I’m trying to decide whether to convert my 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto headlights to recessed Euro-spec or keep the U.S.-spec chrome trim under the plexi covers.
While admittedly a first-world problem, I have been vexed by this question since I purchased my car in 2014. My car, S/N AR661909 (and engine AR00536.09090), was delivered with both headlight covers and chrome rings around the headlights.
When I bought the car, it had lost the covers and had regular full trim rings around the headlights. However, in the trunk I found a strange “half-trim-ring cover.” I asked Jon Norman at Alfa Parts about it, and he replied that some of the cars delivered to the U.S. before the plexi headlight coverers were banned came with these unique chrome trim rings that fit under the plexi covers. (See pictures below.)
I told Jon I had one ring, and he said, “I’ve got one too! I’ve had it for years. Do you want it?”
It became mine.
At an Alfa convention on the east coast some years ago, I saw several Alfas with these same U.S.-spec rings. I understand it is also much easier to adjust the headlights that have these external chrome rings than the recessed ones. (Of course, that begs the question of how often we actually adjust our headlights these days?)
This is a different look than the Euro-spec headlights, where the headlight buckets are recessed into the fenders and a slender circular chrome bit dresses the opening. (Also pictured.)
I had Guy Recordon of Guy’s Interior Restorations install the trim rings and the covers, and my car was now correct.
But I really prefer the more-pure Euro look of the recessed headlights. Should I take my car away from the as-delivered chrome rings setup (and install flat Carellos while I am at it)?
I have a similar dilemma with my rare, U.S.-spec 1971 Citroën DS21. It does not have covered headlights or swiveling inner headlights. It would cost about $1,200 to convert the headlights to Euro-spec. To the dismay of my fellow Citroënistas, I have decided to respect the as-delivered nature of the car and leave the headlights open.
So, what’s your opinion? Leave the slightly unattractive partial chrome rings under the plexi covers and keep the Duetto as delivered, or convert to pure Euro-recessed headlights?
I look forward to your responses to this really not-very-important-but-perplexing question.
The bottom line is to do whatever makes you happiest. With my ‘71 Spider, switching to Euro-spec Cibie headlamps was the easy choice: the night visibility was far better, and yet no one has ever flashed me indicating they were blinded; the sharp cut-off prevents that.
As for the covers, I prefer the look. I moved the US buckets behind the nacelles and installed the stainless steel trim ring. The car was designed that way, and I think it looks better than the US headlight rings. I have since gotten ahold of a pair of Euro headlight buckets, and will swap those in at some point. The advantage is that the removable cap on the back allows for replacing the bulb without pulling the whole bucket, unlike when US buckets are mounted behind. If you’re going to put buckets behind the openings, it’s worth getting a pair of the Euro buckets for this reason.
Not much to add to what Bob Farace said, except to remind that full euro vs. US spec bucket ring choice is fully reversible either way, so go with which ever pleases you eye more.
Since the Euro look is what Pinninfarina designed, I’d go with that (and did with my Duetto).
Do whatever you like the most. You are the present owner. And the next owner can do what he or she wants to do. That’s the luxury of owning a great driver rather than a parked museum classic car. That’s why I still enjoy driving my 66 Alfa SS and my 74 Alfa Spyder every day I can after owning both for 45 plus years.
I know this isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but I vote “none of the above”. After running the plastic covers & recessed buckets on my Duetto for a few years, I looked at it one day and decided that the covers just looked silly. I converted it back to uncovered headlights with full trim rings, as in your photo labeled “As-purchased in 2014”.
To my eye, the Duetto front end needs some shiny stainless above the crease to balance the bumper/grille below. Also those covers turn yellow, diffuse the light and fit poorly; they seem like a “Pep Boys” accessory next to the well-integrated covers on an XKE series 1.
But hey – these are just my opinions and all of our tastes are unique. So as Jani Hottola advised, “go with which ever pleases your eye”.
Accurate all the way around 👍
Still managed to get in a mention of your butt-ugly Citroen. Nice job.
I’d change them both out, the Alfa and the Citroen, provided it’s what YOU want to do as that’s what really counts. It’s not like you’re doing anything the manufacturer did not already do, be it on this continent or someplace else. Do it, Keith.
Trying to read between the lines, I think Keith is focusing on form versus function? I agree that the headlight covers(farings?) really set off the car’s curb appeal. Had a set on my Dino 246gt when purchased back in ‘14. My concerns were about when washing my Dino, moisture and dirt could seep into the headlight bucket/door. Over a long period of time rust could settle in. It’s so difficult to get a airtight seal without modifying the cover that I just did away with them and installed flat H4 Carello’s. Good luck Keith.
Make it how you like it. Keep the parts to return it to stock when you sell. Unless I’m missing something, these changes are fully reversible, correct?
Unpopular opinion: full chrome rings with open headlights on these cars look the best (easiest to live with also)
I have the same two vehicles in my stable (we obviously share good taste). I converted both of mine to the full euro headlight spec BUT there is nothing wrong with keeping them as US spec. I think the Duetto treatment looks particularly nice. For the DS, there is some real value in keeping the US lights (especially to Europeans who appreciate the uniqueness) but I must say, the full swiveling headlight treatment is a thing of wonder and beauty.
Silver Duettos look better with Euro headlights, red ones look better with U.S. spec and that’s the end of that. So there!
The perspex covers have the effect of completing the lovely fender curvature – this is really evident if you look at the 1961 – 62 prototypes Pinninfarina produced – especially the 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS Coupé Speciale Aerodinamica. There’s likely some miniscule aerodynamic effect also. Interestingly, as mentioned, the covers take on different levels of success depending on the car’s color.