Friday, January 18, 2013

Shedding Some Light on the Matter: An Illuminating Evolution

When I first started rallying at the beginning of the new millennium, the Mini was fitted with two, period correct, 7" Lucas Flamethrower spotlights. These very quickly revealed themselves to be little better then useless when the going got tough and the term "candlepower" was never more apt. Subsequently I added two more Lucas 5 1/2" fog lights which also proved to be minimally effective. I then had the Flamethrowers (an optimistic term if ever there was one) rebuilt with modern reflectors and high output bulbs. In addition the Mini's headlights were replaced with quartz iodine units. This was a small improvement but we still weren't getting anywhere near enough light on the road, especially with Bill's (who was now in the pilot's seat) aggressive driving style on twisty mountain stages. So then we added a set of four classic 180cm CibiĆ© Oscars. This was a lot better and night stages were becoming less scary. But the lighting evolution continued and for the subsequent rally we substituted the two center lamps for 220cm Super Oscars. Now I was beginning to feel that we were no longer outgunned by some of our competitors who seemed to have military-grade anti-aircraft searchlights bolted to their vehicles. But there is an old saying about the Monte, "You can never have enough light on the road". Too true! So for the 2013 event we have four 220cm Super Oscar spotlights with long distance beams and two 180cm Oscars with foglight reflectors to give us side scatter illumination which is particularly useful for 180° hairpins turns. Oddly we have never found a light which is any use in fog; maybe one year we'll fit radar for that...!


Red Fred said...

Nice to see you back Mad Dog!

Mad Dog said...

Hello RF, Yes for some reason I've felt compelled to write a bit over the past 6-8 weeks. So I've slung up a few posts and given the site a makeover.You may have gathered that I'm currently in the UK and about to go rallying again. Thanks for your good wishes and Happy New Year!