Marker lights done, really

I re-did the license plate lights.


Last month I finished the license plate light and thought I might be pretty slick using a Beetle interior dome light. It’s the same kind of mechanism and the lens even says “Made in Germany” right on it, in case anyone ever lays down under the butt of the car to inspect it.

Trouble is . . . it’s an interior light. Made for interior use. Dang it even has an on-off switch molded into it!

Truth is, when I finished, I didn’t love what I’d done. It was suspect. I wasn’t sure how it would look and work either, protruding out under the housing the way it did. There was just the one light in the middle whereas the originals had one on each edge.

I put it to a vote at the Speedster Owner’s Club and, while nobody made fun of me, there were questions.

So I went back to the drawing board. Because I could not find an exact copy of the kind of very simple lights Spyders had (they look like scaled-down version of the interior lights), I finally just bought a pair of tiny LEDs marketed for custom motorcycles and such. They’re cheap and should be rugged enough to go inside these weather-proof housings

From there it was down to fitting them in the housing and making little windows for them to shine through—not strictly necessary but I am, as we know, married to the bit—and plugging up the uuuge hole I already made in the middle of the housing to fit the now-rejected dome light.

Here again is the Spyder Factory’s copy of a correct tag light assembly.


Here’s me starting again with my now-compromised housing.


First off: The absolute perfect spot for these lights just happens to be the exact spot where I already epoxied in the studs to hold the housing to the car. Hmmmph. I drilled a little below and just outside those holding bolts, made a template for the bottom of the housing and marked for new windows.


I had some ambition for the new bottom plate. I rolled a bead in it thinking I could make it integrate more smoothly with the bottom the housing that way.


Came out perfect. Except for being an eighth-inch too big, forming what looked like a tiny rain gutter under my housing. Pretty cool, but not the effect I was going for. I was about to make the part again when I thought “what the hell am I doing?” and just trimmed off the bead.

Then I had the aluminum window “tabbed” to fold up inside the fiberglass housing, thinking that would be slick.


What that was was stupid: it reduced the window size enough to matter and made a real thick housing to set the window into. I ended up thinking it’d be better to set the plastic windows in closer to flush with the glass and just rivet the plate over them.


I did manage to get the little half-rounds in the windows. That’s a trade secret.

Set them in with plastic panel bond epoxy. . . img_2241

Opened up the windows in the plate . . .img_2242

A few rivets, and . . .img_2243


Again, comparing:2b3ab-Originalplatelightontopoursonbottom.NoteplasticE2809CKE2809Ddesignationstampingasoriginal

And, again: this is how it will look to anyone not insane or having a seizure:img_2246




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