I like to drive in road rallies. These rallies are partially (sometimes entirely) done at night, on dark windy roads pretty much in the middle of nowhere. When I showed up for the first one, I noticed a bunch of cars had big huge lights on the fronts of their cars, and found out why once it got dark. When you're on a dark road, in a hurry, and can't miss the next turn, you need all the light you can get. I decided that I needed some brighter lights for the next rally and bought these:

Those are Hella FF1000 driving beam lamps. You can see from the pint glass they're pretty big. They're also bright. I made sure to read up on the law relating to auxiliary lighting. It says:

24402   (a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two auxiliary driving lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less than 16 inches nor more than 42 inches. Driving lamps are lamps designed for supplementing the upper beam from headlamps and may not be lighted with the lower beam.

So, they have to be at the right height, and they can't be turned on with low-beams.

I see places like rallyinnovations.com make light bars. Unfortunately, they mount the lights below the bumper, like this:

Yeah, it might look cool, but the lights are too low to work very well.

Driving lights should be mounted pretty much as high as possible. The goal of a driving beam is to get a lot of light far down the road. Putting them on the roof is bad because you'll catch glare off the hood. Putting them on the ground is bad because you'll get a ton of light on the road directly in front of the car. This might make it brighter, but you can't really see any farther down the road. In order to get the low-mounted lights to shine down the road, they're going to have to be aimed too high, and most of the output is going to be lost into the sky. Light far down the road. That is the goal. That is why the law exists, as well. Driving lights become ineffective and possibly a hazard when mounted too low to the ground.

So, there was really only one good place for me to mount the lights: above the bumper, in between the headlights. Look at a rally car, and they're going to be there or in light pods on the hood. There's a reason for that, and it's because it's the best place to put them.

I wasn't about to do light pods, which are pretty expensive, look funny, and usually hold four lamps. Instead of two driving lamps, most rally cars will run two pencil beam lamps and two cornering lamps. The pencil beams are like driving beams, but go farther down the road in a narrower beam. The cornering lights place light a little closer and to the sides, so you can see farther in corners.

I'm getting a little off track, though. I decided on two quality lights, mounted between the headlights and above the bumper. I could probably have gotten some sort of a light bar made or found one somewhere, but I'm not about to spend hundreds of dollars on this. I got the lights for $90, and I wanted to spend as little additional money as possible getting them mounted.

Naturally, I decided to make my own. I needed something simple, effective, and cheap. I decided to make flat plates and attach them directly to the steel bumper, and cut slots in the bumper cover for them to pass through. I  wasn't too worried about cutting up the bumper, because it's an old car and the bumper cover is all ready beat up from when my sister rear-ended some a few years ago.

The plates, I decided, would be steel, 7" long, 2" wide, and 3/16" thick. They would mount to the bumper with 4 sheet metal screws, and the light would mount through a hole in the other end.

I bought some steel, and went down to the civil engineering lab at school. Using the chop saw, grinder, and drill press, I made myself some sweet brackets. Then I painted them, did some measuring and eyeballing of the bumper cover, and went to town with a dremel.

Hey, not bad:

I originally attached them with sheet metal screws, but the brackets vibrated too much so I bolted them down through the bumper.

Here are the lights mounted to the car:

I wired up the lights with some online help from fellow Legacycentral forum member vrg3. The electrical system in my car is switched from the ground, so the directions that came with the lights weren't quite right.

They're controlled by a switch on the dash. When the switch is on, the lights turn on with my high beams. When it's off, they don't. It's neat.

I had to drill through the firewall to put it in, and sealed the hole with a rubber grommet and some silicone stuff of some sort. I also shortened down all the excess wiring and it's held in place by plastic zip-ties.

Ta da:

There is a bit of vibration, but only on really rough sections of road. I think I may

The lights are definitely bright. They put tons more light farther down the road than the high beams. The difference is incredible. With the stock high beams, it's not hard for me to feel like I'm getting close to overdriving my lights, especially when I start go to faster and the road starts to get twisty. With these, the road is well lit and I can see very far ahead. I still need to aim them slightly better (along with my regular lights), and fix the vibration problem. Once that's taken care of they'll be even more awesome.

I bought the lights from Susquehanna Motorsports, and got a lot of good information from Daniel Stern Lighting, including the proper technique for aiming them. I'm using sylvania xtravisions in my headlamps, which are about as good as you can get (silverstars are crap by the way). To further increase my lighting I can find some e-code glass headlamps, build beefier harness for the bulbs, and up the wattage to 60/65. On top of that I can put 100w bulbs in the FF1000s.

Heh, check out this picture a guy on some forums I frequent drew for me: