In the 1960s, colored headlights were all the rage, particularly for customs and gassers. Bright colors like red, blue, and yellow were all popular colors. Colored headlights have fallen out of favor on the street, but remain popular for the automotive counter-culture, especially for gassers. You can buy colored headlamps on Ebay, but then that would take all the fun out of it.
We have a 1962 Comet wagon that desperately needed to be set apart from the pack (sarcasm), and tinted headlights fit the bill. Because buying pre-made stuff teaches us nothing, we did some research and figured out a quick and easy method to tinting headlamps. Anybody can do this at home.
The process requires a few specialized coatings. To get the paint to stick to the glass, you need an adhesion promoter. This is the number one most important step. Without the adhesion promoter, the paint can peel off. Glass is smooth and paint needs a little grit to grab onto, the adhesion promoter provides that. In fact, adhesion promoter is a good idea anytime you are painting glass or plastic.
For the actual tint color, you need candy paint. We used House of Kolor’s Kandy Concentrates in Lime Gold Kandy, but you don’t have to use professional paints, there are several rattle-can versions of candy paints available at any parts store, such as Duplicolor Nightshades or MetalCast Anodized Color paints. While the base-clear method we are using here produces longer lasting results, the rattle-can paints will get the job done and can be easily repeated. We have heard that the aerosol spray can paint fades after a couple of years.
Once the color is on the lamps, it needs to be sealed. Since we used House of Kolors Kandy, we matched that with HoK Show Clear. If you use the rattle-can paints, you can match it up with clear coat from that paint system.
A note for legality- the men in blue uniforms take issue with red and blue colored lights on the street, but most of the time will let the other colors slide, since they don’t give the appearance of “impersonating a police officer”. Don’t paint your headlights red or blue if you drive on the street. We only tinted the high beam bulb on the Comet wagon, that way it is only lit up when the high beams are on, and doesn’t affect visibility.
The tinting process takes a couple of hours, with drying time in the middle. Airbrush artist and professional painter Scotty Mccubbin transformed our headlamps, but you can get the same results if you take your time and follow the steps. Just don’t practice on your wife’s minivan, it doesn’t garner the same reaction…
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