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Fog Lights

To: "MG Digest" <>
Subject: Fog Lights
From: "N" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 21:32:22 -0500
I had a Lucas fog light and driving light on my new MGB back in 1965.  I
didn't install them, my mechanic did & I don't remember if they had a relay
installed.  However, for all the reasons already covered, I would install a

Those old 1965 Lucas lights taught me a good lesson re. what light works
when & why.  Over the years I supplemented it with the study of catalogs
from Hella, Cibie & others.  SO, bear with me while I lay out some of that

1- The "fog lights" that are now standard on far too many cars & trucks are
generally useless as their beam is not properly focused or concentrated.
AND, they only operate in conjunction with the low-beam headlights.  They
only thing they are good for is blinding those of us with low cars.  I have
those kind of lights on my Saab 9-5.  All they do is add SOME light at the
very near sides of the front view.  They are useless in real fog or snow
except to add more lights for oncoming vehicles to see.

2- The old Lucas driving lights and many new driving lights have a beam the
is fairly vertical & focuses far down the road.  Great for driving fast on
country road - if the roads are straight.

3- The old Lucas fog lights had a very flat beam and worked really well
because I was able to turn off my headlights.  Good quality fog lights today
have a flat & wide beam.  The idea is to prevent light from scattering up
into your straight-ahead view & reflecting back at you making distant
objects invisible through the illuminated fog or snow.  This is why fog
lights should ONLY be used without headlights (parking lights on) to be
truly effective.  HOWEVER, our dear friends in Washington, who are so much
wiser than we mere auto enthusiasts, have decreed that fog lights must be
accompanied by head lights.  Duh!  Why is it I can't see in the fog Senator

4- Since I bought my VW Dasher in 1976 (long departed) I have used a pair of
Cibie Z-Beam halogen headlights.  I have moved them from car to car as I
sold one & then the next.  The beam is very flat until the right 1/3 (U.S.).
It then angles higher & then flattens again.  Not exactly a "Z" shape.  But,
close.  And, it works.  I believe that Hella has a similar beam pattern on
one of their headlights.

Since Cibie's are no longer sold in The States except by a few hard-to-find
shops, I searched around & found a source for off-shore halogen headlights
with a similar beam pattern at a very good price point.  I installed one in
my MGB to compare with the now 26-year old Z-beam (The other was killed by a
Porsche last January).  I could only tell them apart because the lens of the
Z-Beam has endured those many years of road-sand-blasting & is pretty dull.
So, I installed the new headlight on that side too.  With 100 watt high beam
bulbs I have fantastic visibility on dark roads.  With no on-coming traffic
I can see more than a mile ahead.

So, what does all of this have to do with fog lights?  This - these
flat-topped beams work like fog lights.  The only drawback is that they are
placed much higher than the best mounting point for fog lights which is
below the front bumper.  The idea is to keep the light low & the beam flat
and close to the road so it doesn't reflect from the drops of fog or the
snow.  But, this requires that the headlights NOT defeat them.

As for our dear friends in Washington and their knowledge of lighting.
Remember these are the same "wise" men who decreed that sealed beams were
the only safe headlights.  Thank you Ford for helping them see the real
light.  (Remember the 1985 Mustang?)

So, what's the answer?  Fog lights that work correctly are remarkable for
their ability to "penetrate" fog & snow.  Use your judgment and make your
decisions.  If you install any kind of lights, aim them correctly.

Cheers!  And, Happy Holidays!

Norm Sippel
'66 MGB with bright lights

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