[T3] Clear front signal lenses?

Jim Adney jadney at vwtype3.org
Fri Apr 16 05:40:43 PDT 2021

On 15 Apr 2021 at 13:13, Max Welton wrote:

> I see clear lenses for sale. Are they legal? Or do front signals have to
> be amber?

In the US, we went thru 3 eras of front signal colors:

On early cars, the front lenses were all clear. Nobody had thought about 
amber as an option.

At some point, US code changed and required the LIGHT to be amber. I 
suspect that someone had noticed this in Europe and thought it was a good 
idea. This was originally implemented by painting the bulbs with an amber 
coating. This seemed like a good solution, since it would be cheap and easy 
to update earlier cars, but, at least at first, the coatings were poor and flaked 
off within a  year or so, making this a poor solution.  

Then the US code changed again, to require amber front lenses.

I tried checking the Type 3 parts book, but that's no help, because there 
were no US code Type 3s until '66. I can tell you that VW had options for 
both clear and amber lenses in Type 3s from the very beginning. So what 
color your car came with would have depended on which options it had, 
which probably depended on which market it was first sold in.

I used to know when these changes happened, but that memory has 
weakened. I'm pretty sure my '62 Beetle had clear lenses, and I THINK the 
'64 Beetle was the one to come out with the new, wider front signal lamps, in 
amber. That would leave '63s as the one year with clear lenses and colored 
bulbs in the US.

The story would be different in different markets.

Jim Adney, jadney at vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

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