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Cibie headlight conversion

David Biddle (Chartreuse 2839) from Buckinghamshire provides a useful note on his long term experience with the Cibie replacement round headlamp units. (Mar 06)

The Cibie 7 inch round headlamp units with halogen bulbs seemed to get members' votes as the preferred replacement unit for the MGBGTV8 - see V8NOTE324 - so I thought a report from a long term user of these units might be helpful. I fitted my first set of these light units in 1990, when my rubber bumpered model had done some 50,000 miles. The total cost of two light units and two halogen bulbs from a motor factor amounted to £43.01 including VAT. I fitted the units myself without any difficulty, although I took them to my local tyre depot where they set the beams somewhat more precisely than my 'chalk marks on the garage door' approach! I was very satisfied with the performance of these light units and I think that they are without doubt the best light units of this size available to us.

After a dozen years of use, I felt that the beams had lost some of their lustre and so in 2003, with just over 92,000 miles on the clock, I decided to replace them. This time I purchased the same specification light units over the internet from Classic and Rally Services at www.cars-gb.com. For my RHD rubber bumper car the Cibie headlamp units are Model 180 and include main/dip and side lights but they are also available without the sidelights for chrome bumpered cars. At that time, I paid £38.82 including VAT for a pair of units and the 'next day delivery' charge was £6.90. The current price would appear to be £43.56 including VAT for the rubber bumper version and £45.10 for the chrome bumper unit plus delivery. They are also available for LHD V8s.
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Cibie H4 headlamp unit fitted to a rubber bumpered MGBGTV8. (David Biddle)

From the tests that I have seen, there is quite a variation in performance of the halogen 'bulbs' and, after considering the test results available, I chose the Osram Silverstar H4 Halogen bulbs at £13.64 including VAT for a pair. These are claimed to be 50% brighter than the standard H4 halogen 'bulb', but are still road legal.

An additional modification is to fit the US model headlamp rims which have spaces which enable the beams to be adjusted without removing the rims. These were fitted by Geoff Allen soon after I acquired the car, but as they are so useful it is extraordinary that BL did not fit them to all cars produced at Abingdon instead of only those for the US market? Geoff Allen also found me a set of US specification side flashers, which are a life saver in today's traffic conditions. I found that the standard flasher unit was not up to powering three flashers on each side of the car so I have fitted another electronic flasher unit which makes a huge difference to driving pleasure in traffic.