Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Tail Light You've Seen Everywhere

Frogeye Sprite
As British car enthusiasts, we know that a lot of the parts that went into our cars came from a few specialized suppliers on the isle. Nearly all classic British cars sported SU carburetors and fuel pumps, Triplex  glass and Smiths instruments. Of course, they nearly all had electrical equipment supplied by Lucas. If you've ever changed a tail or parking light bulb, you probably noticed that the lens itself was also a Lucas product.

Most car makers in the post war era really did not have the budget to create specialized lighting equipment for their autos. With the notable exception of Ford, the British auto industry chose "off-the-rack" for things like tail light lenses, parking lights and so forth for their lower-priced offerings. Lucas could provide a standard design for these lights at a low cost since they were used on so many cars.

Morgan 4-4
Case in point: the Lucas part number L549 tail light. You've seen them on many British cars, but did you know how widely used they were? I've posted a few snaps of the cars that utilized this light at least during part of their production lifetime. This small tail light is designed to be mounted on either a plinth to make the top of the lamp horizontal or directly on the rear sheetmetal of the car in question, provided it was designed with the correct angle.

Can you name any others that used this lamp assembly? Let me know in the comments section.   


  1. Interestingly, every bit as commonly seen are the Lucas L594 Beehive Lamp. In the pictures you have here, I know that I see 3 and can't tell for sure about the Morgan. They were available in red, amber and clear. I know that on the Bugeye, they were used on the front with a clear lens and on the rear with a red lens.


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