Part 3: SEV Marchal Amplilux Headlights Audette Collection White Paper
Introduction to the Top Three Vintage Porsche Headlights
The Top Three: Cibié Bi-Iodes, used on Porsche production 9111R's, 911ST's and 911RSR's, are the most sought after headlights from this era, but the Bosch H1's and the SEV Marchal Amplilux's are equally cool in my opinion.
It's interesting that the coolest headlights ever used on Porsches were over 50 years ago during the brief H1 halogen bulb era. It was due to a clever adaptation to a serious limitation.
It must have been exciting when the H1 halogen bulb was first introduced. At that time the choice in the U.S. was sealed beams. The rest of the world (RoW) did a little better with reflector headlights using dual filament 40/45w tungsten bulbs (these were the fore-runners of the H4 headlight). Nothing very impressive in what could be called the automotive dark ages (sorry) compared to today.
The new halogen bulbs were great but there was one big problem - they only had one filament so how to use it in automobiles that had two beams. The three headlights featured in these white papers all used the same clever solution - two reflectors and two bulbs.
If you're fortunate enough to come across a set of any of these we would enjoy restoring them for you.
The SEV Marchal Amplilux were 7″ assemblies that fit into the Hella sealed beam housings with no modification. Used to replace the poor performing sealed beam headlight, the dual bulb, dual reflector Ampliluxes dramatically increased the performance over sealed beams and are, second only to the Cibie Bi-Iodes, the rarest and most desirable of headlights for early Porsches equipped with Hella sealed beam housings. Like the Bosch H1 and Cibie Bi-Iodes, they were a work around designed to enable the newly introduced halogen bulbs to be used in automotive headlights. Halogen bulbs at that time had only one filament so in order to use them in cars where two beams were required it was necessary to have two bulbs – and hence two reflectors.
Bulb Arrangement & Performance
The top reflector (upper half) was fitted with an H1 bulb and used for the low beam. The bottom reflector was fitted with an H3 bulb and used for the high beam. Ampliluxes, like the Bosch H1 headlight and the Cibie Bi-Iode headlight were complex and expensive to manufacture but they were the only way to use the advanced halogen bulb in automotive headlights until the two filament H4 halogen bulb was introduced in 1972.
The Ampliluxes had a sharp low beam cut-off and a far reaching high beam that could be adjusted separately from the low beam, creating an almost laser like far reaching beam.
Photo showing Amplilux's mounted in the Hella housing used for sealed beams. You can also see a decal with instructions for installing the H1 and H3 bulbs.
An Amplilux headlamp installed on an early longhood. They fit into the Hella sealed beam housing with no modifications required.
Please note that there were two versions made and only one version was used on Porsches. The other version was used on Citroens and Peugeots. The ones pictured here have the correct high beam reflectors for Porsches. The incorrect ones have a far different shaped reflector and have a much lower value (see picture).
SummaryI believe that these are the most under-rated of the three headlights that we feature in this series. They are much more rare than Bosch H1's, probably equivalent to Cibies. And an interesting aspect about the performance of Ampliluxes is that they provide a very unique low beam cut-off and a super intense, far reaching, pencil like high beam that is not easily duplicated in a single bulb light assembly. You might want to keep your eye out for a good set of these. Condition doesn't really matter, other than the lenses which are usually in good shape, as we can restore them for you.