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Possibly mildly crazy idea for a (totally reversible) 3rd brake light on a Spitfire…?


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Hi Folks,

(For the TLDR folks jump to the IDEA section)
Here in Germany LED lights (except certain headlights) are verboten so simply swapping out the brake lights for something brighter is not an option. Adding a 3rd brake light though is legal.

I have a Körbler targa hardtop so that is easy. Lots of kits where I can add that in the rear window. What about when I want to go topless? (the car for pete’s sake…)

As I near getting my car’s body and chassis painted I started thinking about improving rear visibility as we have had no less than 3 fatal rear-end crashes in the area in the past few weeks.

I had toyed with the idea of eliminating part of the chrome trim on the lip of the trunk/boot and replacing it with a thin LED brake light. Problem was the lid is curved so the light would not be very big and not being curved would look a bit half-donkeyed….

I was thinking about the fuel cap, for example a ring that clamps on the fuel cap and then attach a light to it somehow. However the rules here in Deutschland mean you would have to affix it with “tools” so any time the cap needed to be opened or used would be a pain. (I also could not find a way to make it not look like E.T. with a 100° fever…)

Then while on a very boring conference call I had a brain wave!

IDEA (TLDR=too long didn’t read)

The rear of the convertible top/hood is attached to the car by 2 ½” bolts on a strip of metal. I could fashion a thin strip of metal would slide under the  mounting frame out the back and using 90° angles I could mount a 3rd brake light between the top/hood and the fuel filler.

I t may be slightly obscured by the fuel cap but that’s OK I think as 96.30894% of all drivers are looking down on a Spitfire anyway…

This has the advantage that I could fashion a plug inside the car and swap it when I put the hard top on (you are only allowed one central brake light) as well as being total reversible.

Any gaps caused by the extra strip of metal could be mitigated with weather stripping.

Since that part of the car is not subject to high winds the metal could be very thin, like .2 or .3 mm I reckon. In fact, it probably has to be thin to conform to the lip around the tub where the top/hood is mounted.

Whadaya think?

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Found a few people who have tried it.. Looks like the space between filler cap and top/hood is not great and the light would have to be "shallow"  or I may have to extend it up 2-3 cm (1 to 1.5 inches to the rest of us)  and maybe lean it toward the top/hood to clear it.

Would have to make sure the top can be easily raised and lowered though.

There are lockable filler caps that appear to have a smaller diameter so that might help as well.


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Thinking about this a little bit "laterally". My feeling would be that the absolute need for a 3rd brake light, with the top down, which implies good visibilty? may not be the "essential" part? However with the top up in inclement weather, when one would reap more benefit? one could be installed (if thin/flexible enough) inside the hood rear window at the highest point. The P-O of my 13/60 had done so on the hood, which I have recently replaced as it leaked quite badly, and it was wired into the rear loom in the boot. I am considering re-installing it at some point. I have seen them fitted to the "roll bars" of convertibles, how that would conform with German Law I have no idea? In fact I am not sure even about UK law?.


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Mounting on a "roll bar" would be OK. IN fact I believe a BMW had that as standard.

The main rules are:

Higher than the regular brake lights (can't find any rules about how much higher...)

"Centrally" located

Must be "mechanically fixed". Mechanically fixed means you can't take it off with bare hands i.e. you must use tools. Some point out that the modern license plate holders really don't meet this requirement as you can pry them open on one side and slide the license plate out but I figure something like a screw would suffice....

I agree that in good weather it is likely less useful but I am going to great pains to make the car useful to all legal drivers in the family which boils down to making things stupidly simple.  I don't  want someone coming home saying "Dad... I accidentally tore the the rear central brake light off...." 🙂



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I just bought one of these, £10.07 free post from China. Arrived in 4 days. I think it will go inside the GT6 on the plastic trim that's over the hatch hinges. (Not a lot of use for Spitfire owners 'cose you ain't got no hatch hinges)

I'm torn as to should I put it on the tail light or brake light circuit? 



Edited by dougbgt6
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