Where it started
I knew I wanted some more light output for normal driving. I got a pair of PIAA bulbs for the headlights and some 110W Ultrawhite PIAAs for the stock fog lights. This was good put I wanted a little more. So I got some PIAA 004x. I went with some smaller driving lights because I didn't want to alter the look of the car too much.
This whole time I was doing night time road rallies. With each rally I was learning a little more about road rallying as well as what I needed to have in terms of lighting. I ended up re-wiring the fog lights to I could keep them on whenever I wanted. This helped but I was still needing more light into the corners. One of the things about doing a road rally at night is that you need to cast light down the road as far as you can so that you can see signs and clues as soon as possible, but also you need to be able to see into the corners especially tight ones, like the ones you would find in the moutains or canyons.
This triggered my quest for something with a very wide despersion and long coverage. I stumbled upon the Hella 4000s in the "Cornering" pattern. It looked like it should do the trick. The problem was then, how do you hang a 9.5" light that weighs 11 lb. each? I had seen a couple cars with their lightbar but wasn't convinced that it would fit or even handle the wieght. I started hanging out at meets and taking to John from Rally Innovations. He asked me what I wanted, what I planned on doing with it, and if I wouldn't mind running a sticker on my car. Being part of the anti-sticker crowd, I was reluctant. I looked at the sticker and thought, heck if I am going to run one, I want it to look different. So I fired up CorelDraw and Photoshop and turned out another one, this lead to doing a full car for them. But I still didn't have a bar to hang the lights on. So I asked them if they would be willing to modify a bar to fit the lights. So in trade for the work on graphics John said he could do anything and that he just need the lights. So I bought them and dropped them off at RI.... he was shocked. He didn't realise how big they were or how heavy. Well after a month and many phone calls and faxed sketches back and forth we came up with this.
It is mounted to the frame under the car and to a custom bracket that Rally Innovations made that connects to the bumper beam. We tried to make it look as much like his current product line. Although this was to be a one-off, there was talk of making a production piece out of it. But after much deliberation John had decided that this was to be the only one like it from his shop.
It worked out well. I did a complete wiring harness that allows me to switch all the lights on at the same time using the lighting stalk. I made a custom box and harness myself.
The light coverage looked like this. It goes pretty deep into the night, and is fairly wide.
But I still wanted more. I ended up switching the lens from "cornering" to "driving" , swithced the stock fogs to Hella 500s in a driving pattern and then adding the PIAA 004xs back on and aiming them at 45 degrees. This was cool, but it still wasn't perfect....
...I bought four Hella FF75s, two in driving and two in fog. I also got some Osram Yellowstar 100W bulbs for adverse driving conditions... more on this when this phase is done.
<more pics to follow... stay tuned
Rally Innovations Custom Lightbar
Brightstar HIDs in stock headlight housing
PIAA 004x (PIAA 110W superwhites)
(formerly in the grill, now in the grill of my LX)
Hella 4000s ( Narva Rally bulbs: 130W )
Hella 500s ( Narva Rally bulbs: 130W )
Hella FF75 <driving> ( Philips +80% competition bulbs)
Hella FF75 <fog> ( Philips +80% competition bulbs)