THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - December '14

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December 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 55 compared to other light sources. "From what I've come to understand, the higher prices we're seeing are more for the prestige of the product rather than the actual cost to produce it," Lippke notes. Perhaps the most important consid- eration, he adds, is that "the surface area required to produce this amount of light is minute. LEDs don't require the huge reflec- tors that came on our classic cars, which makes them versatile in their application. We will notice this more as new cars hit the market with headlamps integrated into the body, almost defying our classic image of what a car 'should' look like." The News in Lights All of the major lighting manufactur- ers—not just the few quoted here—offer plug-in composite-lamp replacements for old-style sealed beam headlights. And, as Fred Snow, vice president of U.S. after- market for Hella Inc. in Peachtree City, Georgia, points out, once composite lamps are in place, they "open up the possibility of putting any bulb desired into the hous- ing"—including the latest LED units. Hella supplies the Matrix Beam LED headlamp system for the Audi A8, which relies on a camera to detect oncoming vehicles as well as vehicles in the lane ahead—as far away as 1,300 feet—and selectively dims elements within the lamps to "shine around" those vehicles without blinding their drivers. Matrix provides broader illumination as well, lighting up more of the area to the sides of the road—helping the driver, for example, spot a deer or other wildlife before it enters the roadway. In all situa- tions, Matrix also provides about 100 feet of additional forward visibility, giving driv- ers more critical seconds to react to any potential hazard. With its unique lamps, camera and processor, a Matrix system would be chal- lenging (but not impossible) to retrofit into an older vehicle. But also new from Hella—and probably more relevant to hot rod and custom-car builders—is a line of LED headlamps that plug into existing 90mm halogen and xenon lighting mod- ules (which would, of course, require some fabrication to install in older vehicles). Both "single function" and bi-LED (with integrated high and low beam) versions are available. Even easier to install would be Hella's new and smaller versions of its Rallye 4000 accessory lights—the Rallye 4000 Compact and Rallye 4000X. "These are easy to mount to any vehi- cle," says Snow, "using a single mount- ing bolt. In general, LED off-road lamps provide excellent light output with color temperature closer to daylight, use less power, and last longer than other sources. Comparison of a standard incandescent interior light (left) to a Philips Vision LED (right). (Photo courtesy Philips Automotive North America)

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