For about 10 years I presumed that the Nautilus would end up with the M274/SB13/North American sealed beam style head lights, largely because I had stumbled into nearly all the required SB13 parts in NOS condition. And, because I don't live in Europe. A couple of pieces I had to find independently, and then had to have them repaired to a state indistinguishable from NOS. That is what I tend to do, with results as pictured at right. Very recently, I had purchased a set of real Hella H4 E-code flat lensed head light housings, which in my opinion look great on the Type 34 and give it a 'meaner' look. As a second option, I gathered up enough parts to install a set of Marchal Equilux's, which are another awesome vintage look for the Type 34. I collected NOS dual filament AND single filament turn signal/parking lamp front assemblies. I had a nice set of side marker delete badges and seals. With all of these options, I decided that the car was going to be finished up as though it had been delivered to Canada. The only thing left was to locate a set of solid red NOS tail light lenses to complete the configuration--the prospects of which didn't much excite me, to be honest. I absolutely hate the solid red Type 34 tail light lenses, but half-heartedly began my search to find some NOS originals to maintain the authenticity.
I no sooner made the decision to go with the full-on M274 option when Jurgen Magdelyns posted up a NOS set of European head lights. This gave me pause because he generally has some very nice stuff and is a great person to do business with. This sudden indecision on my part was compounded by an email from a British Type 34 owner asking me if I had some SB13 head light parts I could sell. Could I somehow manage to sell my SB13 parts, get Jurgen to drop his price a little, then scratch together the difference to make a deal happen? Coincidental? Serendipitous? Idiocy? Whatever, I have to tell you that I mulled this decision over more than any other I have since I first bought the car. A lot of people take this decision for granted because their cars come equipped with the European head lights. Not me, and not on my car. In this case, I'm glad I tossed caution to the wind and proceeded because I think the Type 34 looks more original and complete with them. I also feel that the fit and finish of the SB13 head light assemblies is a bit careless, and maybe something of an afterthought. I strongly feel the SB13 assemblies could have been engineered with much more similarity to their European counterparts.
I have to admit that any concerns over sending off the SB13 parts to Britain was somewhat mitigated by the fact that I have nearly everything to assemble another extremely nice set of SB13 headlight adjusters. At the time, I also had a really nice set of re-chromed SB13 headlight rings, but these have since been sold and are now living on a Type 34 near San Diego. I still have the NOS dual filament turn signal housings, and may end up using them later on. With all of these parts, I figured I only needed to spend another $200.00 to get back to a point of being 'SB13 ready'. Now...how to get Jurgen to budge on his price? Well, when I approached him about this he offered me reconditioned head light assemblies with NOS head light rings. We struck a deal and I saved hundreds on the decision and what I received really made me smile.
I think I see der Lampendoktor's work on the headlight reflector reconditioning--which is a process called 're-mirroring', folks--NOT some cheesy silver paint job. The lenses appear new and the adjuster hardware was reconditioned to like new, with the exception of the outer adjuster rings which were badly pitted, but finished correctly in gloss black. This is a major problem area with European head light assemblies, where water and dirt makes its way in and rests in between the inner adjuster ring and outer chrome ring to collect and create a muck that when wet, stays wet and precipitates rust from the inside, out. The condition of the inner ring should be no big deal because this is all hidden by the outer chrome ring and I intend to do routine maintenance to prevent a repeat of the rust issue. Ok--and then I contacted Carsten Klein in Germany and did a deal to get NOS inner headlight adjuster rings and recently swapped them out to make them better. The results totally reminded me of what I did for the set of fog lights that will be used on the craft, with NOS chrome rings and der Lampendoktor re-mirroring. The only thing I REALLY didn't like were the bulb retainers, both of which were obviously dirty, used, rusted and corroded. They let down the whole package. Thankfully, this was an easy fix, only requiring a trip out to ebay.de, where der Lampendoktor (of course) had them available NOS for a pair, $65.00, shipped. Not stopping there, I also bought a full set of NOS Hella glass from Belgium as spares for both the head lights and fog lights, because that's just what you do for your Type 34 when parts and cash are available.
I've had a chance to test-fit the European head lights and fog lights together on the Nautilus and I have to stay that everything looks nice and bright and clear. Just like new. The craft is resplendent in its fully European guise. Lee Hedges recently started distributing the new head light ring seals so I can progress with front end assembly. I've decided to save them as spares. I actually have two sets of PoP headlight seals, but both sets have shrunken SIGNIFICANTLY over the years in storage and really aren't all that usable for their intended purpose. I have decided to cut up the PoP seals and modify them for use as fog light seals, instead. With regards to the turn signal housings, I will be using the NOS single element housings and correctly move the parking light up into the head light housing. I spent some time on the NLA web site a couple of weeks ago to build a collection of 6V and 12V bulbs (planning ahead, just in case) to properly equip the entire car. I also built a proper spare bulbs kit for the glove box.
The Nautilus is entirely sorted for exterior and interior lighting. Everything in the picture above was originally made by Hella--not Bosch--in case anyone's wondering. I can't say for sure if this is the case for all Type 34 production years and parts, though.
Next up: MORE body work!