Author Topic: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights  (Read 365 times)

Jack the Knife

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Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« on: January 19, 2023, 03:25:42 »
I happened to see the below in Google Images when searching for a photo of the early 60s optional headrests (the one with the elegant swooping back available for all cars aside the 230SL). Not sure why it came up. I have these lenses sitting here, interesting to see how they look when installed. I'm inclined to say the assembly is too large for any kind of color, so the yellow is a distraction. Or perhaps it's just the color of the car. The yellow lenses seem to contrast better with blues on the E9s, 2002s, assorted Porsches, etc than other colors. Anyway, first time I've seen these mounted on a car.

1964 230SL 4-speed
2017 BMW F82 DCT

JamesL

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2023, 07:46:20 »
I vaguely remember most cars in France having yellow lenses. It may have been some sort of requirement and even now you occasionally see a car (older) with them. I’m sure others will weigh in

I’ve a feeling it was a wash/paint in many cases rather than yellow glass

(Come to think of it, I’ve a distant memory of the first time I drove in France in about 1984 and having to “yellow” my lenses)

(Google - https://www.hemmings.com/stories/french-cars-yellow-headlights/ )
James L
Oct69 RHD 280 in DB906 with cognac leather

AdelaidePagoda

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2023, 11:37:38 »
James L, thanks for your insights and the link to a great article explaining all you need to know about yellow lenses in France. Amazing they were this way until 1993!
Dave Cleghorn
1964 230SL 4SPD Power Steering
050 050 Black Soft top, Red Leather interior
Italian delivered/ Germany/ Florida/ Boston/ Sydney/ Adelaide (5th owner)

Model S Tesla
Vespa

MikeSimon

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2023, 13:24:53 »
France was the only European country that had yellow lenses. Many other countries had fog lights with yellow lenses. Yellow light is supposedly penetrating fog better than white light. Many street lights at intersections in the US have yellow light. That being said, I am not sure whether the main headlights in the W113s for France had yellow headlights or just the fog lights were yellow.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

neelyrc

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2023, 07:01:53 »
Mike, I suspect they were yellow.  I know they were very strict about this in 1981 when I moved to France.  I had an Italian spec one year old beemer at the time and was forced to change the clear headlights to yellow in order to register it.
Ralph

1969 280SL, 4 Speed Manual, Dark Olive (291H), Parchment Leather (256), Dark Green Soft Top (747)
1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL 4.5
1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
1995 Jaguar XJS Convertible
2007 BMW 328xi (E90)
Italy
2004 Toyota HiLux D4D Pickup
2008 BMW 330xd Futura Coupe' (E9

MikeSimon

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2023, 14:27:54 »
Ralph:

They probably did this to you because you were American... ;D ;D 8)
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Jack the Knife

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2023, 16:32:21 »
All - when I purchased these same lenses from a seller on eBay in Germany, I was thinking they'd have some sort of sticker or that they'd be a thick plastic. No, they are a rather substantial solid glass, like the stock lens. The classic center did confirm to me that the French cars came with yellow bulbs, not yellow lenses. You can see the difference on this French-delivery 250SL - https://scottgrundfor.com/for-sale-1967-mercedes-benz-250sl/. These yellow lenses I have also have the same part number as the clear lenses, a very curious thing.

I'm supposing they were stained by someone after-the-fact using a chemical process similar to what is shown by this gentleman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIZGG3Ywqqg If Bosch themselves did this, I have no doubt they would have given the lens a different part number.

1964 230SL 4-speed
2017 BMW F82 DCT

DavidAPease

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2023, 20:43:08 »
When my French '66 230SL came over from Monaco in the mid 90's, it had clear lenses but yellow bulbs.  (I still have the yellow bulbs, having switched them out for clear ones immediately.)

         -David
-David Pease
 '66 230SL (Originally sold in Paris)

Jack the Knife

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2023, 20:03:53 »
I just got around to trying these out. You can see the Bosch lens is much flatter than the reproduction clear lens on the left. Note the way these look compared to the American assembly on the left. I included one more photo cropping out the untouched light.

Not sure what to think yet. I feel this may look better on the Porsches and BMWs. I'll look at them out there in the carport for a little while and consider.
1964 230SL 4-speed
2017 BMW F82 DCT

MikeSimon

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2023, 20:52:03 »
There were two different Euro lenses. A "flat" one and a "bubble" lens. I don't know which was installed when. May have to do with Halogen headlight option. My 1971 Euro 280SL has flat lenses and I have been looking for new or ec replacement ones and cannot find any.
1970/71 280SL Automatic
Sandy Beige
Parchment Leather
Power Steering
Automatic
Hardtop
Heated Tinted Rear Window
German specs
3rd owner

Jack the Knife

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Re: Yellow Lenses for Euro Headlights
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2023, 21:04:32 »
There were two different Euro lenses. A "flat" one and a "bubble" lens. I don't know which was installed when. May have to do with Halogen headlight option. My 1971 Euro 280SL has flat lenses and I have been looking for new or ec replacement ones and cannot find any.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/322944019014?chn=ps&mkevt=1&mkcid=28&srsltid=AeTuncoW9ywRHTjGk5vCobv2xb1ACH95fu0nu4uL4-6tRFTqo2Rj24yc2Vk

Best price I could find for two. I actually bought the yellow lenses from him. Packing job was great and they were here very promptly.
1964 230SL 4-speed
2017 BMW F82 DCT