I need some help figuring out when BMW changed the design of the back lights on E21 models... I believe the change-over date is Sept 1979, but I am looking for the VIN number marking the last car made with four light sockets, and the first made with five light sockets. Online parts sources show a 9/79 and later date of manufacture having different rear lights. BUT the site does not indicate where in the VIN numbering this change happened.
If someone knows (or knows where to find) a VIN that is the last car with the early lights, I will be MOST grateful!
Early lights have five sectors, with the center one reserved for the harness connector, and only FOUR bulbs.
Later lights have five sectors also, with the center one a large 'rear marker' or running (US: 'tail light') light, and sockets for FIVE bulbs.
I have some of each light version, which I am restoring, in the shop -- and adding upgrades for larger, brighter, more reliable tail and brake lights.
This is of course to increase visibility and reduce the chances for crunching noises from some idiot's front bumper... and ALWAYS done with safety first, and a 'Do No Harm' approach (my Auto-Hippo-Cratic oath). I have done this upgrading and restoration for years now, from E3 to E28 cars. I don't want this E21 model to be left out in the cold, so that's why I ask.
Once I get these lights done, I will post some pictures, and see if anyone wants rear lighting improvements for greater safety on the road.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!
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-Thanks, nic- I'll start my spreadsheet with yours.
Jeroen: " ... what would be the added value?"
nic65: " ... what is the use?"
-Jeroen, nic- to learn how to tell 'early' or 'late' from DOM (month/year) and VIN, so I can speak more intelligently when contacted. Sometimes folks want to swap lights, some will send theirs in for the work. This will help me pick the correct version. A picture of their lights will also serve, that is best.
This raises the question - are these lights interchangeable (backwards compatible)? I will do some measuring of the lights I have, see if I can tell that way. Feedback and direct knowledge is invited.
Glad to see there is some interest in this!
Thanks, Bedankt, Vielen Dank, Tack, Kiitos, Gracias, Merci beau coups!