LED headlights are becoming increasingly common on high-end new cars, but lighting company Sylvania now offers a way to fit the technology to older rides. Sylvania's Zevo LED lighting line now includes retrofit seven-inch sealed-beam headlights, which fit a variety of cars -- everything from the Jeep Wrangler and the first-generation Mazda Miata, to countless of classic models like the 1965 Ford Mustang shown here.
The Sylvania Zevo LED headlights replace the H6024 circular sealed beams that were common on many cars until U.S. headlight restrictions were loosened in the 1980s. The housings, which have a UV- and impact-resistant polycarbonate lens, pack LED elements on the "bridge" that sports the Sylvania brand name. Low-beam illumination is provided by LEDs pointing up to the top half of the reflector, while both halves are illuminated for high-beam use. The result is the unusual half-moon look seen on this Mustang; it does not affect light output, as the bulb's reflector is specifically designed to shape light that way.
The Zevo light bulbs are rated at 1100 lumens of low-beam power, and are claimed to cast a wider, brighter, and clearer light than traditional sealed beams, which are not known for sharp light output. Better still, LED technology means the Zevo lights use less power than traditional bulbs -- Sylvania claims 20 watts for the LED low-beams versus 40 watts for its traditional sealed beams. While the LEDs do produce a lot of heat, the entire backing plate of the bulbs is designed as a finned heat sink, preventing any concerns about overheating.
The Sylvania Zevo LED headlights plug directly into almost any vehicle that uses the seven-inch round sealed beams, although certain models might need a wiring plug adapter. Company marketing manager Brian Noble says he expects strong adoption by Jeep users, who will appreciate the LEDs' better lighting and durability for off-roading use, as well as by classic-car owners who want to use their restored ride at night but want the safety of improved light output.
The one downside to the Sylvania Zevo LED headlights is price, as they're expected to retail for about $500 per pair. That said, the bulbs last longer than traditional sealed beam headlights so, "You should never have to replace any of these," Noble said. "It is more expensive, but you can see the difference."
Syvlania Zevo LED headlights should go on sale on Amazon.com later this month. The headlights join an extensive list of existing Zevo LED bulbs for automotive use; the product family includes replacement interior and map light bulbs, parking and taillight bulbs, LED foglights, and add-on strips that provide colored ambient interior lighting.