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MG TD TF 1500 - another third brake light

As I dont do milling, turning or welding myself I try to find othermeans of fixing things, often involving purchasing stuff that other people would make.

So here is my high brake light set up, a tire mounted mirror pod from the complete automobilist, and a replica of theVincent HRD motorcycle tail light from Holden. Made up some small stainless brackets with hacksaw and fiel to mount the light unit to the pod. Expensive, 70 pounds total, but a nice vintage look.



Jan Kristoffersen

And here is the mirror mount, from The complete Automobilist

Jan Kristoffersen

...I know it takes away the stock chrome Lucas lamp unit, but the p/o changed over the license plate light to a Triumph motorcycle tailight... works well and is very bright....

gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

Jan: Are you a photographer by trade? That detail picture of the stop lamp looks very professional (so does the lamp too).
Chris Couper

Those STOP taillights weren't worth a damn on the Vincents and Velos, and won't be much better on a TD. I suspect they killed more riders than the Vincent Black Widow ever did and would have killed more except the brakes were so lousy that the Vins hardly needed brake lights at all..

Looks neat though, If you are going to use it, may I suggest that you paint the inside white, to improve reflectance, and consider going to a super bright led bulb like Paul Goff sells.
and maybe one of those brake light blinkers. They are available for as little as $5 now, and really improve recognition.

Chris; no I am not a pro photographer. The first picture is shot with my Iphone 5, the second is just saved from the web pages of The Complete Automobilist. I do however enjoy taking pictures with my Canon SLR, for ex grandchildren, classic cars , and other wildlife. Here is one pic I was lucky to shoot with a Canon EF 100/400 lens at almost 82 degrees latitude north of Spitsbergen this summer.


Yes I will be spraying the inside white. This tail light is a really victory of design over function. Phil Vincents idea was that as most other drivers would never see anything else than the rear end of the ultra fast Vincent motorcycles, they should see something pretty.

I used to have a Vincent twin with full Black Shadow spec in the 1980ies. A road rocket in its day, I found the brakes excellent when correctly set up. But then, my point of reference from the MC world is 60.000 miles on Indian Chiefs, with brakes designed to drag rather than to grab.

Thank you for the link to to the LED site, I will check that out!.



Jan Kristoffersen

I fear I sounded a bit negative in my last post. The more I think about it, if the stoplight is messaged a bit -and I like the idea of the blinker too to get a strobe effect - it's a better use for the light than on the back of a Vincent! Certainly looks as good on a T-series as anything else I've seen, and a guaranteed conversation starter. Plus they are available in repro so you don't have to swipe them.

Vintage brakes are interesting subject. Postwar Vincent twins were roundly praised for having excellent brakes when they came out, and I put a lot of miles on them, much two up with full touring/camping gear, and never had any complaints. But I was riding one recently and was shocked how bad they were. It's not that the brakes have gotten worse, its that the brakes on everything else have gotten so much better. Which is why one of my upcoming projects is to put some MGB disks on my TD.

Jan, incidentally, I ended up with a similar brake light 2 years ago. This has a LED interior, so itīs clear and fairly unobtrusive while off. Fixture is fairly simpe with a bracket around the spokes of the spare wheel that can be removed quickly, should I ever need the spare. (I think the black dot in the middle of the brake light is me with te camera...).

One advantage of the LEDs is that the light up faster than incandescent bulbs, which I appreciate.
Thatīs also one of the reasons Iīm not exactly in favour of a relay for the brake lights. I see the point of the switch failure, but a transistor based solution would probably be safer.
A 3rd light with LEDs should be connected before the relay in any case, it does not draw much current and then adds the extra milliseconds of safety

I am wondering if one could use an interior light dimmer circuit instead of a relay (which is basically a transistor switch that can be adjusted for its switch off time). costs a few dollars and is easy to install.


Mike Fritsch

This thread was discussed between 27/10/2013 and 04/11/2013

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