Night driving a Corvette can be a dangerous endeavor. Not being able to detect a hazard soon enough can be costly to the Corvette owner. The next best thing to daylight-only driving is to upgrade the lights on your Corvette with something as close to sunlight as possible. For now, that alternative is HID. High Intensity Discharge lights put out more light, are higher in temperature (whiter) than halogen lights, draw less power after the initial startup, and last approximately 10 times longer than a standard halogen bulb. Needless to say, we weren't surprised to hear rumblings that the C6 may use this new light technology. Unlike halogen lights, HID uses a ballast and a high-voltage cable to operate the high-beam section of the bulb.
In our Dec. '02 story highlighting Sylvania's Xenarc line of HID headlamp systems, we mentioned that Sylvania had a Xenarc system for every year Corvette except the C5. The hardest obstacle to overcome when installing such a system in a Corvette is the rotating headlamp systems in mid-year or C4 Corvettes. Despite the challenge, we felt a step-by-step installation was in order. Our donor car was a C4 that, putting it mildly, wasn't stock. The Xenarc headlamp kit comes with everything you need for installation, but it is not a bolt-in kit. The extent of the necessary modifications is dependent on the owner's taste. While a completely stock look wasn't a big concern on this particular car, we wanted an installation that, to the untrained eye, would appear to be original. That meant we needed to trim some wires and change a few connectors to blend with the factory harness. The end result was a mostly stock-appearing headlamp system that churns out more light than the original system ever dreamed of. Daylight at night-what a concept!
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While it took us a bit longer to install our headlight system than to replace a bulb, the benefits of having more light when cruising down a lonely highway will make these bright white beauties a true investment.