First Impressions Review: ORACLE LED's Headlight Conversion Has Potential
Is modern actually better? Let’s find out once more.
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Classic cars work far better than you think. Yes, they require a little more engagement and critical thinking skills to operate than modern cars that make life cushy and inconsequential. But the reality is that they were built so that anyone can get behind the wheel and operate them safely. That's why so many sweet little old people could command big blocks without anyone batting an eye in their heyday.
You should think twice before buying into any updated components. Even in the case of converting sealed beam headlights to LEDs. While the ladder is certainly better on paper, I have personally learned the hard way that sealed beams work way better than a lot of so-called upgrades.
So, when I was sent ORACLE LED headlights for testing, I was skeptical. However, I'm not a lunatic that's anti-aftermarket anything. I'm all for making upgrades to a car, so long as they function as they're intended to. My 1969 Dodge Charger is outfitted with plenty of upgrades that make sense. Tubular control arms, front and rear sway bars, front disc brakes, and a 15-fuse wiring harness are proof of that. But those upgrades combined with points ignition, rear leaf springs, and carburetors should also tell you that I'm hardcore about sticking to what works.
All of that is to say that I plan on putting these ORACLE LED headlights through their paces. I want to thoroughly test them so that any of you that are considering making the swap will know if it's worth your time. But before I do that, I wanted to run through my initial impressions.
ORACLE Lighting is no new kid on the block, as it's been supplying aftermarket lighting since 1999. Hitting its home page makes it clear that aesthetic appeal is just as important to its branding as functionality, with a number of trick application-specific upgrades, such as LED mirror lights and various colored halos appearing right up front.
I was sent a set of 5.75-inch round LED conversion housings with bulbs to match that will fit my 1969 Dodge Charger. The housings are pretty straightforward but separate themselves from a lot of the cheaper stuff with the addition of an LED halo that can be wired up to work as daytime running lights and turn signals, which is pretty slick.
My housings have a white halo, but various colors are available if color matching is your thing. There's also the option to upgrade to a 40W sealed beam conversion without interchangeable bulbs, but this is my personal preference, as the option of replacing a bulb over the entire assembly when things fail is far too convenient.
These are not a direct bolt-in, though. According to an instructional video I peaked at before their arrival, these bulbs do require a slight modification to the headlight bucket to make them work. Other than that, it's a really simple install, but that is worth knowing if you don't want to disturb factory steel.
I was previously burned by a cheap headlight conversion I snagged on eBay. And it should come as no surprise that they were total trash and put a bad taste in my mouth as far as aftermarket lighting goes. Even without installing these on the car, I can tell you that these are not that. They are proving to be infinitely better than those old white-box bulbs, even when I simply plug them in to work like an impromptu spotlight.
Initially, I was under the impression that the existing Sylvania XtraVision lamps were going to put up a major fight. However, after discovering that my wiring needs a little help, these ORACLE lights show some serious potential.
The fact that the Sylvanias are respectably bright and readily available locally does still have me on the fence, but I am already tempted to say that this is an upgrade worth making. Still, I plan to give it a fair fight and use these bulbs under a variety of driving conditions. I won't say much more until they've had the chance to prove themselves in the real world.
Stay tuned for my full review, and be sure to drop a comment about anything you'd like me to address in my testing.Subscribe to Drive Deals. Discounts on car parts, tools, accessories, and much more delivered straight to your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.