Britain.


Yesbut...Alvis were never manufactured in Australia...re-manufactured ..yes :)

#31 275 GTB-4

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 23:32

Mick

sorry the L488 (should be cast into the lens?) are no earlier than 1950, I don't think that the bodies to support this type of lens would be earlier, but may be.

the MOT Testers handbook used to be a very good source it gives quite a lot of info when these regs came in use.


Thank you rbm, will research the MOT h/book...confirming lenses are 488 (no L but that's probably from the catalogue)....

Very interesting to see the unit attached to the Vanden Plas spare wheel as well...

RE: There is a makers mark, in the centre, with something like "Monarch? King? of? the? (illegible) Road" around the outside. There is also something like a prancing horse (ala Ferrari) and something like a torch, clenched fist or bunch of thistles at the top of the badge....excuse my ignorance, definitely a rampant lion and obviously Lucas King of the Road brand :blush:

This picture shows what I assume are the original Alvis 3 light units, and hence the (singular) reference to them in the wiring diagram...

http://www.prewarcar...=...&Itemid=432

Edited by 275 GTB-4, 26 February 2013 - 01:59.


#32 Roy C

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:21

This picture shows what I assume are the original Alvis 3 light units, and hence the (singular) reference to them in the wiring diagram...

http://www.prewarcar...=...&Itemid=432

The 3-light unit on that Alvis looks like an "Owl Lamp" (Lucas type 312)


#33 D-Type

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:31

Yesbut...Alvis were never manufactured in Australia...re-manufactured ..yes :)


Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I meant was that British cars exported to Australia would have had lights conforming to the current British regulations, eg single rear running lights if that was the requirement. If the Australian regulations were more stringent, eg twin rear running lights or single rear running light plus brake light, then the additional [Lucas] lights would have been fitted either at the factory or by the Australian importer. If, on the other hand, the Australian regulations were less stringent, eg single lights when Britain required twin lights, the odds are the factory would not have removed lights - they would have left the lights to British requirements on the car. So checking the British requirements will provide a clue as to what would be fitted on a car imported into Australia but would not be definitive.

#34 275 GTB-4

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:49

Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I meant was that British cars exported to Australia would have had lights conforming to the current British regulations, eg single rear running lights if that was the requirement. If the Australian regulations were more stringent, eg twin rear running lights or single rear running light plus brake light, then the additional [Lucas] lights would have been fitted either at the factory or by the Australian importer. If, on the other hand, the Australian regulations were less stringent, eg single lights when Britain required twin lights, the odds are the factory would not have removed lights - they would have left the lights to British requirements on the car. So checking the British requirements will provide a clue as to what would be fitted on a car imported into Australia but would not be definitive.


Thanks Duncan, brilliant deductions....Australia was still allowing a single centre brake light, a couple of reflectors and no winkers right up to the mid 1950s.

You have, however, assumed that the Alvis was sold new from the factory to Oz, not true, it was a personal import in less than concourse condition :)