Thursday, January 24, 2013

GUIDE to BLC Headlights

Part of building any hot rod is customization.  And one of the details that will give a car its personality (other then engine, paint, etc) are the headlights.  They are your car's 'eyes'!

Throughout the early years of car design, most all headlights were mounted on headlight bars between fenders.  As the 1930s went on, headlight bars would disappear.  Soon, all headlights were integrated into the car's fenders, then the grill. Most light-duty trucks were a hold-out until WWII ended.  But many new heavy commercial vehicles were still made with fender-top mounted headlights for many more years.  So considering the lifetime of pedestal mounted headlight, there are quite a few styles to choose from for a nostalgic hot rod.

History Fact: Guide Motor Lamp Company was formed in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio and became an innovator in auto lighting.  The company was purchased by General Motors in 1928 and formed the Guide Lamp Corporation.

Vintage brand name buckets from Arrow to Yankee all have their own charm. Some of the most popular like the Dietz and King-Bee have been reproduced to death! But none have ever matched the quality of the early originals.

Something common to all the best styles is the lens size.  That's because of a 1940 federal law that standardized the 7" lens for all car makers and integrated high/low beam in one bulb.  Now any headlight marketed had to be the same size as everyone else's.
Thankfully the standard was dropped in 1957, paving the way for the popular 5-3/4" two-bulb system. Many excited car designers quickly integrated this into their next car design --think of the 1958 Bel-Air or Ford Fairlane.


In this post, I'll be talking about my personal favorite brand; GUIDE & BLC headlights.

They are my favorite because they are easy to find, have good quality, and they come in a variety of shapes.

What is B-L-C? In 1936, as Guide continued to grow and expand, the Brown-Lipe-Chapin Co (B-L-C) was named a plant of Guide Lamp Corp. The Syracuse, NY company turned out lamps, bumper guards and hub caps for GM's eastern section of the United States.

  • The four varieties of headlight for hot rods are model numbers; 903-J, 904-A, 682-J, and 682-C.  All use the standard 7" bulb with the three prongs on the back.
  • Similarities over all the models are the trim ring, bulb retainer ring, and threaded mounting stud.  Over the years there have been minor changes to these parts.  But they almost always interchange over all the different models.
  • Differences are the obvious headlight bodies, and the riveted on lower mount.  682-C & 682-J share the same basic body shape, but 682-C has the parking light mounted on top in an indent stamped into the metal.
  • Wiring is also different over the model lines, with exception of 903-J & 682-J which share the same basic design. While 904-A and 682-C have unique wires for each of their parking light component.  The earliest buckets had wire sockets underneath, rather then the loomed wires exiting the housing that is most commonly seen.
  • Paint was always black.  A chrome trim ring was an upgrade from the painted one.  904-A was the only headlight model, that I have observed, that was chrome optional from the factory.  But the majority of the 904-A were still painted black.
  • Tags (pictured above) were not on the very earliest headlights.  Before tags, bodies were stamped with the the maker's name, model number, and "MADE IN USA".  ALL riveted on tags were silver (nickel) color when new.  The brass ones you might see today have had the silver polished off. Tags could also be made of aluminum, the one second from the top is one.


The shortest of the headlight bodies.  Great looking on any hot rod, especially the small ones like a Model T or modified. 

Ed Gallagher's early 904-A with light, but no tag.


The medium sized body.  Only the very earliest 904-A had no light on top and were stamped with the model number on the body (no tag).

There is also the 904-A with light, but no tag. Like this one pictured.

But all tagged 904-A have lights.

904-A have three wires running out of them like 682-C; high beam, low beam, and parking light. 


Most common GUIDE bodied headlight.  Looks traditional on any hot rod, but is best on larger cars like the '32 Fords and newer.

I've observed early 682-J with stamped model numbers (no tags).

Only two wires come out the 682-J, like the 903-J. One for high beam, one for low.

The 682-C shares the same basic shape as the J.


Probably the most popular of all and the most well known headlight.  The 682-C is still a 'love it, or hate it' hot rod part. Some guys think they are too large or too "over the top" for a traditional hot rod.

They came with a variety of glass parking lights, here are a just a few pictured: the top one I call "sheathed", below that is "big/smooth", and the much celebrated "hawk-bill".

The parking light (sometimes converted to turn signal) is held on with one long screw, from the top, keeping the stamped steel light retainer/cover on.  Inside is a black foam-rubber gasket that keeps the glass pressed firmly against the retainer.  Without the foam the glass will rattle around, but still not fall out.

OTB Gear has reproduced the 682-C headlight assembly, hawk-bill variety (and more recently, the 682-J).  And while they look like the original, the parking light retainer is not interchangeable with a vintage original headlight.
Although, OTB does make a chrome trim ring that is top-notch and does fit the original headlight buckets.

Here is a size comparison between the 682-C/J, the 904-A, and 903-J on the right.

I've broken down a 682-J to show you the parts of this simple headlight.

Also note the mounting pad and original wire exit, similar to all.

The trim ring is tightened on with one stainless steel pan-head screw, partially hidden inside a cove on the ring bottom.  This is unique to the GUIDE/BLC line and is partly what makes these lights so interesting.

A look under that is the bulb retainer ring.  I have seen two ring varieties, one is chromed steel, and another made of stainless steel.  Three small, flathead screws hold the retainer down on to the sheet metal body.  Rings are also reproduced by OTB Gear.  They are nearly impossible to find loose at swap meets.

Four screws is all it takes to change a bulb.  Early models were equipped with non-sealed headlights, where a smaller bulb was installed in the back of a reflector and lens. That changed as the industry standardized under federal regulation requiring 'sealed beam' bulbs.

Rust at the inside back is typical, they were dipped into paint.

The wires to the 682-J (903-J similar) consist of the 3-prong plug, two wires exit the housing.  All headlights have one wire grounded with a rivet to the body installed at the factory.  Covering the wires is a tar/cotton loom, and each headlight had a steel clip that kept the loom and wires from being pulled out the headlight.

"The Grand Daddy"

I found this one by chance, a headlight made by GUIDE even bigger then any 682!  It is on an original condition 1937 American LaFrance 400 Series Triple Combination belonging to the Los Angeles Fire Department.  I saw it while visiting the LAFD Museum & Memorial in Hollywood, CA, where the truck is on display.

I wasn't able to measure the light, but it was of impressive length.  It has the same trim ring as any GUIDE, but no tag.  Instead it was stamped "GUIDE, Made In USA" at the rearmost point of the body.  It had no model number that I could see.

GUIDE headlights on a fire truck made in 1937.


  1. Good story about our favorite headlights.
    good work buddy!

    1. I must laught when I see your blogger usernames

  2. Very helpful web site. Thanks for putting this all together.

  3. Fantastic article! Really helped me on figuring out what I have and what I need to complete the headlight. Thank you,

  4. Great article - thanks. Came up when trying to figure out the different sizes and head lamps available. Thanks especially for the comparison picture.

  5. I've got 682--C headlights on my '29 Chevy coupe. I was told that they originated on a Kenworth truck. Could that even be true?
    And is there any way to verify what they did originate on?

  6. Are any of these 9 inch lights

  7. Great article. I will use this to help find replacement bezel for my 36 Plymouth Coupe.

  8. This is a really informative post, great reference material.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. i got one. and its for sale

  11. Your website is amazing. Keep it up.

  12. yet it's bin is a little on the small side as well as might need cleared regularly. It sweeps Website and wipes yet goes a little farther by Best essential oil diffuser recipes using UV lights to sanitize the location.

  13. the Baby Einstein Walker will certainly go to a negative aspect due to the Click Here fact that it could occupy way Best Convertible Car Seat Buying Guideli too much storage space.

  14. I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people. | | |

  15. Mcafee Antivirus Setup – Get started to McAfee Activate and finish establishment and initiation from
    on the web.

  16. Activate, Install, Download and Renew Your Product With Live Support. Setup Your Product, Activate Your Product, Install Your Product With 3 Setup.

  17. Office Setup, To Install MS Office a legitimate 25 character item key is required. Visit to sign in to office represent establishment.

  18. This is such a valuable post to
    share. Will share it with my peers too. | | |


  19. QuickBooks Enterprise Support Phone Number
    Need help to fix problems related to QuickBooks then your are at right place, get QuickBooks enterprise support phone number and connect with QuickBooks enterprise customer service phone number.


  20. QuickBooks Online Support Phone Number
    Need support to solve problems related to QuickBooks then your are correct place, get QuickBooks online support phone number and connect with QuickBooks online customer service phone number.


  21. fix QuickBooks unrecoverable error
    Need support to solve QuickBooks unrecoverable error then your are correct place, get help to fix QuickBooks unrecoverable error by best experts.
    QuickBooks unrecoverable error, fix QuickBooks unrecoverable error, get rid of QuickBooks unrecoverable error


  22. QuickBooks Online Tech Support USA
    Call Quickbooks online tech support usa to get fix for all problems related to Quickbooks and contact Quickbooks online helpline usa.


  23. QuickBooks Online Tech Support (24*7) USA Helpline
    Call Quickbooks online tech support usa to get fix for all problems related to Quickbooks and contact Quickbooks online helpline usa


  24. QuickBooks Enterprise Tech Support Phone Number (24/7) Helpline
    Call Quickbooks online tech support usa to get fix for all problems related to Quickbooks and contact Quickbooks online helpline usa


  25. QuickBooks has stopped working
    Need support to fix or QuickBooks won’t open, Quickbooks is not responding then your are correct place, get help to fix or QuickBooks won’t open, Quickbooks is not responding by best experts.
    QuickBooks has stopped working, Quickbooks is not responding, QuickBooks won’t open


  26. Quickbooks Technical Support
    Quickbooks Support- Get 24x7 complete QuickBooks Support from best QuickBooks Technical Support team. Contact 1-877-410-1171 for immediate solution.

  27. I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important; the issue is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about. | | |
    billy mark

  28. hp printer: If you face any problem related to hp printer installation, wireless router setup for printing, cartridge installation, blank page printing, unable to print, canon printer wireless setup, hp printer wireless setup, hp printer wireless setup, printer wireless setup, printer wireless installation just connect with us or visit our website:
    hp printer support
    hp printer tech support number
    hp printer toll free number


  29. Get the easiest way of setup and install Norton with the product key from Norton proves to be one important aspect for all the internet users to act as a shield against the increasing number of viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojan horses. Creating next-generation protection against the newest threat to timely updates. No matter if you have a single device or a family of device Norton outperforms all its competitors with its consistency of service.
    Norton my account
    Download nortonsetup


  30. Avast Customer Service -Avast Antivirus protects your devices from all online menace. For any kind of help and support, reach us through avast support number and Avail our service, We are available 24X7 with the toll-free number. for more information visit our avast customer service website:
    Call Avast Customer Service Number
    avast customer support technical number
    Avast customer support number

  31. Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative.

  32. Get FREE account and technical support for your McAfee consumer products and services. Find solutions to top issues online. Live support via chat and phones.
    mcafee activate
    mcafee my account

    Download and install your Norton product.

  34. Get FREE account and technical support for your McAfee consumer products and services. Find solutions to top issues online. Live support via chat and phones.
    mcafee activate
    mcafee my account

  35. Hello, dear
    My sidekick has cheered your blog and I have to examine your blog. There is a huge amount of good information on your blog, I appreciated understanding it and I figure people will get a lot of help from this ( blog. Sam, I have made this deal with of blog, I figure you will get a lot of help from this too. I believe you like my blog, Users will get a lot of information from this blog. I believe you like my blog. I believe you got a huge amount of help from this blog.

  36. mcafee activate - Mcafee Antivirus is a software developed by Mcafee company. This is the prime software which is required by professionals and non professionals to to protect computer from virus, malware, threats, internet hackers, adwares.It warns you about risky websites and helps prevent dangerous downloads and phishing attacks.We provide support related to any mcafee product questions, Subscription, Registration and Activation, Error messages and any other technical glitches. For any support or help regarding mcafee products installed on your system dial into Mcafee antivirus customer support phone number or visit
    mcafee activate
    mcafee retailcard

  37. - You might have been looking for a proper guide that helps you in downloading, installing and activating the Norton Product key. Visit and proceed for the Norton installation setup. Get Norton help at Norton Customer support toll free number.

  38. Contact Quickbooks online Support To resolve the problem Occur in Quickbooks online support number to help them on Accounting Software. It is a advance business accounting software to help growing company fast and enhanced the business. If you have got any problem we will help them as soon as possible. Contact Quikbooks to support by helpline number and online support. Quickbooks have manage the Accounting Software…

  39. Secure your device from viruses- download and install McAfee activate on your computer. Visit
    mcAfee activate

  40. I just want to say thanks for your wonderful post, it is contain a lot of knowledge and information that i needed right now. You really help me out my friend, thanks!
    Click here |Norton toll free number
    Click here |McAfee technical support phone number
    Click here |Phone number for Malwarebytes
    Click here |Hp printer support for mac
    Click here |Canon printer support number usa

  41. Microsoft Office is one amongst the most useful productivity suites for Mac and Windows. Log in at and browse various packages for Office 2019, Office 365, Office 2016, Office 2013, Office 2010 and more. After downloading and installing its setup, activate it with the product key.

  42. Activating the antivirus software is easy and quick. But, sometimes you may face certain problems while doing so. It might be due to mcafee retailcard or any other problem. If you face any such problem, you can seek our help and guidance.
    mcafee retailcard
    McAfee MTP Retailcard

  43. Download

    Webroot Support

    Get Advanced Webroot SecureAnywhere Security Software from the link, Or Get In Touch with Webroot Support Download -Safe

  44. Trendmicro Support best buy download

    Whenever you face any trouble against Trend Micro antivirus just feel free to visit or to call on our Trend Micro technical support phone number for better services you deserve.

    Trendmicro BestBuy pc

  45. Aol email Support
    Aol Customer Service
    Aol Support Number

    Get Instant AOL Support for Technical Issue like Aol email Sign In Problem, Forgot Password, Aol Customer Service is the Highly Experts team, Call Aol Technical Support 24/7

    Aol Support
    Aol Tech Support
    Aol tech support phone number
    Aol Customer Support

  46. Trendmicro BestBuy pc

    Get TrendMicro Antivirus Activate with the link with Valid Product key. Get Instant Trend Micro support with the link

    Trendmicro Support best buy download


  47. Kaspersky Tech Support Phone Number

    Kaspersky Customer Support

    Kaspersky Customer Service

    Devices would be free from Virus, Malware, Trojan and other online threats
    Kaspersky Activation with the link gives you the Complete protection, like email protection, Banking Details Protections, Sensitive Information protection, important Software Protection, Get Instant Kaspersky Support or Call Kaspersky Customer Service

    Kaspersky Technical Support
    Kaspersky Support


  48. Go to to Login Account
    Get protection from malware , Intrusion, Trojan , cyber attacks get Avg software installed with the help of link or call Avg support for any technical help -Retail

  49. Download -Safe

    Need to Have Advanced Technology internet Security software from Webroot safe Software company with the following Link that help to protect all device from virus, malware and other online threats. Download
    Webroot Support

  50. I like this blog,Activating the antivirus software is easy and quick. But, sometimes you may face certain problems while doing so. It might be due to mcafee retailcard or any other problem. If you face any such problem, you can seek our help and guidance.
    mcafee retailcard
    McAfee MTP Retailcard