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MG TD TF 1500 - Fog/Driving Lights

Does anyone know the original intent of the fog and driving lights? Most cars I see with two such lights have one of each and yet they are apparently wired though only one switch (aux or fog switch on the TF) and of course this means they illuminate at the same time. Does this make sense having both a fog lamp on and a driving light? It seems to me that the last thing one would want in the fog is a bright driving light. I don't really use the lights with the exception of the driving light as I find it is helpful to blink to cars coming towards me with their super-bright high beams on but I am curious if anyone knows the thinking behind the lights. It seems that one could either install fog lights or driving lights but why both with only the aux switch available to them?
Personally, I think this was done solely to drive Americans nuts as a way of getting even with us for a couple of little wars we had around 1800.

LD Kanaster

The fog we experience and what was common in England when our T's were new is not the same thing.
There is an old story of a MG driver following the tail lights of a car ahead of him in a London fog. The car ahead suddenly stopped and the MG ran into the back of it. The MG driver got out and said, "I say old chap, not very sporting of you to stop so sharply."
The other driver replied "Well what did you want me to do, drive through the back wall of my garage?"
I had lost of discussion on the list over which side to mount the fog light. Search the archives for: "Fog light - what side".

Godspeed in Safety Fast

John Crawley


I've been driving now in the UK for 43 years and the ideas behind driving lights has changed throughout that time:

1. My father told me that, in his time (late 30s to 1970s), the LH foglight was designed to put a narrow 'pencil' beam onto the pavement/verge, just ahead of the car. The RH one could do the same - just a little further ahead, or could be of the broader beam variety to give better illumination of the more general area just ahead of you, and alert you just before you hit the pedestrian/dog/policeman which was in your way.

They were, incidentally, a much more gentile forerunner of the bullbars (US: 'cowcatchers'), which were later fitted to the 'loadsamoney' chav's SUVs of the 1990s.

2. By the time I got my first car, in 1970, (a souped-up Hillman Imp), their purpose had changed. As boy racers, you would cram many of them as you could get onto a shiny badge bar, above your front bumper (US: 'fender'): 4 was good, 5 well cool, 6 awesome, with another 2 or 3 on the roof. They all wobbled, so the dancing lights made you feel seasick on a dark road - what they did to oncoming drivers, we neither know nor cared.

Lucas Industries pandered to this trend and brought out numerous types, all lovely and chromed, with a bewildering variety of lenses.

We vied with each other to get the biggest and newest fitted to our beat-up bangers and to hell with what it did to the generators or wiring. The go-faster stripes, vinyl roofs, heated rear windows (made, it seems now, out of sticky kitchen foil which obscured at least 50% of the window it was supposed to demist) and electric DIY aftermarket windscreen washers were all an essential part of young motoring at this time.

3. By the 90s it had all calmed down. 'Drivers lights' as they were now called, were de rigueur on most cars but the law had caught up with their use, and plod wasn't far behind. I remember being severely ticked-off by a motorbike coppper for accidentally (honest, gov!) having my driving lights lit, in London, on a night with no fog. He flagged me down, poked his head in through my window and gave me a real ear-bashing. My RADA-grade contrition must have made him feel much better because he left with a mere: "And don't let me catch you doing that again", without noticing that I wasn't wearing a seat belt - which was then, and still is, a hanging offence.

4. Finally, to pick up on the English fog jokes: My favourite is the headline which is said to have appeared in "The Times" in the 1920s and ran: "Fog in the Channel - Continent cut-off", sums everything up nicely, I think.

By the way, my favourite way of winding-up Americans I meet (but only if they impolitely start on about the Declaration of Independence and the temporary family disgreement that followed) is to point out that the Founding Fathers were Englishmen.

A clicher, if one is needed, is to then ask them to take my flag off the reverse of their 2 dollar bill (although, on taking a quick look at it again a minute ago, it appears that it has been conveniently airbrushed out .......)

Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232

Apologies - my post a moment ago should have been addressed to Larry AND John.
Tom Bennett - 53TD 24232

I love the British vs. American jokes. My favorite was the time I was having a beer with another pilot from my fighter squadron. He was complaining about the "funny" accents of the Brits. I thought this was quite funny (though he didn't understand) as we were in a pub just off Hyde Park.

LD Kanaster

This thread was discussed on 07/04/2013

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