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Official BD Headlight Thread
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Anchovy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject: Official BD Headlight Thread Reply with quote

I have spent a lot of time trying to understand what are the correct headlight assemblies for my 1954. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a consensus on what is "correct" for my bus. As far as barndoor era headlights go, here is what I have gathered.


The Bosch Myth

Some believe that there is such a thing as a Bosch BD headlight assembly. I have not seen any evidence that any barndoor era bus was originally equipped with a Bosch headlight assembly. All of the factory literature, early photos and BD buses with original equipment have Hella assemblies. Does anyone have evidence to dispute this?

The Single Rivet Myth
Some believe that BD headlight rings have a single rivet for the mount tab. I have a photo of my 1954, in 1954 with a two rivet headlight ring. So, did some BD's come with the two rivett rings from the factory?

Big sliver lens debate
The web site barndoor.dk shows early (pre-53) BD headlight lenses with extra wide or "big sliver" lenses. Later BD (post-53) with regular width slivers. So what is the low-down on correct lenses by year? Here is a photo of a "big sliver" lens that is marked with the Hella logo. From limited research I believe this to be a '53 only lens. Earlier have no Hella marking. 54 and later have a thinner sliver????

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


America Specification vs. Europe.
I have heard that there is a US spec. BD lens that does not have the fluting of the European version. Post your photo here for reference. I have never seen this lens and wonder if it is manufactured by Hella.

Please feel free to add you comments, photos, scans, or other information that can shed some light on the BD headlight mystery.
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campingbox
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Money Mike's" '54 truck had these on it. I believe they were original to the truck.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I believe they dropped these lenses and bulbholders sometime in the '55 model year. Joe Mond's "schoolbus" has these style headlights as well.
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Anchovy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the photos Greg. So those lenses are Hella and have the VW logo and the Hella logo on them. Do you know if the rings were 1 or 2 rivet?
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campingbox
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anchovy wrote:
Thanks for the photos Greg. So those lenses are Hella and have the VW logo and the Hella logo on them. Do you know if the rings were 1 or 2 rivet?


Hey Jeff, the rings were two rivet.....and yes, the lenses have the Hella and VW logos on them.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some 53-55 USA Bus headlight photos

The ones on my '54 USA Truck (not original but seen above) are single rivet, which I have been told means they are from a '53. I have some other buckets that are double rivet. One of them is Beetle as these lenses were used on 53-55 USA Beetles as well.

There are 2 types of headlight lenses with the small circle in the middle. One with Hella only and with the Hella and VW logos.
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Last edited by EverettB on Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Anchovy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:
There are 2 types of headlight lenses with the small circle in the middle. One with Hella only and with the Hella and VW logos.


I have also seen lenses with the large sliver, no VW logo, no Hella logo. I have seen these on an original '52.
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campingbox
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EverettB wrote:
More 53-55 USA Bus headlight photos

The ones on my '54 USA Truck (not original but seen above) are single rivet. I have some other buckets that are double rivet. One of them is Beetle as these lenses were used on 54-55 USA Beetles as well.

There are 2 types of headlight lenses with the small circle in the middle. One with Hella only and with the Hella and VW logos.


My friend has a '53 beetle with these lenses. He said they were on the car when found.
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Anchovy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are original '52 headlights. Notice the adjustment screw location (Hella style) with the Hella logo on the ring near the single rivet. Also note that there are no logos on the lens.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is the headlight ring on Matt Devine's Deluxe. Nice logo and single rivet. I think these rings have been rechromed because the rivet and the mount tab do not have the same dull cadnium plated look as the originals:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here are the two rivet rings on my '54 from a 1954 photo. Notice the wide spacing of the rivets:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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janerick3
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All barndoors rolled out of the factory with fluted headlight assemblies, as it wasn't until 4 April 1955 that buses destined for the U.S., Canada or Guam had the '55-'63 style (sealed beam) assemblies installed at the factory. Whether sealed beam units on barndoors were installed at the port or dealer is a subject for discussion.

By early 1953, Porsches (and most likely VWs) destined for states requiring sealed beam headlights received modification kits at the port (Houston is one port where this occurred). The clear lenses used in these kits do not have either a Hella or VW logo and lack the 'vestigial oval' in the center. The only markings are the word "TOP" (instead of "oben"), and the numbers "1-592" and "MADE IN GERMANY" at the bottom. All the assemblies I've seen with these lenses have single-rivet rings with the Hella logo.

Beginning in about mid-to-late 1953, complete sealed-beam assemblies from Hella were probably shipped separately through the VW parts network for installation by the dealer. These units do not have a Hella logo stamped on the bucket; (usually) a VW logo, the Hella part number and a date code (L=1953, M=1954). The first batches had the single-rivet rings and lenses with a small Hella logo at the bottom and the faint "vestigial oval" in the center (note Everett's '54-'55 bus assemblies are date-coded 1953 and are from one of those early batches).

By early 1954, the sealed-beam assemblies were shipped with rings having two (widely-spaced) rivets and no logo. The small Hella logo lenses were replaced by lenses (P/N 25484-2) with a large Hella logo at the top and a VW logo at the bottom (and the "vestigial oval"). All the Hella assemblies produced through the end of 1954 had the coil springs around the adjusting screws.

In the first weeks of 1955, Hella redesigned the adjusting mechanism so tension was maintained by a single, bail-type spring. The Hella logo and both the VW (9-digit) and Hella part numbers are stamped on the buckets. The lens used on these assemblies were carried over from 1954 and used at least through the end of April.

I hope this answers some of the mystery, at least as far as sealed-beams are concerned.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anchovy wrote:
Here are original '52 headlights. Notice the adjustment screw location (Hella style) with the Hella logo on the ring near the single rivet. Also note that there are no logos on the lens.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This is the headlight ring on Matt Devine's Deluxe. Nice logo and single rivet. I think these rings have been rechromed because the rivet and the mount tab do not have the same dull cadnium plated look as the originals:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here are the two rivet rings on my '54 from a 1954 photo. Notice the wide spacing of the rivets:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Jeff- I sold a set identical to those pictured up top to Ed Hughes for his 1950 Panel a little over a year ago. No logos on the lenses, huge sliver, single rivet, and the Hella logo near the mounting tab. I heard that they were the earliest style of Barndoor headlights.
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Scotty
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have bought bosch logo headlight glass for my 52 with the large 'silver' area as per the hella lens. If all BD's had hella headlights and the large 'silver' area was reduced in 53 what were the bosch headlights fitted to? Were they aftermarket only? That seems a bit odd to me for bosch to be making replacement headlights for brand new cars and making sure the lens style was correct.

I'll post some pics later.
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Scotty
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a clip from one of the for sale photos I was sent of my bus:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It appears to have the no logo wide silver lens, but there are no photos that show the rivets.

This photo shows the headlights that came with the bus:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Thanks Mr seller......... grrr
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scotty wrote:
I have bought bosch logo headlight glass for my 52 with the large 'silver' area as per the hella lens. If all BD's had hella headlights and the large 'silver' area was reduced in 53 what were the bosch headlights fitted to? Were they aftermarket only? That seems a bit odd to me for bosch to be making replacement headlights for brand new cars and making sure the lens style was correct.

I'll post some pics later.


Bosch and Hella assemblies that fit VW buses were used in a wide variety of makes and models, other than VW's. While living in Asia I saw dozens of vehicles with Bosch assemblies that were exactly the same as those for later VW buses. I have seen them on Mercedes trucks in Europe also.

I think that the replacement units for other brands have crossed-over into the VW world. These units will work in a VW but are not correct as delivered by VW.

I stand by my hypothesis that there is no such thing as a Bosch headlight assembly for a Barndoor era bus....until someone comes up with evidence otherwise.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

janerick3 wrote:
I hope this answers some of the mystery, at least as far as sealed-beams are concerned.

Awesome post.

Here are some more 53-55 sealed beam buckets from my collection:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=287819
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=287818
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=287817

All of the above are dual-rivet.

This one is marked "5N" so is it 1956?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=287819
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Anchovy
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

janerick3 wrote:
All barndoors rolled out of the factory with fluted headlight assemblies......<snip>....I hope this answers some of the mystery, at least as far as sealed-beams are concerned.


Thanks for the great information!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This one is marked "5N" so is it 1956?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=287819

Fifth week of 1955 (week of 31 January).

One of the og sealed-beam assemblies from my Nov '54 U.S. market Type 1 is dated "8N" and is of the revised design (the other is the older design and is dated 1954). I believe the mismatched set is the way it left the dealership back in 1955. The aftermarket sealed-beam sockets and cloth braided pigtails are strong evidence of a dealer install.

My Jan '55 parts car had one original bucket dated "53N" (53rd week of 1954). The other was replaced after an accident in the early '60s. This car also had the same (Cole-Boston) sockets with the cloth pigtails.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it looks like the headlights I have bought are from a later bus.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


What years are these headlights for?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So it looks like the headlights I have bought are from a later bus.



What years are these headlights for?


Is there a date code printed or stamped anywhere on the backside of the buckets (a number 1-12, followed by a letter)?

Hella, Bosch and SWF letter codes are not the same for each year.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Have also read on a 356 forum that headlight were fitted at the importers or dealers, along with American made 3 pin plugs, i think i have them on my 356.
Having to dig my headlights out to see if they offer any more info.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scotty wrote:
So it looks like the headlights I have bought are from a later bus. What years are these headlights for?


The lens is marked with the Bosch logo and the adjustment screws on the headlight ring are not in the early Hella position, so it looks like they are Bosch rings and reflectors. The ring has the wide spacing on the 2 rivets and the smaller mount tab. I think they are European assemblies (fluted lens and bulb style reflector) from the early 60's.

Looking forward to hearing the verdict from janerick3 based on the date stamp info.
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