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Thread: 355 Replica Headlights

  1. #1
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    355 Replica Headlights

    Thought I would put a teaser thread over here rather than fill up my normal build thread with details on the headlights I have been molding for the past way to long.

    I was able to get a set of oem headlights from a fellow member who trusted me to not wreck them or buy him new ones if I did..... I was close........ ;D

    I decided I wanted to retrofit '86-'89 Cavalier headlights into oem headlight buckets so I could get the look of the oem headlights but not the price tag that goes with them. You can get headlight buckets on ebay every once in a while for pretty cheap but when I did research on the cost for new, I was getting quotes of $1500.00 each in the States and $2500.00 each in Canada. The headlights themselves I was quoted $1000.00 from the Ferrari dealer in Calgary.

    At that point, I did not think the financial committee (a.k.a wife) would approve that, I went on the hunt for replacements I could afford. Cavalier Headlights and Corsica headlights are pretty close to oem except both have a slightly more aggressive slant back from inside to outside of the light and from bottom to top. I was OK with that though as brand new Cavalier headlights cost me ~$190.00 CDN not the $1000.... I could live with the slight difference especially since the lights come on at night 90% of the time anyway, there also being enough other items on the replicas that same replica anyway. I decided on the Cavalier headlights since they are almost exactly the same size as the oem headlights, just the slants are different. I also had a Cavalier headlight from a wrecker trip a few years ago to check dimensions. I am sure Corsica headlights will work as well but I think they have a bit more slant bottom to top than the Cavalier headlights do. At least from what I could tell when looking at one on the street. The owner even came over to me and asked me what the H*** I was doing so I explained it to him.. He opened the hood and everything for me after that.... ;D

    So, I found a set of oem headlights to mold and started the process over a year ago. I got about half way through molding the first headlight bucket and got sidetracked with work, family and move from Calgary to Victoria. Once settled in Victoria, I started up on the molding again. The member that loaned me the buckets has been excellent about the whole thing taking so long as he hasn't needed them but I also wanted to get the originals back to him in good condition and sooner rather than later. Later already having come and gone..... :-\

    So, on to the process of molding the headlight buckets and front fascias so we can have oem style at a lower price point.

    Cheers
    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

  2. #2
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    I started by Molding the Fascia. Since I wanted to make better molds than I was used to, I went and got some tooling gel as it is harder and will stand up to more repeated uses than the normal gel coat. I learned that the tooling gel and the plastic/paint on the plastic did not like the combination and the paint curdled in a few places. The tooling gel had no problem whatsoever on the rest of the headlight bucket but did not like the plastic.

    I switched to gel coat once I saw the tooling gel not working but I do need to clean up the one fascia piece before returning everything to the owner. Didn't hurt the plastic at all, (thank goodness) but I do need to sand out the paint bumps back to smooth before sending back to the owner.

    A few pics of the overall process and final product for the passenger bucket mold.

    Cheers
    Don
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    Passenger bucket molds turned out very well.

    You can clearly see the indents and screw holes etc in the test pieces I pulled out.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    First test pieces to be pulled out.

    I ended up with some air bubbles around some of the hard edges so I will need to work better coverage for the final pieces but I wasn't too worried about it at the beginning. These test pieces will be cut up and adjusted to make sure I get everything figured out before making the final pieces.

    I am casting the pieces in two sections, three actually, if you count the fascia.

    The bucket top and sides will be cast in one pass and the bottom/back will be cast separately so I can get the headlight mounting and pivot brackets put in place etc. a lot more easily. After all is ready, I will bond the two section together for the final product.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    Couple pics of how the Cavalier Headlight fits into the bucket.

    You can see from the first pic how much the outer edge of the Cav headlight sits further back than the oem. I will be filling that section in with some fiberglass and then remolding the fascia to get the proper shape out of the gate.

    By doing separate molds, I can now have oem headlight setup for those that want to go spend the $1000 per side or Cavalier headlights for those that don't.

    Cheers
    Don
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  6. #6
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    Don great job with these. I know there are a bunch of 355 builders who will be looking for these once you start producing them. Finally there is an alternative to the covers over the fiero buckets!! Can't wait to see how they fit on the car.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sactodreamer's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    Truely awesome Don! Your going to make me repaint my car since my covers are already painted. Do you have a price yet?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    No price yet. I was out in the garage tonight and took the second mold set off the second bucket and the molds turned out very well. I now just have to fill in the spaces I left to get the back/bottom piece off of the buckets. I got everything ready and put the tooling gel down tonight. I have my last course night tomorrow night so won't be doing anything tomorrow but will get the molds ready to pull another set of test pieces out later in the week.

    A few pics of the second mold set and the last bits to fill in.

    Cheers
    Don
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  9. #9
    Senior Member sactodreamer's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    Don,

    So I was wondering since you are making them in two pieces and I already have my covers painted would you be willing to sell just the part that surrounds the headlight and not the cover and side piece?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Senior Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: 355 Replica Headlights

    If you are talking about the fascia pieces only, sure, I can pull those as well. I haven't made the changes to the fascias yet that will fit the Cavalier headlights better yet. You can have an oem set and do the mods yourself if you like. You will need to extend the inside faces of the fascia at the outer side of it to match up with the Cavalier headlight since it slants back farther than the oem. You will also need to cut some of the inner face area off on the inner side as well since the Cavalier will sit further forward in that area.

    All easily doable though with some fiberglass mat and a small body saw. ;D

    Cheers
    Don
    308 Ferrari replica
    Prova Countach 5000QV

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