Headlight cover install for S3 & S4 Spiders - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Headlight cover install for S3 & S4 Spiders

I prefer the smooth look of Spiders with covered headlights. Therefore, in preparation for a repaint, I decided to modify my ’84 Spider headlight buckets to accept the Plexiglas covers. This topic surfaces from time to time on the BB, so I thought it might be worthwhile to write an overview of what is involved.

The basic situation is that Series 3 & 4 Spiders (1983 on) have a noticeably different shape to the headlight nacelle and the readily available Carello covers do not fit. Additionally, the headlamp is mounted from the outside which requires either remounting the headlamp inside the fender or finding a suitable trim ring that fits under the cover. I opted to remount the light inside the fender because I like the look.

Step 1: Clean up the headlight opening:
Alfa added quite a bit of metal to the headlight area over the years. As you can see in the first picture, the opening is neither smooth nor round and you cannot fit the thin stainless steel trim rings until it is cleaned up. I used a Dremel and it went pretty quickly.
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Mike Macaulay
Seattle

69 Spider
69 GTV
74 GTV
84 Spider Veloce
18 4C Spider
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Step 2: Remount the headlights:
I removed the inner fender to get access through the wheel well. S3s have a bracket welded behind the light opening. I modified the headlight buckets so I could mount them to the bracket. I also acquired a set of old-style buckets that have the removable cover. This will make bulb replacement much easier.

Step 3: Drill a few holes:
Each headlight cover requires three holes. Two slots at the lamp for the tabs on the cover and one hole in front near the bumper to secure the clamp. I opted to weld a 6mm nut under the front mounting hole. This makes removal of the covers for washing quick and easy.
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Mike Macaulay
Seattle

69 Spider
69 GTV
74 GTV
84 Spider Veloce
18 4C Spider

Last edited by sprintgtc; 07-30-2008 at 01:12 PM.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Step 4: Body reshaping:
There are two areas on each nacelle that require modification. The bare metal area in the picture below shows where adjustment is needed. The outer contour needs to be about ½ inch higher and have a more defined edge. The inner contour is pretty close but needs adjustment near the headlamp. This isn’t hard if you have some experience with bodywork and Bondo, but it probably is not a project for the first timer. You will need to check progress against the shape of the headlight cover. Be careful not to damage them. I use a product called All-Metal to get the rough shape. Then finer fillers are used to smooth and blend.
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Mike Macaulay
Seattle

69 Spider
69 GTV
74 GTV
84 Spider Veloce
18 4C Spider

Last edited by sprintgtc; 07-30-2008 at 01:07 PM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Step 5: Paint the car:
A few final pictures back from paint. This is fairly major surgery and at a minimum, you will end up repainting the entire nose. Therefore, I chose to do the work in conjunction with a full repaint. Happy to field any questions.
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Mike Macaulay
Seattle

69 Spider
69 GTV
74 GTV
84 Spider Veloce
18 4C Spider

Last edited by sprintgtc; 07-30-2008 at 01:09 PM.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:11 PM
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Now that is a nice write up Mike. Looks great!

Best Regards,
John M

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1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the first and still here...Bianco
1984 AR Spider Veloce............the second & gone to the parts bin....Rosso
1992 AR Spider Veloce............the third and still here...Bianco
1991 AR 164L........................the fourth and traded on the SS....Rosso
1965 AR Sprint Speciale..........the fifth...in boxes....sold....Bianco
1978 AR Spider Veloce 2000....the sixth gone to be a parts car...slow black
1967 AR Giulia Sprint GT.........the seventh with Gregg and sold......Rosso
1993 AR Spider Veloce............the eighth with Gregg and still here....Verde Inglese
1982 Ferrari 308 GTSi.............the first and still here....Azzurro
1999 Ferrari 355F1 Spider........the second and still here....TdF Blue[/SIZE]
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:32 PM
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The headlight buckets are mounted exclusively on the brackets as seen in the 1st, 2nd and 4th pics above with no other support, or is there a different bracket in there that isn't shown?

If it's just the one pictured, aren't you concerned that the bucket might shake/wobble/buzz when driving with only a single support point at the bottom and nothing else to hold the top? (resulting in either the headlight beams shooting all over the place due to instability, more blown headlights due to that shaking about, and/or eventual fatuge failure from the weight of the bucket and headlight)

Don't get me wrong, I really like what you've done, but am trying to understand the mounting process with my mentality being that older motorcycles have proven for decades and decades that even 2 mount points isn't enough to stabilize a 5" headlight and housing, so certainly just one holding a 7" can't possibly be enough.




Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tifosi View Post
...aren't you concerned that the bucket might shake/wobble/buzz when driving...
Driving? After all that work to make the car look so nice you think he's really gonna drive it?!?! (J/K)

It looks great, thanks for the write up & photos. It is too bad Alfa changed the body work and too bad no one has fabricated a kit with new covers to fit the later Spiders.

- - Eric
don't read this
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- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 01:45 PM
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Indeed, looks very good, but I'm wondering how you aim 'em. Can you get to the adjustment screws through the gap around the lens?

Tom

1963 Giulia Spider (1750 engine)
1974 GTV
1991 Spider
Former: 1987 Milano Gold
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 05:35 PM
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The single bracket shown in the pictures is to hold the bulkhead between the headlight bucket and front wheel. The headlight buckets are secured on three little threaded studs welded onto the rear of the big opening. This is the earlier European mounting scheme that was left on U. S. Spiders by Pininfarina up to some point in the mid 70's or even 80's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tifosi View Post
The headlight buckets are mounted exclusively on the brackets as seen in the 1st, 2nd and 4th pics above with no other support, or is there a different bracket in there that isn't shown?

If it's just the one pictured, aren't you concerned that the bucket might shake/wobble/buzz when driving with only a single support point at the bottom and nothing else to hold the top? (resulting in either the headlight beams shooting all over the place due to instability, more blown headlights due to that shaking about, and/or eventual fatuge failure from the weight of the bucket and headlight)

Don't get me wrong, I really like what you've done, but am trying to understand the mounting process with my mentality being that older motorcycles have proven for decades and decades that even 2 mount points isn't enough to stabilize a 5" headlight and housing, so certainly just one holding a 7" can't possibly be enough.
And, Mike, NICE job...


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George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conedriver View Post
The headlight buckets are secured on three little threaded studs welded onto the rear of the big opening. This is the earlier European mounting scheme that was left on U. S. Spiders by Pininfarina up to some point in the mid 70's or even 80's.
I understand that that method would normally be used if the studs were present, however that doesn't seem to be the case in this instance:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sprintgtc
I modified the headlight buckets so I could mount them to the bracket.



Darren
'84 manufacture ~ '85 MY Spider Graduate

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 06:11 PM
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Looks great & very shiney. Much as I hate to admit it, you really don't get that same gloss with rustoleum.

Can we see the rest of the car?
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2008, 06:12 PM
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carello

nice job! now just keep it out of direct sunlight...lol. I've seen these covers warp from the heat or perhaps you've sourced a quality set?
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-31-2008, 08:45 AM
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Mike:
Thanks for posting this. I've been wondering about what it would take to do the same thing too, thanks for making it clear.
What do you intend to do with the bumpers and black center "grille"? I've been thinking of a way to replace that black "bete noir" with something more akin to an actual Alfa grille.

Andy
81 Spider - 1980 VIN
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-31-2008, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies,

Tifosi; Yes, I have the lights secured in three spots like the originals. There is an inner bracket on the S3 that you can't see in the picture. It has a flange that I was able to use for the upper mounts. And I did use the inner fender bracket as my lower mount. The lights are very secure. Actually works better than the sheet metal screws & speed nuts that Alfa used. I think the studs disappeared when the sheetmetal changes were made prior to '83.

Gubi: The old style buckets have a plastic knob on the back end of the adjustment screw. So the lights are adjusted just as you would a Duetto. Downside is you have to remove the inner fender to do it.

Andy: I'm keeping the front bumper stock and using a Quad spoiler. There is quite a bit of matte black on the S3, but I think that is part of it's '80s charm.

Thanks all for the comments!

Mike Macaulay
Seattle

69 Spider
69 GTV
74 GTV
84 Spider Veloce
18 4C Spider
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-31-2008, 10:26 AM
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Mike, did you find a used pair of Euro headlight buckets, or did you shell out for new ones? I'm going to be looking for a pair, but unless they drop from the sky it's going to have to wait until I get through the woods on repairing the damage to my Spider's nose (almost finished), the repaint (soon to be started), and getting through my current pending change in marital status, and seeing where I stand after that. But any clues on where to look for a used pair are appreciated.

[FONT="Century Gothic"][B]Bob Farace[/B]
[COLOR="DarkGreen"]1971 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce[/COLOR]
[I]Director, Connecticut branch, Scuderia Non Originale[/I][/FONT]
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