An update on lighting (mostly headlights)
I should preface this with the fact that I'm no lighting expert or EE but I do try to look for those who present facts and well founded opinions. I'm going to contribute my findings here so, hopefully, others can benefit from my research. I did a quick search here and did not find much on the roadster headlights and since LEDs have progressed quite a bit I'm upgrading the lighting on my FFR - almost everything on the car. But in researching my options I found that there's so much junk out there on the WEB (opinion and equipment) to sift through it's taken me a while to figure out the decent options and that's just for the headlights.. Couple of thank you's to 2 valuable resources: Daniel Stern and candlepowerforums. Both of these resources deal in fact and not hype... Ultimately here's the options I came up with.
Option 1.) "Better" OEM lights. There are a couple good replacement sealed beams that may be better than what's on your car. GE Nighthawks (not the LEDs) are an example. The improvement isn't good enough for me since I occasionally drive rural 2 lanes at night.
Option 2.) Convert to Halogens. According to Daniel Stern and others there are 2 7" reflectors out there that are good - Cibie which Daniel sells and Koito which are pricier and harder to find. This option will also need the installation of a good relay and wiring. approximate cost is in the $250 - $300 range plus the time or labor to install. Here's a quote on the Halogens: Halogen headlamps: Put in a set of Cibie replaceable-bulb headlamp units, $79/ea. They are the best focused, most efficient readily-available lamps of their type to fit your application. All of the reputable-brand 7" headlamps presently available (Cibie, Bosch, Hella, Koito) are well made of good quality materials, but the Cibies are the most efficient, best focused, highest performing units of their type -- more detail on request. There's a great deal of junk on the market, too. Delta, Roundeyes, Adjure, Eagle Eye, Eaglite, Maxtel, Eurolite, and dozens of other off-brand units mostly from China. Avoid all of it. Also take cautious note that many vendors are offering Bosch 7" H4 headlamps at blowout prices of about fifty bucks a pair. Nice price, but they are surplus motorcycle headlamps, and though they'll physically fit, they aren't car/truck headlamps and their performance isn't adequate for car/truck service. (There is an H4 lamp better than the Cibie, made in Japan by Koito, but it is enough more expensive and difficult to get hold of that its cost-effectiveness is kind of iffy).
Option 3.) LED headlamps. My research (mostly from the site named candlepowerforums) tells me that there are 3 decent LED headlamps out there: Peterson, Trucklites, and JW Speaker. The Speaker Evolution II's seems to be the pick of the litter but the others perform well too. Approximate price range: $400 - $600 for the pair and they are direct plug ins for a well maintained harness and use less power than the OEMs. Note: the major brand LED units like the GE are mostly re-brands of the 3 above and are a bit more expensive.
Option 4.) HID's. Here's the quote from Daniel Stern and this is similar to advice from others out there who know lighting. He can say this much better than I can and it is obviously his opinion but all of the
other experts and the tests that I saw support this view.
"There is exactly one legitimate, legal, well-made, good-performing HID headlamp to fit your vehicle. It is built around the Hella high/low-beam projector used in current-model higher-end Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, Porsches, etc. Beam performance is vastly superior to what can be obtained with tungsten/halogen light bulbs in any optic unit. Power consumption is less than that of halogen headlamps. Bulb lifespan is about 10 years. The lens is almost-impossible- to-break borosilicate glass (no haze/fog/scratch-up issue like plastic lenses give) Beam focus is broad, robust, and highly precise, with excellent control of glare and stray light; when these lamps are aimed correctly they are inoffensive to other road users on low beam. They are also fully road-legal. It is a very costly option; price for the pair is $1523.62 (with black bezel you can paint if you want). Chrome bezel is available for +$100 (pair). Price is all-inclusive; you do not need to get any additional components. All wiring components, bulbs, ballasts, etc. are included; it is plug-and- play. I stock them. Photos attached show these lamps in a Jeep and a Porsche. This is, by a large margin, the best-performing headlamp system to fit a 7" round application such as yours.
I hope this helps others here. The mis-information on this topic out there made my head spin. Read Daniel's tech info and go to candlepower. IMHO if you buy much of the stuff out there (especially the HID conversions) you will be lucky to get decent headlights. I've ordered the JW Speaker Evo II LED units from Northridge 4X4 for $480. And I will take Daniels advice on LED's for directional and taillights..