Stepdown Headlight Upgrades

KustomKreepsKustomKreeps Posts: 346Member
Hey ya

Looking at upgrading the old sealed beam headlights on my 49.
LED, HID, what ever.

Since I will be rewiring the whole car and front end is currently blown apart with the headlight buckets out it seems like an opportune time for an upgrade.

Im sure some of you have done similar and thought I would ask here and see what you used and get your feedback on the pros and cons of the various systems.

My current headlight buckets are in good shape(well once I clean them up) Some of the adjustment hardware is missing like springs and screws but thats no biggie.

Would like to keep the stock Hudson chrome headlight rings.

Being from New Zealand im Right Hand Drive but once I know what im after better I will be able to track down the RHD versions of any LHD/American options given.
I have not checked but im guessing Hudson headlights are pretty standard in the sizing the same as most main auto brands of the time. No odd Hudson only ways to mount or anything nasty?

Sure others here now and the future will be interested as well.


49 Hudson Build thread (picture heavy, may need to refresh if images dont show.)


  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 982Member
    There is nothing special about the headlights... When I buy them here in the states, they are the same as what everything else uses, that have a two light system with high and low beams. Ford and chevy pickups come to mind, or Camaros... You get the idea.
  • 54coupe54coupe Posts: 982Member
    I always upgrade to halogens. They are easy to find, and are inexpensive.
  • Jay_GJay_G Posts: 406Expert Adviser

    Upgrade to a duel relay (one for low, one for high) because halogen and anything other than LED will stress out your switch with too much current.  But other than just buy the same diameter headlight and you should be fine.  By the way some headlight lenses are plastic and some are glass.  I like glass myself.  Also the positioning bumps on the back of the aftermarket lights might be a bit off.  Especially the cheep Chinese ones, how do you know?  If buying online you really don't.  I got mine from a vendor at the local swapmeet and I took my headlight with me to make sure everything matched.  Also the aftermarket may be slightly larger at the rear where the new lamps plug in to the fixture so you may have to modify the buckets slightly.


  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 2,639Senior Contributor
    I did this using the info from Dan Stern:

    Worked great here are some pics.  Between the relay and 6V Halogen bulbs with reflectors it is close to having 12V lighting with a 6V system.

  • KdancyKdancy Posts: 2,530Senior Contributor
    DAN, sure looks likes big difference !
    53 Super Wasp Coupe ready for restoration
    53 Studebaker Coupe Custom
    64 Champ pickup
    Wellborn, Fl
  • 50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 2,639Senior Contributor
    Note my conversion used reflectors and replaceable H series halogen bulbs, not sealed beam halogens.  The H series bulbs come in both 6V and 12V
  • KustomKreepsKustomKreeps Posts: 346Member
    hey thanks for getting back guys.

    Bit of difference there Dan.
    Im trying to decide between a  similar set up with H Series halogens or go for LEDs.
    Kind of like the idea of LEDs - less load on the system and brighter etc. Just a bit more work setting up i guess.

    Will go and take a look at that site you linked Dan. 



    49 Hudson Build thread (picture heavy, may need to refresh if images dont show.)
  • airbrushguyairbrushguy Posts: 360Member
    Alex, which did you finally decide on?
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