12/29/2006: Reassembling The Lights

Over the last few days I’ve been assembling the front and rear lights. This turned out to be more of an ordeal than I expected.

In order to fill the pits in the original pieces, the chromers built up quite a bit of material (copper and chrome) on the pieces, which caused some things to not fit.

I had to re-tap many of the threads and very carefully hand file the areas where the bulb sockets fit onto the lights to get things to fit together. This took quite a while and was pretty nerve wracking, but it came out fine in the end.

I was able to reuse the chrome screws and some of the gaskets by picking through my collection of spare lights and finding presentable ones. The front light lens gaskets are new replacements.

The front lenses are presumably reproductions, but they have the original Carello markings (Some I’ve seen are missing these marks). I found these from an ebay seller in Italy.

I enlarged the screw holes slightly (drilled out to 1/8”) so that the screws slip through, rather than threading into the plastic. I’ve seen old ones snap here when you try to remove one of these screws, so I felt this was a good precaution to take. I don’t mind if it means the screws won’t stay in place when I take the lens off the car!

The rear lenses are reproductions I bought on ebay (from germany). They also have all the original markings, but are missing a piece of aluminum that was molded into the plastic of original ones. This metal piece seprated the top and bottom halves of the light, sealing the light from the bottom bulb from bleeding over to the top. This piece is missing from the reproduction, although a groove is present. I could cut some pieces of thin aluminum out and fit them into these grooves, but I think i’ll wait until the car is together and I can see whether the lights look acceptable without it first. I’d hate to crack the lens by mistake over something like this.

The rear reflectors are NOS fiat parts I found from a fiat parts supplier in the US. These are a nice find, because otherwise it is hard to find two that are the same color, due to fading over time.

I also found some reproduction taillight-to-body gaskets at Elvezio Esposito in Italy. They’re flat, unlike the original style, which completely enclosed the back of the light, but from the outside of the car they’ll look the same, and certainly better than a ratty old one would!

It’s really nice to see some shiny stuff come together like this. Now I’ll pack these away somewhere safe until the car is ready for them.