These are driving lights. 

Click on any image for a larger version

Many people install driving lights on their cars to add a bit more visibility and to brighten up the night a little. The problem is that many of the fashionable lights are just not all that effective. My approach was that brighter is better, and why bother if they're not the best? As my university roomate used to say, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess".

After a bit of research, I settled on Hella Rallye 3000's. One step down from the actual HID lights found on this year's rally cars, they're light, efficient, and cost less than Catz MSX lights. The only downside? They're a bit bigger. Actually, a whole lot bigger. 9" in diameter, in fact. No problem unless that offends your aesthetic sensibilities.

The drivers side light is a driving light, with a 14000 foot range from a 100W bulb. That's over 4 km. The passenger's side sports a 100W cornering lamp, with a 1000 foot range and a 180 degree spread. The two together make a fantastic combination, and are capable of supporting at least 130W bulbs.

To mount them, I took a Miata tie-down hook and cut it in half. A piece of square tubing was welded on to this, and a bracket for the light was attached at the end. This gives the lights an extremely solid mounting, and the lights are removable in about 5 minutes.

To power the lights, I tapped into the airbag fuse that's not used on early Canadian cars. Fused 10 gauge wiring runs to a pair of connectors by the hood latch, allowing me to connect the lights independantly of each other. A relay hooked up to the high-beam circuit activates the lights so I can easily control them without groping for a separate switch. A cockpit mounted switch allows me to turn off the big lights when I want to use the regular high beams only, or when the lights are disconnected.

The result? Truly spectacular. The first time I turned them on, I was amazed. Then when I flipped them off, the difference was so great I thought I'd lost all my lights! I would not want to do any quick driving at night without this much light. It truly is like daylight, only a whiter light. Combined with my 130W high beams and my NRLs, this gives me over 500W of lighting power.

Caution: DO NOT use lights like these frivolously. Flashing someone who just annoyed you is a dangerous practice. I restrict my use of these lights to deserted roads when there are no other cars in sight. They're not exactly legal, either. 

Keith Tanner

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