Here’s a familiar sight, with the exceptions of the European composite headlights. Strictly speaking, I should say a formerly familiar sight, as these have finally become quite scarce hereabouts. It happens to the best of us.
The rear lights are different too. And apparently those are red fog lights they had to cut into the bumpers. Not enough room for everything in those large units?
That looks familiar too. Grippy fabric, and well contoured buckets. The European version still used the 1.6 L four while us power-mad Americans were given the 1.8 back in 1977, although I doubt it was any faster (if even as fast) than the 1.6 due to our emission controls.
The second generation Accord was technically quite similar to the first generation, growing a wee bit in dimensions. But it was much less of a change than the third generation to come. Which was very soon, as 1985 was the last year for these.
More on the second generation Accord here:
Curbside Classic: 1983 Honda Accord – Honda Revolutionizes The US Industry, Again
Not just European-spec, also European-made by Bosch (here’s the page from an old Bosch master lighting cattledog). That’s kind of weird, for all three major Japanese car light companies were equipped; capable, and experienced to produce headlamps just like this—including Stanley, Honda’s longtime almost exclusive supplier.
Also, it’s more than just a swap-out. The overall shapes are different; look at the upper inboard corner of the two assemblies. Look closer and see more differences; the grille is vertical on the US model, but tilted slightly downward along with the headlamp lens face on the EU car.
The corner lamps are also different; the US car has a one-bulb amber side marker light with reflex reflector, and the EU car has a two-bulb lamp with a forward-facing clear front position (“parking”) light and an amber side turn signal repeater, the lens of which bulges outward to meet the visibility-angles requirement despite the front wheel arch lip.
I used to have an ’85 Accord, and the grille and the little panel that fills the gap between the grille and the leading edge of the hood are separate and removable, probably specifically to facilitate the different headlight treatments for different models and markets. So, I think it was still essentially a swap-out from a production standpoint.
Well, yeah; almost anything’s a swap-out if we zoom out far enough and replace enough parts…!
Well, yes, but I mean it was pretty clearly designed so that it was easy for any car on the line to be fitted with whichever set of lights. (I’m now wondering if the Vigor headlights were different; I don’t recall them looking very different in brochures.)
Yup, different. Zoomable images here (US/Canada), here (JDM, original) and here (JDM, facelift; cross-checked here)
None of those are the same generation as the subject car; I’m talking about the 1984–85 Vigor, not the later CA or CB.
The Fact Book for these cars (https://www.honda.co.jp/factbook/auto/ACCORD/19830617/) shows that the JDM cars used both the sealed beam and halogen composite headlamps, depending on trim level. The spec sheets indicate that Vigor grades were more likely to have the halogen lamps, but not whether those lights are actually different from the ones used in the Accord.
Oh, those! As far as I know (about 65 to 70 per cent confident) the composite lamps were simple, single-reflector-per-side items whether they were on a Vigor- or non-Vigor-grade car.
The Vigor was not a grade; it was a separate model with its own hierarchy of trim levels and equipment packages, sold through Honda Verno stores (from 1981) as part of Honda’s not especially successful attempt to imitate the Toyota multiple dealer networks strategy.
In this generation, the JDM Accord and Vigor each had sealed beam headlights on cheaper trim levels, halogen composite lights on the pricier trim levels. I would not be surprised if the halogen composites used in Japan were different from the Bosch lamps used in Europe. The part I do not know and neither the Fact Book nor the JDM brochures I’ve seen make clear is whether the lamps used on JDM Accord and Vigor models are identical to one another or whether the Vigor used its own set of halogen lamps distinct from those offered on the JDM Accord.
Only just barely. Same tools/moulds; they’re physically the same, but the US lenses are made of lighter-colour plastics to let more light through and meet the higher US intensity requirements for the stop (brake) and turn signal functions. Also, there’s a live red side reflex reflector with a bulb for the side marker light function on the US lamp, where there’s a dead red dummy/filler on the EU lamp.
Inboard of the lights, the adjacent space fillers are different for EU (none), Australian (shown here, narrow) and US/Canada (shown here, wide) to cater for difference licence plate widths.
ECE Regulation 48 requires the rear fog lamp(s) be at least 10 cm (4 inches) away from the stop light, measuring between nearest lit edges. That’s so the stop lights are still conspicuous even with the rear fog(s) lit. Could wish there were a similar provision in North America for red rear turn signals, if we must have them, which we shouldn’t.
Thanks for the usual detailed info. Needless to say, the composite headlights sure look better!
What is it like to think of car lights just in terms of on/off; works/doesn’t; bright/dim, and red/amber/white?
Seriously: a few winters ago I was walking home after dark after seeing a movie in a cinema, and a car turned left behind me, into the street I’d just crossed. I saw its headlight beams sweep across the building in front of me for about a second and a half, and my brain immediately came up with 2005-up GM minivan; Hella H11/H11 with VOL aim. Turned my head to look: Yup.
A neat party trick, maybe, but pretty damn lame as secret superpowers go.
I definitely can tell an old sealed beam from an EU lamp that’s the same standard size – the lens looks very different – and sometimes EU vs US lamps in custom sizes, and various differences in rear and side lighting. But identifying a vehicle and lamp type by its beam? That’s beyond my meager talents…
…I mean, y’really sure?
Throwing in a RHD market light? That’s not fair!
Is that like a really old UK market sealed beam on top?
Bottom one looks like a standard old US sealed beam to me mostly – it’s GE and you can see the bulb mount through the glass and it doesn’t look replaceable. However, one of the markers of DOT approved headlamps in the sealed-beam era (and early composite plastic atrocities era) was the three bumps along the edge of the lens for use with old headlamp aiming equipment, and these sealed beams don’t have it. So either it’s a rest-of-world headlamp or a newer one that doesn’t have these (when did these go away?)
Usual thing I zero in on is the fluting on the glass, which looks thick as a glass Coke bottle on typical North American sealed beams, but thinner on UN lamps with an area that can be blocked off if you drive a LHD car in a RHD country. These usually have a distinct slanted line in the glass in that area.
Back in the 1980s I urged my brother to buy a set of Cibie BOBI single rectangular headlamps for his Nissan, which had a huge black “C” logo in the center of the lens. These were legally considered sealed beams are were claimed to be DOT approved, but used a glass bulb-enclosure capsule in back that allowed the bulb to be removed without exposing the reflector to air or moisture. I recall the bulb being an H4 rather than 9004. The low/dipped beam had a fairly sharp cutoff, but the output to the upper right (to light up signs and such) was rather jittery, messing up an otherwise even pattern that didn’t have bright or dim spots. The quad rectangular Hellas I had in my Pontiac at the time had a better low beam spread IMO, but they weren’t DOT compliant (FMVSS compliant? whatever it’s called in the US). Anyway I see quite a few 7″ round BOBIs on eBay and in a GIS search but no rectangular lights. I don’t think Cibie ever made these in quad sizes).
The pics I showed are both all-glass H4 sealed beams. The first one, yes, is a left-traffic European-code lamp, but Lucas made them in right-traffic, too, and so did Philips. I was tryna scramble your brain by showing you European lens optics in a sealed beam lamp. The second one is a right-traffic H4 sealed beam made by GE of Canada. It has that slanted-line/pie-wedge section in the lens that you mention, at roughly the 3:00 position. The Cibie ‘bulb-type sealed beams’ were more or less as you recall.
Article(s) eventually on all this.
Strange. I think the opposite. Is it a “the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence” effect ?
I imagine it’s probably a novelty/hey-that’s-different effect. For many years there was a small company out of France who catered to exactly this effect by making quad-lamp conversions for a variety of European vehicles originally equipped with composite/sculpted-lens headlamps.
Hey-that’s-different ! Looks good! Never seen before ! Like this Benzies face …
Wouldn’t’ve been legal in Sweden, where headlamp wipers (specifically, not just pressure-jet washers) were required until the early-mid ’90s round of eliminating country-specific lighting regs across Europe.
Not sure how folks in Sweden got away with it, but in my days of selling used 240 parts, I sold a handful of 240 quad-round, and more than a handful of quad-rectangle headlight mounting “kits” to Sweden and several other European countries. “Grass is greener” indeed.
I imagine it was a difference between onesie-twosie private installation of non-spec parts on old vehicles, versus commercially marketing non-spec parts for new/recent vehicles.
There was (maybe still is) an outfit (or maybe two) in Japan who make very expensive kits to put round headlamps on late 240s:
I think you’re talking about Morette.https://mоrеttе.com/
Yes, and I deliberately refrained from uttering their name, so as not to give them undeserved publicity. The founder sold the company to a con artist whose three best skills are taking money without sending merchandise; making up excuses for months on end about it, and managing to get accurate negative reviews taken down.
3M sure went to town on those Volvo wagons
I’m guessing that he’s referring to the “plood” trim that has been liberally applied to the sides of some of the above examples. I wonder if it was built by a Nauga carpenter?
Actually, the first thing that popped into my mind was the unusual white retroreflectors that Volvo installed under the quad square sealed beams on US 240’s during the late 70’s-mid 1980’s. Didn’t a couple European countries require white reflectors up front around this time, too?
South Africa was the only country ever to require front retroreflectors, white ones, on all vehicles—they might still; I haven’t looked lately. Under U.N./worldwide regs, they’re optional (if present they have to be white). On the US-Canada regulatory island, they’re optional and can be white or amber.
3m, maker of Di-Noc simulated woodgrain
Oh, derp. In typical manner I was so focused on the headlamps that I didn’t even think you might be referring to the Family Truckster treatment down the sides.
This is from the era when Europe still got the same Accord as North America and APAC so it’s familiar apart from the lights. The headlight cut looks a lot like a 4th generation Civic CRX. I have mixed feelings about the second generation Accord. While it was more refined than the original and our 1984 hatchback had air conditioning and a cassette player that our 77 Accord lacked it felt softer, heavier and far less eager due to both higher gearing and higher weight. I was also never a fan of the orange instrument lighting in 1980s Japanese cars
My brother bought a blue ’83 Accord like the one pictured. Meantime, my father bought an ’83 Electra, gray with black vinyl top and Wildcat era alloy wheels. He traded that for an ’86 FWD Electra- then another new Electra in ’89- both cars sporting the wire wheels/vinyl roof combo. Meanwhile, my brother traded his Accord for an ’87 Legend. I was able to get my dad to order his ’92 Park Avenue with blackwalls- I think by then GM had nixed the wire wheel option. Not a bad looking car, but it still came with whitewalls standard. The ’83 Accord should have precipitated a palace coup at GM. Maybe there was some corporal down in the ranks who actually had his finger on the automotive pulse.