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Mid-'60s Le Mans side number illumination?


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#1 fer312t

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 10:37

Hi guys,

Quick question - Anyone have a closeup pic of the side mounted # illuminating lights as seen on such cars as the 1965 Lemans winning 250LM? Also I was wondering if this was a required feature (or class specific) or whether ferrari just mounted them for their own benfit...

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#2 bill moffat

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:10

Race number lights were certainly mandatory by the mid 60's at Le Mans, coming to think of it I don't think I've ever seen a post-war LM car without this feature - it may well be a regulation that has been in place since 1949.

I'm old enough to remember the purple light that shone in the pit lane at dusk. If you didn't "light up" at that stage the ACO would haul you in...

#3 2F-001

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:50

There is a photograph in the colour section to accompany the Le Mans race report in Motor Sport (July '69) with the caption:
"Many cars were using electrically-energised photophorescent number discs, both for the individual team's benefit and the time keepers'."
(Although, in the picture in question, the number fields are actually rectangles but appear to glow in an eerie greenish hue with the numerals in an unlit black.)

#4 bill moffat

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 14:01

Originally posted by 2F-001
There is a photograph in the colour section to accompany the Le Mans race report in Motor Sport (July '69) with the caption:
"Many cars were using electrically-energised photophorescent number discs, both for the individual team's benefit and the time keepers'."
(Although, in the picture in question, the number fields are actually rectangles but appear to glow in an eerie greenish hue with the numerals in an unlit black.)


That was the birth of a technology that lives on today.

Previously the numbers were lit by units normally responsible for the rather more mundane task of illuminating road car number-plates ..the Morris Minor boot unit seemingly a bit of a favourite !

#5 Mistron

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 18:25

I used MGB no plate lamps on a GT40

My car actually used them as headlamps! Oh for the days you sould get a daylight only MOT!

#6 Cirrus

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 17:33

I went to Le Mans in 1966 (the only time I've been), and I can remember being very impressed with the way the numbers shone out in the dark on certain cars. Maybe the phosphorescent roundels were in use a few years before '69

#7 CJE

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 02:20

I think I've got a closeup of one of these somewhere. I'll keep looking. I recall these being some sort of ordinary Hella light.

http://www.pelicanpa...L/Page-2355.htm

http://forums.pelica...91098057844.jpg

http://forums.pelica...a1069554227.jpg





#8 CJE

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 02:36

OK, this should help:

http://www.pbase.com..._racecar_number



#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 10:46

Originally posted by Cirrus
I went to Le Mans in 1966 (the only time I've been), and I can remember being very impressed with the way the numbers shone out in the dark on certain cars. Maybe the phosphorescent roundels were in use a few years before '69

For peace of mind, it might have been as well not to go near them with a geiger counter though.;)

#10 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 19:13

Does anybody have a copy of The Fast Ones by Peter Miller? At this distance in time (my mother threw it out about 40 years ago) I can't remember the details: In this book he recounts some of his experiences with the 1950's Aston Martin team. it includes a reference to lights on the Le Mans cars. Rather than illumination of the numbers it was either coloured lights matching the painted nose colours or permutating white and yellow headlamps and spotlamps.

#11 fer312t

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 19:15

Thanks for the fantastic info guys (as usual) - And appreciate you digging up those pics CJE - just what I was looking for! :wave:

#12 bill moffat

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Posted 16 January 2007 - 22:44

Just returned from the Max Power Hot Rod show at the NEC (some people still call it the Autosport International) .

Plenty of photo opportunities, 4 wheels, 2 wheels, 2 legs etc.

Amongst the exhibits a Ferrari 330P, not quite a 250 LM but the same lighting arrangement :

[IMG]http://img442.images...tshow028au7.jpg[/IMG]