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Thanks to all of you who have been exceedingly patient while I had an unprecedently long absence for the Christmas and New  Year holiday.   I hope that I have not held up any projects, which I know many of you like to press on with at times like this while much of the world is busy shopping or fine-dining, although, thanks to the ever-evolving corona virus, doing either was challenging.

During the coming year, I promise to keep the new developments coming. In early March, only 4 months behind schedule, a lorry will be unloading several palettes of large boxes containing my new LED upgrade for all of the many cars, like the Healey 3000, which use the Lucas L467 number plate light. All of these cars are now historically important, so keeping them alive, but safe to use on public roads is a worthwhile challenge. My upgrade will be a new L467 with a chrome cover I have had made with two extra windows in the vertical surface. Inside will be a custom LED lightboard and that combination will give these cars their soft, warm white number plate light, but plus powerful reversing lights, a powerful extra red brake light, and when the period-style switch is activated, a red rear foglight, and all within the new light, which looks remarkably like the old light. The price will be finalised closer to the time, but the target price (before VAT) for the kit, which will contain everything needed except for the car and a screwdriver, is to be less than £100.00.

Good news
For those of you who have been looking for high quality period style headlights to set off a beautiful classic or vintage car, I now have my PL700 extremely high quality 7" headlights. They have gained all of the necessary approvals and for the first time ever, these have been granted to a headlight that has been developed to work perfectly with either halogen bulbs or my high performance, period-style LED units. They are available for LHD or RHD, and UK ones have the choice of coming either with or without pilot lights. You can find them at the end of the Classic Cars section of this website.

During 2022, I will be forced to stop my development programme of LED headlight upgrades for cars registered after 1986. I am still hopeful that between us all, we can persuade the DfT to re-consider their ill-advised ruling that makes these cars dangerous to drive in poor visibility, and may well shorten the life of many of them because of this. I would like to encourage as many of you as possible to write to your MP and to complain about this sily, unfair and unsafe ruling. I will be glad to supply a suggested letter to anyone who want it, as well as full information.

I will still be continuing my development of electronic control unit based LED upgrade systems for vintage and older classic cars. The only way to make it easy for owners and restoration companies alike to invisibly upgrade both the safety and the convenience of these special cars is for me to continue to find ways of building all of the necessary extra functions into one compact controller, leaving only a few cable runs and bulb swaps  to transform the indicators, sidelights and stop and tail lights. These are in their third incarnation after just one year and I have a feeling that there will be several more evolutions during this year. I am immensely grateful for the efforts early adopters have put into installing these upgrade systems and for the knowledge they fed back to enable me to make running improvements. This sort of thing has never been done before, so there has been a lot to learn, but things are moving quickly now, and the kits are becoming easier to install, with fewer "bits" to accommodate.

  To those of you who have both supported me and given me invaluable feedback, please don't stop. What I do would simply not be possible without you.
   A small but useful tip for those of you who like to keep up with developments, check out the Classic Cars section starting from the end and working backwards.

On Tuesday 12th January 2021, a vigilant customer made me away of actions by the Department for Transport to change the MOT test requirements with regard to car headlights yet again. In the last changes, published in April 2018, they outlawed upgrades to HID Xenon, removing the vagueness that had surrounded this issue for twenty years of argument. That was it. Full stop. Everything else was fine. I, and many others, following extensive legal consultations, then renewed efforts to produce the very best, most reliable and safe upgrade LED systems that have ever existed. For any business, this represents a great deal of work and an even greater amount of investment. Now, with effect from 1st February 2021, they have decided that upgrading from halogen to LED should result in an MOT test failure. While it is comforting to see that the DfT have found a way to distract themselves from some of the very real problems we are all facing, this is a totally illogical and backwards decision. There are stronger words I could use, but that would be pointless. Halogen bulbs were not generally fitted to cars before the mid 1960s and the technology is old and power greedy. If you follow their instructions to the letter, it means that cars made before these bulbs were fitted as standard are fine to enjoy brighter, more efficient and safer headlights, but the later, and often more powerful cars made after, cannot. If their argument is that they are reducing the risk of badly upgraded cars blinding the drivers of cars coming in the opposite direction, that is spurious, as the beam check test weeds those out. That part of the MOT is the same whether the car is a newish one, equipped with halogen, HID Xenon or LED headlights as standard, or one that has an LED upgrade fitted. There is no logical reason why the technology creating the light should make any difference. Also, many MOT testers have a very limited amount of time to fully check a car over, and are, quite rightly, more concerned about real safety features rather than blindly following some mandarin's idea of what constitutes his ideal. Is he supposed to take headlights apart to see what is producing the light?

This is a change that will create a great deal of controversy here in the UK. Most overseas customers will carry on regardless and will enjoy safer motoring as a result. Here is the UK, I have to advise customers that from 1st February next, they must think about their upgrades and know that LED ones for headlights are officially for offroad use only. Also, I advise all customers to email their insurance company stating that in an effort to make their cars as safe and visible as new cars,they are planning to upgrade their lighting to brighter and more efficient LED units and asking if their insurer has any objections. In my experience, this always  brings a positive and approving reply, and if kept on record, will protect my customers from future embarrassment.

Stop Press 2
On Monday 15th March 2021, I received a letter from Baroness Vere, forwarded to me by my hard-working local MP, Nadhim Zahawi, thanking the many of us who raised the subject of the illogical and potentially unsafe changes to the MOT regulations with regard to brighter LED headlights and other lights on classic and vintage cars. She has confirmed that she is instructing all UK MOT test centres to note that any car made on or before 1st April 1986 is exempt from these changes and should be issued with a "Pass" if their headlights conform to the beamsetter check. There is no explanation of why cars are assumed to have changed so much on that day that cars made a week or a decade later should not be submitted to the same logic, but at least we have a partial concession to common sense. I, and others will continue the fight to allow owners of later cars to enjoy safe lighting as well. I would like to thank both Nadhim Zahawi and also Nigel Griffith of the White Knight blog and website for their help and advice, as this progress would not have been made without them.

We really should not let this rest. It is too important. It is both unfair and unsafe and financially punishes those who can least afford it - those who cannot afford a new car. I ask every one of you to write to your MP and to ask for this to be changed back to how it was before the recent changes. I will happily email you a suggested letter laying out the arguments if you contact me. Just insert your name and address and send it off. If enough of us do this, it will make a difference.

Stop Press 3

Three years ago I was asked if I could desigh high power LED upgrade headlight bulbs for the classic Fiat 500. This proved to be extremely challenging as the headlights are unlike anything fitted to most cars, but I finally have them in a choice of either yellow or ivory white. They are a direct replacement for the standard bulbs, but produce 3x as much light while drawing 60% less power. They are listed in both the Classic Cars section and in the LED Headlight Upgrades section.

Gil Keane.


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