Miata Top Source

Hella Lighting

Hella H-4 headlamps

[12/21/2006] Reviewed by: Keith Kimble - kjkmd@aol.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

"E-code" drop in replacement for stock sealed-beam incandescent lenses and bulbs.

Just installed. Makes a world of difference. Focused low-beam with a sharp horizonal cut-off. High-beam really does turn night into day, even with lamps at stock wattage (60/55Xenon +50% H4 bulbs). Only downsides are anticipated bulb life of 200-400 hours (replacement bulbs are cheap--$10 each), and reflection from street signs on high beam is pretty bright.

I would echo most of the comments of others. This is an inexpensive way to massively improve your lighting. Install is simple, requiring a Phillips screwdriver and about half an hour. E-code lights (not DOT legal, but nobody's gonna care, or notice--and if they do, it's a "fix-it") throw a much more useful pattern of light than DOT units--very like the bi-xenons on my wife's new Cayman. Kinda wonder why Cayman lights are legal, and these aren't. Oh, well. Lenses supplied without bulbs--latter available in various outputs, lives, and colors. 60/55 +50s said to be whitest, no need to upgrade stock wiring. +30s said to last a lot longer. Plenty of light unless you're driving the Mulsanne straight. Considered DOT legal Hellas, but problem with water leakage. And crummier lighting. Considered xenons (careful--lose your high-beams with some systems) but expensive (these were under $100 for the pair), a hassle (rewiring, ballasts, etc.), and as mentioned previously! , I'm not driving the Mulsanne straight. Ordered from Susquehanna Motosports (rallylights.com)--prompt delivery, knowledgable people, fair price. Highly recommended (should have done it long ago).

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella Headlights

[7/31/2005] Reviewed by: Benjamin Fields

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Hella's ECode (non-DOT approved) 7" round H4 headlights. Purchased from Susquehanna MotorSports (www.rallylights.com) with 55/60w bulbs.

Installed both lights with a helping hand in about 10 minutes. Instructions were minimal, but there are instructions on miata.net if needed. Hardest part was using liberal WD40 on the headlight ring screws, as they haven't been unscrewed in years.

After scaring myself during a backroad drive at night, I realized I needed new headlights ASAP. Re-aimed the new headlights, and the change is outstanding. I like the little "lip" at the edge of each headlight pattern to help illuminate signs. The darkest roads now light up just as I wanted, the high beam pattern lets me see everything. No more lighting worries when I drive. Since these use H4 bulbs, it means I can upgrade to higher wattage bulbs in the future if I wish.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella 1500 Clear Oval Driving Lights

[4/13/2004] Reviewed by: Chris Tower - miatamariner@wmconnect.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

A pair of clear lensed, oval driving lights.

Very satisfied with the quality of these lamps. Lenses are glass and are housed in a very sturdy, black bakelite metal body. Excellent quality.

I wanted to give additional illumination to the OEM 7" round headlights. I selected the oval design to compliment the oval sides of the grill opening. I positioned each light about 2 inches from the outside of the grill opening. I bought a red lighted rocker switch from Radio Shack to replace the enclosed on-off switch, the only item I thought was sub sub-standard in the kit. I placed the switch on a flat piece of plastic which I had previously installed below the radio in the cubby hole area. Ran my wiring through a OEM grommet in the firewall and attached the enclosed relay to a plastic box up and under the hood drip rail. It was a straight forward installation. The results are excellent. The lighting fills the area below the pattern of the OEM headlights and simply broadens the area of visibility. I also use these as day time driving lights as the lumens are far and above OEM standards. You can see the installation results at: www.cardomain.com/id/miata54

Not an installed item


Hella DOT-legal headlights

[7/30/2003] Reviewed by: Alan Dahl

Applicable to: '90 - '97

DOT-legal H-4 7" round headlights

About 10 years ago I purchased a set of Hella non-DOT "off-road" headlights for my M1. Based upon my good luck with those I bought a set of the new DOT-legal Hella lights for my mother's car. For the first few months everything seemed fine until after about a year my mother started complaining that they didn't work very well. A quick test revealed that she was right. I removed the lights in her car and discovered that the reflectors were almost completely covered with dirt, even though my reflectors were perfect after 10 years. A quick comparison of the two revealed the problem. The DOT-legal lights have a drain hole that is exposed to the elements on the Miata and allows water and dirt to enter. I attempted to clean the lens but with no luck. I contacted Hella USA and they were very helpful and offered to swap the DOT headlights for the non-DOT. The new lights work perfectly again. Thanks Hella!

The non-DOT off-road headlights are an excellent upgrade to the Miata and a huge improvement on OEM. WARNING: The DOT-legal lights should not be used without first plugging the drain hole.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella 55W H1 "All Weather" bulb

[2/12/2003] Reviewed by: William Barr - dreaminmetaphors@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Bulb for fog lights on 2002 Miata

I believe in having yellow/amber colored light in my "fog" lights, not white. After an exhausting search I found the "Hella H1 All Weather" bulb. I email the retailer just to make sure that these bulbs emit a yellow/amber light, and he assures me it does. The packaging even has yellow lines from the bulb to the outer edge of the package. Well guess what? They're not "yellow or amber" as claimed to be. I must admit that they're not as "white" as the stock bulb, giving of only the slightest hint of anything even resembling yellow, but they are not the bright yellow I had in mind.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella

[12/21/2002] Reviewed by: Andrew Clark - drewid@rcn.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Hella replacement lenses and bulbs for 7 inch round pop up headlights.

Ok it has been 7 years since I upgraded to Hella DOT aproved lenses and halogen bulbs. They are great! I'm still on my first set of bulbs and the only problem I have ever encountered is with the high beams on reflective signs are really bright. I love these lights.

This is a review update.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella Optilux H4 80/100 bulbs

[5/28/2002] Reviewed by: Bill Camperguy - Camperguy@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

High watt "white light" replacement bulb for the the M2`s

Throws a white (not cheezy blue) light in front of the car and to the sides as well.

Great for a person looking for a bright white headlight replacement.I changed my bulbs from the stock ones,which weren`t to bad anyway,but I wanted a brighter ,whiter light...and I got it for a reasonable price.Around $30 bucks.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella Headlights

[5/22/2002] Reviewed by: FormerMazdaTech - 31st330i@roadfly.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter

Hella E-Code headlamp housings with Hella +50% 55/60 bulbs. I ordered the housings and bulbs from www.rallylights.com for ~$91 shipped to my door. the housings can be ordered with standard 55/60 bulbs or without bulbs so that you can fit your own. I chose the Hella +50% bulbs over the Philips VisionPlus bulbs because I wanted "one stop shopping" and because I am assuming that they are nearly identical to the Philips (containing xenon gas and rated at +50%).

these are drop in replacements for the standard headlamps and due to the bulbs I chose, they do not require improving the wiring. I have used Hella headlamps in other vehicles (79 RX-7 & 89 B2600i) and have always been pleased with the results. I prefer to have the headlamps aimed using the proper equipment so I aim the "buckets" with the standard headlamps still in place using the headlamp aimer at a friend's shop. this aims the headlamps so that they are parallel to the ground *and* to each other. after that, I replace the stock headlamps with the Hellas.

good headlamps are always a requirement (in my book, anyway) for any sports car or for anyone who drives aggresivly.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


HELLA HEADLIGHTS

[1/30/2002] Reviewed by: LES MISCHKE - LES87@HOTMAIL.COM

Applicable to:

HELLA HEADLIGHTS

EXCELLENT WITH NON DOT LIGHTS.

I PURCHASED HELLA HEADLIGHTS FOR THE CAR (A '91) ABOUT 2.5 YEARS AGO. THEY WORKED PERFECTLY AND ARE A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER THE STOCK LIGHTS. MY EXPERIENCE WITH THEM SEEMS TO MIRROR THAT OF MANY OF THE OTHER REVIEWERS. THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS REVIEW IS TO ALERT OTHERS TO THE DIFFERENCES IN HELLA HEADLIGHTS. THERE SEEMS TO BE TWO TYPES: ONE IS DOT APPROVED AND THE OTHER IS NOT DOT APPROVED. THE DOT-APPROVED LIGHT HAS A SMALL HOLE IN IT (I GUESS TO VENT) BUT THAT HOLE ALLOWS MOISTURE TO GET INSIDE THE LIGHT. THE MOISTURE CAN DESTROY THE BULB. THE SHORT STATEMENT IS THAT YOU CAN'T USE THE DOT BULBS IN A MIATA. WHEN IT RAINS, THE BULBS WILL BE DESTROYED. USE THE NON DOT LIGHTS.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella headlamp & bulb

[1/29/2002] Reviewed by: Tony Shelver - tony.shelver@ctp.com

Applicable to:

Hella 7" headlamp replacement and Premium H4 +30 55/60W bulb

This is a great enhancement. I did notice that the Hellas are not strictly legal for Miata usage in the US: they are certified for motorycle usage. Unfortunately, the bulbs blew (low beam on both of them) after 11000 miles of usage. Putting in standard H4 bulbs did not give as much visibility (especially low beam). Putting in standard H4 bulbs did not give as much visibility (especially low beam). Still looking for the magic bullet...

Under 5 minutes to remove


Hella 7" headlinghts

[10/27/2001] Reviewed by: Smily Go - smilygo@yahoo.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Hella 7" headlights replace the OEM sealed beam.

Installation was simple and straightforward. And the result? Excellent!!! It is really day and night difference. My original Sylvania sealed beam was dim and almost dangerous at night. Hella, with much better light pattern, lights in front of my car very well.

I thought about BSP Lowprofile and other modifications, but am glad that I obtained Hella 7". It may not look as good as low profile, but it is very practical.

Under 5 minutes to remove


Optilux (Hella) 1300 Driving Lights

[8/17/2001] Reviewed by: Jason Loy - jasonmx5@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '99 +

Round driving lights with enough clearance to fit into the factory fog light openings in the front bumper.

Housing is made of metal, not plastic, which is a big plus in my book, plus it is compact so it was easy to do a custom install without having to worry about clearances. Much better lighting than stock!

So far I am very pleased with these lights. They are brighter than the regular low-beam headlights and they are well manufactured (and cheap at around $40). Had to do a custom install but that went pretty easy with about $4 in hardware. To see how I did it, check out http://www.jasonloy.com/HomePage.html

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


hella headlamp & bulb

[6/29/2001] Reviewed by: chris tran - cxc44@yahoo.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97

headlamp conversion from sealed beam to H4 from PBC and H4+30 bulbs from Rspeed.

my left bulb went out and i got a warning ticket for this so i took this opportunity to get the H4 conversion. now i can see in the rain much better. replacement is quite simple; just don't mess with the wrong screws. the H4+30 bulbs are such a great upgrade for the money.

let there be light...

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella H4 +30 bulbs - 55/60 watts (RSpeed Part# 607-143)

[4/24/2001] Reviewed by: Jeff Dunayer - teampunkass@hotmail.com

Applicable to: '99 +

Hella halogen replacement bulbs 55/60 watts R-Speed item #607-143 - $9.95 each

A lot better at night over the stock bulbs. Pretty cheap replacements that cost me about 1/4 what other aftermarket bulbs were going for.

Picked up a pair of these at the suggestion of Joe from R-Speed. Driving the first night with them I was thinking "Holy cow, I can see". A lot better then the stock bulbs, and Hella (pun intended) cheaper then the bulbs other vendors sell.

Under 5 minutes to remove


Hella Model 1500 Driving Lights

[11/14/2000] Reviewed by Gil Mikalian - gilbert.mikalian@jdpa.com

Applicable to '90 - '97 '99 + 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Pair of driving lights housed in a sturdy metal case, wiring, relay and switch in addition to mounting hardware.

Wow, going from the BSP EB1's to these lights is a HUGE difference. The light patterns match one another, are VERY bright and are very substantial. Paid $43 (shipped) for these lights and feel that if I paid twice that, I would still be happy. Very good quality, built to last.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella H4 80/100W bulbs

[2/16/2000] Reviewed by Charles Hailey

Applicable to

Background These are H4 (high/low) bulbs that I use in the Hella replacement headlights on my M1 miata. They are easy to install, requiring undoing 6 screws per headlight. Note be careful not to undo the two screws that align the headlight!

I love these bulbs - they light up the night.

Advantages In addition to the Hella replacement headlights, these bulbs are incredible. On low beam, they put out a nice bright wide pattern of light that does not produce any glare or bother other drivers (because of the sharp cut off of the Hella lens). On high beam they put out a very bright and long reaching pattern of light. I have driven at 100 mph, and not felt that the reach of my lights was shorter than the reach of my brakes. These are incredible, and along with the Hella lens, one of the best modifications I have made to my miata. When PIAA bulbs cost close to $100/pair, it is refreshing to find a product that is so effective, and costs just over $10 per bulb!

Disadvantages These lights are so bright that you may get some glare off of highly reflective road signs. You will blind on coming traffic if you have your high beams on. Technically, these bulbs may not be DOT legal for driving on pubic roads, but I have not had a problem with them during 15 years of use (the car looks stock).

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella H4 Headlight Replacements

[9/17/99] Reviewed by Bob Copeland,Jr. - wrcmm@aol.com

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

Hella headlights with H-4 bulbs

Removed because of water entering the housing, fogging the lens and breaking the bulbs. Water made the reflector and lens dirty.

Light pattern was okay but paying over $80 for non water tight headlights was a waste of good money. Maybe, due to location, they are more water tight on other cars. Would not recommend purchasing.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


[8/17/99] Reviewed by:Anonymous

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

I installed the Hella H4 7 inch replacement headlights in my Miata. They have a replaceable bulb that can be switched with a higher wattage unit without changing the entire headlight. I installed the 55/60 watt bulbs. The lens is designed to light up the sides of the road as well as reach farther in front of the car than standard headlights. I installed the Euro spec version, which is not DOT approved for automobile use. Hella makes another version which is DOT approved. The main difference is that DOT only approves diffusing lenses, and they set limits on the wattage of the bulbs. Therefore, the DOT approved Hella's may not function the same as the Euro spec version.

I am only using the 55/60 watt bulbs, and there is still a noticeable improvement over any stock headlight. The lights light up the sides of the road, as well as the road in front of the car, much better than stock headlights. With these headlights it is quite safe to drive highway speeds without worrying about "overdriving" the headlights. Despite the increased brightness of the lights, the lenses focus the light so that it is not in oncoming driver's eyes. Not one person has flashed their brights at me as a result of the Hella's. They also put out a much whiter light than standard headlights. The white light makes night driving much easier on the eyes. Installation was very simple, requiring only about 15 minutes per headlight. The process was exactly the same as replacing the stock headlights. I have not noticed any electrical problems caused by the increased bulb wattage.

I am very pleased with the Hella lights. I feel that they make night driving much safer. The road is lit up much better, and it is not offensive to oncoming cars. These lights are standard on European cars. If they are good enough for the Autobahn then they are more than capable of providing enough light for travel on U.S. roads. I do not feel that these lights will attract undue attention from law enforcement with the 55/60 watt bulbs. If the higher wattage bulbs were used I could see where they might be blinding to oncoming drivers. The Hella's cost much more than standard headlights, but the replacement bulbs sell for approximately the same amount. It is worth it to me to have the extra safety of being seen and being able to see well. I also like the Hella's because I was able to vastly improve the lighting on the car without altering the car's appearance.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella H4 Headlight Replacements

[8/17/99] Reviewed by: James Mendenhall - rdstrMx5@aol.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

I installed the Hella H4 7 inch replacement headlights in my Miata. They have a replaceable bulb that can be switched with a higher wattage unit without changing the entire headlight. I installed the 55/60 watt bulbs. The lens is designed to light up the sides of the road as well as reach farther in front of the car than standard headlights. I installed the Euro spec version, which is not DOT approved for automobile use. Hella makes another version which is DOT approved. The main difference is that DOT only approves diffusing lenses, and they set limits on the wattage of the bulbs. Therefore, the DOT approved Hella's may not function the same as the Euro spec version.

I am only using the 55/60 watt bulbs, and there is still a noticeable improvement over any stock headlight. The lights light up the sides of the road, as well as the road in front of the car, much better than stock headlights. With these headlights it is quite safe to drive highway speeds without worrying about "overdriving" the headlights. Despite the increased brightness of the lights, the lenses focus the light so that it is not in oncoming driver's eyes. Not one person has flashed their brights at me as a result of the Hella's. They also put out a much whiter light than standard headlights. The white light makes night driving much easier on the eyes. Installation was very simple, requiring only about 15 minutes per headlight. The process was exactly the same as replacing the stock headlights. I have not noticed any electrical problems caused by the increased bulb wattage.

I am very pleased with the Hella lights. I feel that they make night driving much safer. The road is lit up much better, and it is not offensive to oncoming cars. These lights are standard on European cars. If they are good enough for the Autobahn then they are more than capable of providing enough light for travel on U.S. roads. I do not feel that these lights will attract undue attention from law enforcement with the 55/60 watt bulbs. If the higher wattage bulbs were used I could see where they might be blinding to oncoming drivers. The Hella's cost much more than standard headlights, but the replacement bulbs sell for approximately the same amount. It is worth it to me to have the extra safety of being seen and being able to see well. I also like the Hella's because I was able to vastly improve the lighting on the car without altering the car's appearance.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Hella Vision Plus Headlights--With Blue 55/60 H4 Replacement Bulbs

Reviewed by: Tyra Pierce - tpierce@lib.drury.edu

Addition to previously written review on blue bulbs

Since I wrote the review on the Hella Vison Plus Headlights with blue replacement bulbs, I had an experience that those considering blue replacement bulbs might be interested in.

Initially, I was extremely please with the blue bulbs that I purchased with the Hella lamps from MM Marketing. Approximately three weeks after replacing the bulbs, I drove to Kansas City (about three hours) in some really serious rain. That night, when I was preparing to leave, I noticed that I didn't have headlamps. Upon further inspection, I found the bulbs had gotten wet (apparently through the weep-holes, and exploded--leaving me without lights, at night, in the rain, with three hours left to drive. It appeared that when I lower the lights, water got on the hot bulbs, and they exploded.

When I contacted MM, the tech suggested that I touched the bulbs. Not the case. I then called Hella where I talked to an extremely helpful technician who asked me what brand of bulbs were sent to me. After inspecting the box, we found that the bulbs were made in Korea. He informed me that Hella bulbs are made in Germany and are of a much higher quality, and the quality of the first bulbs were likely the cause of their exploding.

Since this episode, I have researched the blue headlight situation, and this is what I've found. First of all, the blue lights in the newer Lexus's, Benz's, etc. are HID which is a whole system...not a tinted bulb which is dimmer than a standard bulb because of the tint. The systems are extremely expensive. The blue colored bulbs that I've found to be best (made in Germany) are Candlepower bulbs that have a blue gas--not a blue tint. They have an EXTREMELY white light. I got mine originally for my motorcycle, but they work well in a car if someone wants a blue colored headlight. So far I haven't had any trouble with them. I got them through Gene's Gallery (motorcycle parts) at 1-800-728-4363. Otherwise, I recommend the HELLA bulbs.


Hella Vision Plus H-4 headlight conversion

Reviewed by: Nathan Ramsey - nramsey@hevanet.com

This is a replacement for the Miata's very poor sealed beam headlights. The kit includes the new lens/housing and a 55/60 watt replaceable bulb for each side of the car. The lens has a VERY nice sharp horizontal cut off with a diagonal flare to the right side and up. The resulting cut off pattern looks like this ___/__ for each light.

This is an extremely well designed product. Provides much better light output than the standard sealed beam lights. Puts all of the light down on the road and has a very uniform pattern. Blankets the whole road in light, rather than having hot spots.

A very nice upgrade for any M1 Miata. Cost is about $45 per lamp. Pricy, but worth it!

Under 5 minutes to remove


Hella Vision Plus Headlights--With Blue 55/60 H4 Replacement Bulbs

Reviewed by: Tyra Pierce - tpierce@lib.drury.edu

Replace bulbs and reflectors

For approximately a year, I've been seeking out a way to place the blue bulbs that are standard on some of the Lincolns and Lexus'. When I discovered that the Miata had a sealed beam bulb, I'd given up on the change.

In MM Marketing's newest catelog, I noticed that they had the Hella Vision Plus Light Assemblies with replacement BLUE bulbs. I immediately ordered them, received them, and installed them.

Overall, I love the appearence of the Hella Light Assembly. It's much flater than the stock headlights. I am also extrememly pleased with the light that is emitted from the blue bulbs. It's much whiter and brighter, plus, it looks extremely different when other drivers see you. The installation was easy, and I like the look of the car even more with the lights up!


Hella Vision Plus headlamps

Reviewed by: Dash Antel - dash_antel@bbs.macnexus.org

Headlamp replacements, DOT approved version (not H4s)

Easy to install and available locally (about $40 each). Light emitted from them is a bright and even horizontal band; no "hot spots". Sharp cut off makes aiming them a breeze. High beams are a real pleasure, lighting up the entire road ahead.

IMHO, this is a highly recommended upgrade. I really debated about getting the brighter non-DOT approved H4 lamps. They were the same price, but I opted for the Vision Plus ones. I don't have a need for seeing 5 miles ahead at night, don't want to risk burning out oncoming driver's retinas, and didn't want to risk a ticket.


Replacement halogen headlight lamps.

Reviewed by: Bill Meyer - meyerwg@tcg.com

Last year before going off on an extended driving vacation well into Canada, I purchased these replacement headlights since I had read so many good things about the Hella product line. Indeed, they do provide a different pattern that is in a side-to-side horizontal projection. This is the point that the Department of Transportation has not recognized for all automobile applications here in the US. The only approved pattern is the diffused pattern we are familiar with i.e., the light is gradually diffused from the edges of the projected headlamp. What is so impressive to my application is the "burn a hole in the atmosphere" effectiveness of the lights on high beam. While deep into the Canadian highway system at night the lights would literally light up the road, the forest and the sky on high beam. This is a good thing since wild animals seem to wander out onto the roadway at night. These high beams are fantastic and the low beams offer no objection to oncoming traffic.

Highly recommend the investment. There a snap to install too!

Under 5 minutes to remove


Hella H4 Headlights and 80/100 bulbs

Reviewed by: Matthew Eglin - eglin@magi.com

Replacement for sealed beam headlights. Canadian Part Number 70472 - Not DoT approved

The lights installed in 15 minutes, a very simple upgrade. With 80/100 watt bulbs the performance is fantastic. The low beam provides a very, very sharp cut-off allowing for easy aiming. The range on low beam is almost as good as the old mains. Overall the light pattern is great, lots of range and lots of side illumination.

This is a must-have upgrade for anyone who drives at night out of town.


Reviewed by: Andrew Clark - drewid@fast.net

Direct replacement for OEM headlights. 7 inch reflectors with replaceable H4 bulbs. DOT approved version with standard 55/60W bulbs.

Install time about five minutes with a philips screw driver. Raise headlights and open hood, unscrew four philips screws holding in the black plastic cover. Remove black plastic cover. Loosen three retaining screws for the crome bezel, rotate bezel and remove. Unplug OEM headlight, plug Hella in. Replace bezel tighten three screws. Replace black plastic cover. Repeat on other side. Close hood and turn on lights. To adjust light height park 4-5 feet behind an average car (I used a Mustang) useing adjustment screw at bottom of light (little dimple in black cover) raise light level to top of other cars tail lights. Anti clockwise raises light. Wait for dark and enjoy.

The lens design has a very sharp cut off putting all the low beam light where you can use it without annoying other drivers. Great improvment over stock lights. High beams are a joy.


Reviewed by: Enrico Massagli - emassagli@aol.com

Direct one-to-one replacement for the existing stock headlights. While both are halogen, the stock are sealed beam, and the Hella have removable bulbs. These bulbs are available in varying wattages.

At first glance, the biggest difference between the stock headlights and the aftermarket Hella's is bulb wattage. One also gets the notion of oncomming drivers having the retna burned out of each eye by high wattage halogen lights. While this may be true when speaking of driving lamps, the Hella headlights are specifically designed for street use, while driving lamps are better suited for the wilderness. The first impression on using these lamps on the street at night is that rather than having two "hot spots" (akin to two flashlights) in front of you, you have a clean, white, light that spans a two lane road from the left curb to the right curb, and about 50% further out than the stock headlights. As a test, I had a friend set up his stock Miata next to mine on a rural road at night. From behind the cars the difference was staggering. The stock lamps were actually a shade of yellow compaired to the Hellas. To those of you who know photography, comparing tungsten light, to sun light would not be an exageration. The acid test was when we walked about 200 feet in front of the cars. There was no appreciable difference in the glare of either car's headlights. Hella has designed the light to be low on the ground and not up in the face of oncomming drivers eyes. Now I can hear the grumbles coming now. "If these headlights are so good, why are they against the law ?" Well you see the current federal regulations covering headlights were written back when Thomas Alva Edison was still alive. Maximum wattage was set at 55. Thus "street legal" driving lamps are limited to 55 watts maximum. It took considerable wangling to get the fed's to approve halogen lamps, and drop the provision that all headlights must be of a sealed beam design. While the folks in Washington, D.C. were continuing to celebrate the end of World War Two, the folks in Europe developed headlights that were up to the speed limits on the Autobahn. Fact is, if you exceed 45 miles per hour on a completely dark road with stock headlights on high beam, you're driving faster than you can see in front of you. Thus the lamps bear the lable "for off road use only" to comply with our antiquated federal laws. In two years of use, I have had a grand total of two (2) other drivers object to my lights by "flashing" their brights at me. In one case the problem was caused by the slope of the road more than anything else. If they were really "objectionable" both State Highway Patrol and local police have had many opportunities to say so. Now these headlights can be fitted with bulbs that would nearly double the old 55 watt maximum. There is such a thing as overkill. I find that the 85 Watt low beam version gives great performance and does not put great strain on the car's stock wiring system. The existing stock fuse has also been up to the aditional load of the Hella lamps. I also find that driving in fog has not been adversly impacted. I was leary that a heavy fog would reflect the higher power lights creating a blinding effect, as you would get from high beams. Not a problem. the low, wide beam seems to go under the layer of fog and the road, and visibility is great.

The first time my wife road in my Miata at night, I was quickly informed to add a set to her pick up. When speaking of "bolt on" performance additions, these lamps are the single greatest improvement a non-mechanic Miata owner can make to their Roadster. One need look no further than a local auto supply store, they are available virtually everywhere. Flat out last word: I simply cannot imagine being with out Hella headlights.


Back to Product Reviews

4 February, 2007



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