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Could somebody tell me what year they stopped putting the " guide RH 5 "on the tombstone tail light bodies under the license plate mount? Thanks, Brian
11-29-2007, 08:02 PM
Bryan as far as I can remember that was on the rear of the shell till the end. If it's not there you got crap. I could be wrong but I don't think so. Hope this helps, Bob
11-30-2007, 01:09 PM
The RH-55 was used up thru 1968. In 1969 the number changed to RH-68 to indicate the change to the body and lenses.
I am refering to the 47-54 lights.I've seen some that have the guide number on the back of the shell, and others with it on front under the plate mount.I assume that all lights marked " GUIDE" are original no matter where they are marked, maybe that is wrong. If so where did the others come from?
Perhaps this is a foolish assumption but maybe they quit putting it under the plate mount when they started riveting the mount instead of bolting it on?
I've thought about that one and was thinking you may be right. Then I started looking around and have seen tail lights with riveted on plate brackets with the guide RH5 info on the outside and nothing inside, and others with GUIDE 36298 on the inside and nothing on the outside. both of these lights had brackets still riveted on and appeared to be factory. Anyone else have any idea when this change took place?
12-24-2007, 03:49 PM
I have been told by an AMCA judge that the 1947 tail lights had the "Guide RH-5" stamped on them just in front of the tag bracket and that the 1948 tail lights don't. The reason I was told is that the die for the lights wore and the numbers no longer would transfer to the castings. Personally I think that is BS. I have original tail lights from 1947 that don't have the numbers on them and I have an original 1948 tail section, un restored with an original tail light that does have the numbers on it. I am in the process of restoring a 1948 Panhead to original condition for judging by the AMCA and have wondered about which tail light is correct. After finding the original un restored tail section with the light on it I took alot of pictures to "state my case" if the judges argue about it. I have also seen original guide tail lights for '47-48 with a slightly different shape to the body itself. The Guide factory probably had many different molds going in the casting process which is why there are numbers on the front of some lights and not others.
I've also been told it was47 & 48. Interesting thing about the light you show, the holes have no countersinking to them. Palmer describes the holes on the bodies with the bolt on bracket to have slightly coutersunk holes. Is this true? I have seen them this way, but if the "countersinking" was caused by over-tightening the screws I can't say. I have also seen more than a few complete tail lights, just like the one you pictured with the bracket still riveted on. I examined some Quite closely and it appeared to be a factory job. Supposedly they didn't start riveting the bracket on until 49? So your theory is the best I've heard yet and would go a long way to explain the parts I've been seeing.
I've also started wondering of late, what other applications did this tail light have? Guide supplied many manufacturers. And from playing antique cars with my dad I know the RH stands for right hand, implying there to be a left. The # after usually signified the first year of use. But I don't think anyone was using electric running lights in 05. The 5th model produced perhaps? Wel I'm rambling now.
12-27-2007, 01:18 PM
The countersunk holes you are refering to are for the tag bracket on a '47-'48 tail light. The tag bracket is countersunk to accept the bolt head and make it flush with the bracket.
12-27-2007, 01:20 PM
I included a few pictures of the different castings for original "Guide" tail lights.
The light on the left is from an original 1948 rear fender. Notice the larger area behind the tag bracket and the large reinforcing fin. It does not have the "Guide RH-5" on the front. The light on the right is from a 1947 Knuck. It has the "Guide RH-5" cast into it. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the great pics and info. I never noticed the rib on the back before. I knew the bracket had countersunk holes but wasn't sure if the countersunk head of the screw was thicker than the bracket or not. Thats the way palmer makes it sound. I thought the one or two I've seen over the years appeared to be from someone over tightening the screws , but wasn't sure till now. Does the 48 unit have the guide 36248 ( not sure if the number is right, don't feel like looking it up right now) and made in usa on the inside? Since you seem to know a good bit about these tail lights, Have you seen any really good repros? As nice originals seem to be pulling in good money right now. I would of course install an original lens in a repro, if it was otherwise accurate.
12-27-2007, 10:43 PM
Both the '47 and '48 tail lights have on the inside of the rear portion "Guide 5936298" with "Made in the USA" below it.
As far as repop goes it depends on what you're trying to build. I truly believe that original is always worth the money. Look at it as an investment. I am relatively new to the game, but every original part that I hold up and compare to aftermarket is different in some way and I mean every part! If you can ever make it to an antique swap meet you will probably find the tail light you need for a much better price than ebay. Even still, I have found original tail lights on ebay for under $100. You just have to put in the time searching and not get caught up in the "bidding frenzy". Good luck Brian, and remember that "the journey is just as important as the finished product".
Thanks again. One of my goals on this project is to be as original as possible, but I am realistic and some sacrifices must be made. If a repop part fits and functions as original, and is only able to be spotted as such in a side by side comparison, then I may consider it. Often times though a quality repop is almost as costly as an original. I was wondering if youve ever looked at anything made by "GM RESTORATION PARTS" ? I've seen them in catologs , but have never seen one in person. They are supposed to be whats left of " GUIDE CORP" , the OE supplier. I have looked at meets, but anything actually nice always has a nice price too,and still the lenses are usually missing, wrong or cracked. wich from my point of veiw should be reflected in the price , as I will need to find one of those also.I don't mind paying fair money for good parts, but I don't buy junk.
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