by Design XKR
Design a unique XKR of your own
Taken from February's JEC monthly magazine ... page 33
Let There be Light
Previous contributor Mark Morgan tells us more of his bespoke modifications to his XK8.
All XK8 owners agree that the standard (non-Xenon) lights are a bit of a let down. Most owners have upgraded their bulbs to Philips Vision Plus or similar which do improve things markedly.
I own an October 1996 XK8, previously featured in the January issue as I have changed the car over to LPG but I had also looked at aftermarket HID/Xenon headlight upgrades. I am not that technically minded although I can change a set of plugs, do an oil/filter change and even change my brake fluid on my XK8. However with something like this I prefer to leave it to experts. In this case I wanted OEM lights and not just an upgrade.
I saw a pair of European LHD lights on ebay (wrongly supplied and fitted to a RHD car by a well known main dealer. As the owner, driving for over 5,000 miles blinding people with the fault only picked the problem up at MOT time), then changing the lights over for the proper ones. I contacted the dealer and was able to buy the lights for £375 the pair. When I collected the lights I was staggered to realize that they normally retailed for £600 EACH – a bargain.
Before going to this trouble I had previously spoken to Kevin at designXKR who advised that he’d just need to fit UK refractors to the LHD light clusters to get the correct beam pattern.
The following week I drove to designXKRs workshop in Andover and took the kids out for the day while they did the work. Yes you can fit kids in the back of an XK comfortably, when they are in the 3 to 4 age group anyway.
I collected the car on that October evening close to 5pm and the sun had already set so I needed the lights as soon as I started the drive home. I immediately noticed a night and day difference (no pun intended!) and haven’t once been flashed by oncoming traffic for causing them any discomfort.
This is a change just for the driver since the modification will go unnoticed by passengers and other drivers but I can assure you it is well worth it. You wouldn’t believe the difference.
The Overall Cost
It wasn’t just the cost of the lighting units: these were £375 but then I had to purchase the appropriate wiring looms and there was the labour costs in carrying out the modification which all came to £250. Apparently this cost could have gone up to £300 if the front bumper had needed removing but that was not the case for my car.
I also sold my old lights on ebay for £285 so the actual cost for the conversion was just £340 plus the fuel to get to Andover and back.
Upgrading your own car
If anyone else is considering doing the same modification, it is well worth it. You can either source the headlamp units yourself or Kevin from designXKR can do this for you. It is preferable to get either UK Xenons of European LHD units which someone like Kevin can modify. He apparently can also modify units from US cars for a small additional charge. All you need to do is ensure that the lights are supplied WITH their Xenon ballasts (a small silver box on the underside of the light)