In case you missed it, Paul Niedermeyer’s excellent overview of Lincolns greatest hits and misses is worth a second look, considering the “firsts” attributed to the Lincoln brand: halogen lights and clear coat paint (Versailles), gas charged shocks and auto dimming rear view mirrors (Fox Continental), composite headlamps (Mark VII) and the industry’s first use of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights in the Lincoln Mark VIII. And while some innovations quickly spread elsewhere, Lincoln’s HID system was outdated and orphaned in less than a decade. If you are crazy enough to drive an HID-equipped Mark today, finding a new bulb for less than $600 is impossible. And a used bulb fetches $100 or more on eBay. Such is life when you live on the bleeding edge far beyond anyone’s expectation.
Welcome to my little slice of hell. But first, a bit more about my 1995 Mark VIII LSC: the LSC’s originally wore HID lights, but were removed at the factory due to (unknown?) problems. So FoMoCo sold the car with conventional lights, which I converted it back to HIDs using the sorted, implemented system from a 1996 Mark VIII LSC. It was a one-year only system, as the Mark VIII sported significant changes in it’s 1997 redesign. Last month I lost a headlight bulb, thankfully with plenty of advance notice. So grabbed one of my spares from the junkyard. Now with one spare left, I am looking for an alternative.
With nobody to blame for my predicament, my forthcoming solution is the fourth headlight system in my car since it rolled off the assembly line. But it’s the last, as the right move is to ditch the antiquated HIDs for (widely-adopted) modern componentry. I talked to noted automotive lighting guru Daniel Stern, finding my way to a Mark VIII fanboi who made an adapter to mount the modern “D2S” bulb into the original lense. Only problem? He made one set, for his car only. Fantastic.
After several failed attempts to contact the engineer behind these adapters, I mailed a check to purchase the rights to this part. So I am now like Microsoft, only poorer and with very little chance at turning a profit. Which is fine, because I am more interested in helping anyone with this car, lest they lose faith, jump ship and scrap their fully depreciated, wholly undesirable ride.
With blueprints in hand, I’m currently looking for a local shop to turn my blueprints into CAD drawings. Drawings that will feed a CNC machine the necessary information to spit out several adapters. So much for my hopes of an easy conversion! And the word is out: Lincoln nuts on the Internet know that somebody is updating this antiquated system. All three of them. No matter, it’s too late to turn back now.
If anyone has experience making limited production, limited interest components or has worked with machine shops in a cost effective manner, I’d appreciate your advice. Thanks for reading.