Driving a classic car out on the road is stressful enough these days without having to live with the fear that at any moment some idiot is going to smack into the back of your pride and joy. Thankfully, some cars will stop automatically, but the rest of the tailgaters who multitask while they drive are still a serious threat. Trust us, there are few things worse than watching in your rearview as some jackhole locks up his brakes, while you grip the steering wheel and go to maximum pucker point as they ram into your car.
What are you supposed to do to prevent this horrible situation? One way to get their attention is to convert our incandescent bulbs to brighter, faster and more efficient LEDs. Let's face it: Just about every new car sold today has bright LED tail lights and the '50s brake light technology just doesn't hold a candle to them.
The LED conversion we are talking about is the one offered by Dakota Digital. The company offers upgrades for all the Tri-Five models (plus '58s and '59s) and doesn't just stuff a bunch of LEDs in a simple housing; it builds a complete circuit system. Scott Johnson, sales manager at Dakota Digital, says, "For the '56, we wanted a stock look with no hot spots, but use the technology of the LED. LEDs turn on much quicker and every millisecond counts. At 60 mph, that could be a few feet of difference."
Another benefit of the LED is its longevity; these are rated to 50,000 hours. Even with that lifespan, Dakota offers a limited lifetime warranty, so these will be the last set you will have to buy.
To house the trick LEDs, we picked up a set of all-new tail light housings from Danchuk. Steve Brown, general manager of Danchuk, says, "Reproductions of '56 tail lights have been available in the industry for years, but not anything like this. We started with a perfect set of originals and then began the process of making all the tooling 100-percent in the United States of America. After casting, we sent them out to get the best quality chrome-plating money can buy. The end result is a set of tail light housings that are absolutely breathtaking."
Brighter, good looking, and they just might save you and your car.