New Products 2017-06-10 1358

No doubt here, the popups are essential part of the charm of the Mazda MX5 NA (MK1). So unique for the the 80s cars and banned during the 90s for pedestrian protection regulations and obviously cost reasons.

So why flush headlights?

 

Generally speaking, having lots of options on the table is not a bad thing. Whether OEM, low profile or flush headlights suits the build is personal preference. Heavy modified cars tend to differ from the original curvy, innocent design of the MX5s and profit a lot from more aggressive addition to the front.

 The definite reason however, which stands behind their initiation at Jass Performance is my and friends track MX5s, which, additionally to the TSIs, would have profited with flush headlights from:

  • Weight shaved off the front
  • Air intake at the cold engine side
  • Shorter intake pipes = better response = higher end torque, raising power especially coupled with raised rev limiter (Chrystal mod for example).

 

The very first prototypes from 2012 were Catia constructed, using MX5 3D scans of the car. After good challenge, the compact headlight units, used with the Jass Performance Low Profiles, made it in. Reasons for them - while compact, they proved to deliver pretty good light output with slim matching look.

The prototype bodies, made from bend sheet metal, other than edgy looking, did the job they were meant for.

Parallel to this, design and function optimised shell was constructed as lots of additional requirements were to be considered for a finished product:

  •  Tempting design
  •  Optimal light output
  •  Perfect fit and minimal (less than OEM) tolerances
  •  Straight, fully reversible fit, without modifications

Light pattern/design simulation from this very early stage:

Early 3D prints used for real life fit, light pattern validation and design confirmation.

 

Lots of design options were prototyped and tested, with some final molds and nearly production ready plastic parts. The open headlight concept was validated at extreme temperatures and constant high speeds and track abuse for four years. But also as everyday car and they even saw some car shows during these four years, collecting valuable feedback.

(In photos from left then down: National Rally 2016, Japfest Silverstone 2016, Bromley Pageant of Motoring 2016, Japanese Automotive Extravaganza 2016, Spring Rally 2017)

As for production part additional requirements were added to the performance, functional and design ones, such as:

  • Reliable production output
  • Reasonable cost
  • Long lasting finish (scratch, UV resistant)
  • Fully (literealy) adjustable option, as nearly all of those cars, have seen accidents, leading to smaller or larger tolerance differences
  • Reuse of OEM bonnet support rod
  • Washer expansion tank relocation kit
  • Fuel charcoal canister relocation kit

As it turned out, to fully tick all boxes, change of material/shape/adjustment concept was needed in 2017, but then, the spotless plug and play fit got finaly confirmed.

Here some photos confirming the fit and look on OEM car (bumper and bonnet). The flush headlights are now considered as chassis part, thus lowest tolerance is kept to non moving parts as the fenders and larger to the moving ones, such as the bonnet.

The look and feel on heavy modified Eunos: