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Topic: Xenon Headlights

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Xenon Headlights (1/5)
 8/20/04 1:00am
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2005, C-6 Auto, polish wheels, Z-51

Joined: 11/16/2003
Posts: 641

New Xenon headlights have greater lighting power, are flush to front end

By Christopher Miller, cmiller@bgdailynews.com -- 270-783-3246

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Sometimes you have to move on.

When Corvette drivers cruising the countryside turned on their headlights, two front panels flipped up and outshined the car’s lights. This signature component of the General Motors’ icon had been consistently found on the front of the Corvette since 1963, but it hasn’t been passed on to the new C6.

The new car’s headlight design maintains a flush, aerodynamic position, and new Xenon lights blaze though clear covers.

“We called them airbrakes,” said Dave Hill, vehicle line executive for performance cars at General Motors, on the traditional style of lights. Hill is the chief engineer on the Corvette. “At nighttime, they spoil the aerodynamics.”

Luke Ananian, exterior vehicle systems engineer for the Corvette and the Cadillac XLR, noted that C5 drivers always kept their lights off as long as they could as it became dark.

“You always saw fog lamps illuminated until you couldn’t see,” Ananian said.

The decision to change this component of the Corvette’s design wasn’t taken lightly, Hill said.

“You’d like to carry on a heritage, but if you keep the same thing, you become too predictable,” he said. The process caused a lot of anxiety in the design and engineering departments at GM and took six months to work out.

“We looked at a number of different solutions,” Hill said. “We tried to get something that gave everybody everything they wanted.”

The GM design department was interested in creating a look that would follow the latest international design trends, Hill said. That new look included adjusting the face of the car, pushing the wheels out to the corners of the car and increasing the size of the wheels. The net effect trimmed three inches between the front wheel and the car’s tip, and the rear wheel is two inches closer to the back end of the car.

The engineering department also pushed for change, wanting to increase the performance of the lighting unit.

“We’re mindful of new technologies,” Hill said. “We wanted lighting that was very powerful, broad, that could cover the edges of the road.”

In order to accomplish that, GM had to move to Xenon lights, which were 80 percent brighter and much longer than the C5’s headlights.

To add the Xenon lights and make them rotate was impossible, due to the size of the lights, Hill said.

“We couldn’t package a Xenon headlamp without destroying the whole aerodynamics of the car,” Ananian said. “You’d basically have to have a non-sloping front.”

Eliminating the rotating lights also offered a more reliable car by decreasing the number of mechanical things that could go wrong, Hill said. Because owners tend to keep their Corvettes forever, the lifetime of the mechanism is important to keep in mind.

Roc Linkov, a Bowling Green Corvette enthusiast, said the change was long overdue. Though he liked the flip-up headlights in the midyear models from 1963 to 1967, he’s happy they’ve gone to fixed headlights.

“I like how they look, they’re cleaner and aerodynamic,” Linkov said. “They save weight, save space, and down the road, they’ll save aggravation – no more motors will burn out.”

Linkov has been closely watching Corvettes since 1954, when he first decided he wanted one. At the time, he was too young to buy one. He’s owned Corvettes since 1972, when he drove the midyear models – first the 1965 and then the 1967.

Though the car isn’t yet for sale, he’s been in the new C6 at night.

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Xenon Headlights (2/5)
 9/28/05 9:27pm
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2005, C-6 Auto, polish wheels, Z-51

Joined: 11/16/2003
Posts: 641

|UPDATED|9/28/2005 6:27:10 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|
Xenon Headlights (3/5)
 9/7/04 9:19pm
Adam Wartell
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Eagleville, PA - USA

1979 "Corvette Red" Coupe

Joined: 5/16/2003
Posts: 3291

I have yet to see these illuminate the night roads. I'd sure like to, and see how they compare to the C5 lighting.

I do think it was a good move on their part, but it's a shame to lose one of the classic characteristics of Corvette.
Xenon Headlights (4/5)
 9/28/05 1:15pm
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Ladera Ranch, CA - USA

1972 Candy Apple Red Roadster with a 383 stroker motor. Original owner! 2008 Z51, black, paddle shift coupe with the 4LT interior

Joined: 7/27/2003
Posts: 8

My only complaint with the xenon headlights is that they only put them on the LOW BEAMS. So, when you really need light, you get the old style crapola bulbs. Same is true of the foglamps. I understand you can purchase aftermarket bulbs to correct the problem, but it's a lot of hassle to get to them.

Personally, I'd have paid an extra $$100 to get two more $10 bulbs that would have significantly improved overall visibility. What's the difference: $53,400 or $53,500. At that point, who's going to notice?

Sometimes the General goes "on the cheap" in the most significant areas. Just one battle I'm sure Dave Hill lost.
Xenon Headlights (5/5)
 1/7/07 5:00pm
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Everett, WA - USA

2005 Z51 Montery Red 6MN - First Corvette.

Joined: 5/31/2006
Posts: 7

Put some SilverStar bulbs in the high beams. They'll compliment the color of the low beams. They'll be so bright you just see the future.


P.S. I've used the SilverStar bulbs in my Hayabusa and my wifes car. I have yet to be disappointed with them. On my Hayabusa they easily increased my low beam visibility, and made the high beam blinding to on coming traffic.

|UPDATED|1/7/2007 2:00:31 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|
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