Cibié iodine vapour headlights

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We were recently invited to tour the Paris factory of the well-known French lighting firm of Cibié and to watch a demonstration of the qualities of headlamps with iodine vapour bulbs, and both the tour and the demonstration proved to be most impressive. The factory is modern and efficient, while a great deal of attention is obviously paid to the quality control of the products manufactured there; it was therefore not surprising to find that Cibié now provide the lighting equipment of well over 50 per cent of French cars—of all Renaults, (and Italian Maseratis and Dutch DAFs), of 70 per cent. of the Citroëns built, and of 60 per cent of all Peugeots.

Over the last year or two, the Cibié research department has been working hard on the development of headlamps with iodine vapour bulbs, and M. Pierre Cibié estimated that it will be in full production in two years. Where the normal incandescent bulb uses one or two tungsten filaments heated to a high temperature, the new type has a single filament enclosed in a quartz tube containing traces of gaseous iodine at the operating temperature. The iodine vapour bulb has a potentially longer life than the incandescent bulb, but its main advantage is its light source reaches levels three times as high as those possible with the older type. Iodine vapour spotlights have been in production for some time, and have become almost standard “wear” on rally cars in international events, but the fact that only a single filament is used has raised considerable problems with regard to a dipped beam. Cibié, however, have now developed a prototype model (which has given no trouble in a year of test use) of a bulb fitted with electro magnetically-operated movable shields, and two headlamps of this type, mounted beside two similarly-sized sealed-beam units, were used for a night demonstration.

On both dipped and main beams the “iodines” were far more impressive than the earlier types, showing the road surface far more clearly on dipped beam and giving much greater range on rriain beam. At 300 yards, a post which had been dimly seen in the light of the sealed beam lamps was crisply and sharply delineated by the “iodines.” Rather surprisingly, they were also superior to the sealed beams when approached in a car from in front. The main beams of both gave about the same amount of glare, the “iodines” having a very slight advantage due to the more bluish quality of their light, but when the dipped beams came into action the “iodines” produced far less glare than the sealed beams, in spite of the fact that they illuminated the road so much more effectively. The British distributors of Cibié products since 1960 have been Britover Ltd., and though the firm hope to sell at least 10,000 sets of headlights in Britain this year, after the “iodine” demonstration we would think that their sales will rise really sharply when the new headlights become available.

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Rust free

We get numerous motor accessories sent in to Motor Sport for a write-up and free advertisement, but few of them impress or deserve mention, many of them being money-making gimmicks, while others are just rubbish or insults to the Motor Sport staff and readers. However, a new accessory arrived recently which was not only refreshing in its simplicity and desirability but was accompanied by a letter containing a simple but honest claim.

Manufactured by M. R. A. Motor Accessories, of 56, Gwencole Crescent, Braunstone, Leicester, it is a stainless steel exhaust tail-pipe extension, nicely polished, angled and trimmed, and retained by a set-screw. Seven inches long, it slides over the end of the inevitably rusty exhaust pipe of the average car. There is a range of five sizes which covers all current models, and prices are from 11s. 6d. to 13s. 6d. It will certainly look better sticking out under the rear bumper than the usual rusty and ragged tail-pipe end. The manufacturers make only one claim – “it will not rust.”

The sample sent to us was for a Cortina GT, but as the Editor has returned his to the Ford Motor Company, I have fitted it to my P.V.T. 328 B.M.W. I await someone to offer a stainless steel silencer.—D. S. J.