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Author Topic: Where did the Rossi come from??  (Read 7485 times)
Jon
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« on: January 09, 2007, 01:01:45 am »

Not among the favorite these days, and never one of mine, but who came up with them. And when??
And thinking about ugly headlights, I have to mention "standing headlight conversion of the 911", what were they thinking?
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 01:46:09 am »

The story I heard was that Italy (maybe some other country) outlawed glass over headlights and that Rossi's were developed to retro fit existing Porsches and VWs so they could conform to the new law.

Might be rubbish but thats what I heard.
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 01:52:51 am »

makes sence
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 02:35:59 am »

Mine came from Johhny`s Speed And Chrome around 1984...
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2007, 16:14:41 pm »

So Italian friends, is Rossi an italian invention?
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2007, 05:24:05 am »

ROSSI  Headlights came out in 1982 they were made in Italy an were an accessory for 66 and older VW's they were never made for any car market Auto Haus,Johnnys,Car Custom, and others all Sold them they came out after Lucas Lights and they were using the light under the the headlight as a running light or turn signal I use to Sell them when I worked at Barrett Ent. Personally I Think They are Ugly but we used to sell a lot of them they were all plastic with a chrome ring....
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2007, 05:40:26 am »

The early Rossi`s were metal then plastic later. I don`t like them either even yhough I did buy some back in 84. Tastes change.
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2012, 17:07:15 pm »

We never got this confirmed, anyone out there than can confirm what our late good friend Gary said?
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2012, 17:37:33 pm »

ROSSI  Headlights came out in 1982 they were made in Italy an were an accessory for 66 and older VW's they were never made for any car market Auto Haus,Johnnys,Car Custom, and others all Sold them they came out after Lucas Lights and they were using the light under the the headlight as a running light or turn signal I use to Sell them when I worked at Barrett Ent. Personally I Think They are Ugly but we used to sell a lot of them they were all plastic with a chrome ring....

I know that Shubee is not here to defend his comments but I remember Auto Haus selling these back in the early 1970's.  As I recall they were plastic housings.
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 19:40:33 pm »

i have a set in the garage, don't no why exactly so don't ask... Roll Eyes

the rossi's i have are metal...the later versions are plastic

the way they did make them i can't confirm however
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 20:24:25 pm »

Don't know the origin of them but you see them on stock bugs & busses in Brazil everywhere, probably because they are a cheap replacement though..
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 20:54:42 pm »

The story I heard was that Italy (maybe some other country) outlawed glass over headlights and that Rossi's were developed to retro fit existing Porsches and VWs so they could conform to the new law.

Might be rubbish but thats what I heard.

Further thoughts on "outlawed glass over the headlights".  This may have been the case out of the USA but our government has not made issues like this retroactive to my knowledge.  

In 1967 glass covered headlights were not allowed for USA vehicles.  This is why VW changed theirs.  Also, it was the end of the most beautiful sports car ever built IMO, the original XKE Jaguar with those fantastic glass covered headlights.  Here is a quote, On its release Enzo Ferrari called it "The most beautiful car ever made".
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2012, 07:28:32 am »

I have nothing to do but I do have every Hot VWs in binders back to when it was Dune Buggies: the Fun Car Journal (mid '60s). I can't tell you how many times I've pored through those magazines. This much I know: I've never ever seen a pair of Rossi headlights on a feature car until the early/mid '80s.

But memory is unreliable so I dug into them again. The very earliest mention I've seen of Rossi headlights is in the May 1982 issue when Johnny's Peel & Fade bought a second ad spread. The headlights were $79.95 which in today's money is $189.81. They were esspensive!

I'm not saying these headlights didn't exist prior to 1982; however, it's EXTREMELY unlikely that they did--at least in the States. These outfits did everything to outfox each other and I haven't seen another vendor with Rossi lights until I think late '83 (Small Car Specialties). From that point on pretty much everybody sold 'em--places you've never heard of like Papa Pete's. And by January '84 everybody had undercut each other to the point that the lights cost $49. So until someone finds definitive proof that they existed prior to 1982, I think it's safe to say that they came out in 1982.

Also, those Rossi headlights were in fact metal. They rust like crazy. They did, however, have a plastic bulb retainer and turn-signal body--I know that because they disintegrated in the Las Vegas heat. The plastic copies came out in the '90s. The quality was absolutely horrific. I remember stocking those at Kymco but I don't ever remember anyone selling them. 

As for legality, the split was 1968 (the '67 bus proves they were in fact legal in '67). The government issued a bunch of lighting-safety laws for '68, something that explains the side-marker lights on '68 cars.  

Here's the ad from like the July '82 Johnny's Crack & Split ad.

[ Attachment: You are not allowed to view attachments ]

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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 07:41:01 am »

I have nothing to do but I do have every Hot VWs in binders back to when it was Dune Buggies: the Fun Car Journal (mid '60s). I can't tell you how many times I've pored through those magazines. This much I know: I've never ever seen a pair of Rossi headlights on a feature car until the early/mid '80s.

But memory is unreliable so I dug into them again. The very earliest mention I've seen of Rossi headlights is in the May 1982 issue when Johnny's Peel & Fade bought a second ad spread. The headlights were $79.95 which in today's money is $189.81. They were esspensive!

I'm not saying these headlights didn't exist prior to 1982; however, it's EXTREMELY unlikely that they did--at least in the States. These outfits did everything to outfox each other and I haven't seen another vendor with Rossi lights until I think late '83 (Small Car Specialties). From that point on pretty much everybody sold 'em--places you've never heard of like Papa Pete's. And by January '84 everybody had undercut each other to the point that the lights cost $49. So until someone finds definitive proof that they existed prior to 1982, I think it's safe to say that they came out in 1982.

Also, those Rossi headlights were in fact metal. They rust like crazy. They did, however, have a plastic bulb retainer and turn-signal body--I know that because they disintegrated in the Las Vegas heat. The plastic copies came out in the '90s. The quality was absolutely horrific. I remember stocking those at Kymco but I don't ever remember anyone selling them.  

As for legality, the split was 1968 (the '67 bus proves they were in fact legal in '67). The government issued a bunch of lighting-safety laws for '68, something that explains the side-marker lights on '68 cars.  

Here's the ad from like the July '82 Johnny's Crack & Split ad.

[ Attachment: You are not allowed to view attachments ]



If the law changed in '68 then why do the '67 T1 and the '67 E-Type not have glass-over headlights. The US '67 has a one year only fender. I can't imagine that VW would change the design only in the US for one year unless they were required to. Could the '67 T2 be considered a commercial vehicle and therefore have different requirements?

I'm not trying to start an argument... just looking for facts.
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2012, 17:15:29 pm »

Quote
If the law changed in '68 then why do the '67 T1 and the '67 E-Type not have glass-over headlights.


That's a good question. This is going to get tedious.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 108 governs headlights. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration,

"In 1968, in response to Congressional initiatives, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, 'Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment,' (FMVSS No. 108) set, on a national basis, the minimum and maximum luminous intensities for headlamps, headlamp mounting heights, and standardization of headlamps."

(read the whole text here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings/glare.html)

Among those standardizations set forth was S6.2.3.1:

"When activated in the steady burning state, headlamps (excluding headlamps mounted on motorcycles) must not have any styling ornament or other feature, such as a translucent cover or grill, in front of the lens"

(read that whole text here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title49-vol6/pdf/CFR-2011-title49-vol6-sec571-108.pdf
)

Bear in mind that these laws didn't go into effect until January 1, 1968 meaning 1968 cars produced until December 31, 1967 could have legally had enclosed headlights. To my knowledge, though, there were no such cars produced. That's just a technicality.

As for the XKE, well that gets REAL tedious. According to the Jaguar Club of North America's concours guide for Series 1.5 cars,

"In January 1967 Jaguar first produced the Series 1 E-types with open headlights."

(read that in full at http://www.jcna.com/library/concours/2006/e-type1.5.pdf)

That means ALL XKE models that Jaguar produced from September 1966 until December 31, 1966 came with covered headlights. So US-spec covered-headlight '67 XKEs do in fact exist.

Quote
The US '67 has a one year only fender. I can't imagine that VW would change the design only in the US for one year unless they were required to.

Well technically the US-spec '67 fender isn't a one-year-only fender. It likely took at least five stamping processes to produce that fender, the last of which cut the grille. So that one-year fender turns into a '68-to-'92 fender by changing that last stamping process from cutting the grille hole to cutting the bumper hole (well, that and cutting the turn-signal hole larger).

Quote
Could the '67 T2 be considered a commercial vehicle and therefore have different requirements?

Actually...no. This is where it gets weird (and even more tedious). It has to do with chickens of all things.

To protect its domestic poultry market Germany imposed a heavy tariff on imported chicken meat in like 1962 which basically killed the US export market to Germany. Well Lyndon Johnson retaliated in '63 by imposing a tariff on goods imported from Europe in the approximate amount of the revenue lost to Germany's poultry tariff. It became familiarly known as the Chicken Tax.

Well about that time the United Auto Workers union was talking about striking. With the knowledge that a strike could hurt the Kennedy/Johnson reelection in '64, Johnson asked the UAW president to hold off. In return for the UAW's compliance, its president asked Johnson to include imported commercial vehicles in the tariff. That was aimed directly at the Volkswagen transporter. From that point the ones that had passenger interiors qualified as passenger cars. Single-, crewcab, and panel buses, on the other hand, were considered commercial vehicles. So going by that there really was no commercial-vehicle distinction.

Kooky (even kookier) side note: the Chicken Tax is still in full effect. You've certainly seen those newer Ford Transit vans. Well they're commercial vehicles built in Europe so they're subject to the Chicken Tax. To get around that tax Ford imports them with windows and seats...and promptly rips them out once they touch the dirt in the US. Though a newer version, that's an age-old ploy that even Volkswagen used. The true Kombis were built along the same way. They have windows and seats but no interior panels in the cargo area. They're basically cargo vans with a few things to get them by the tax. I mean who would order a passenger bus without interior panels in the back?

(read more about Ford's exploits with the Chicken Tax at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125357990638429655.html)

Quote
I'm not trying to start an argument... just looking for facts.


Boy, now I bet you're wondering if it was a good idea to even ask!
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2012, 17:26:08 pm »

To stir the pot further I'll offer this.  Some say these lights were not available until 1981 or 82.  My remembrance is much earlier and I stated back in the early '70's.  I posed the question to Ed Craig as we were both there back in the '70's to see what he remembered. 

My final day at Auto Haus was March 31, 1981 so I couldn't have sold them in the time frame that some suggest.  Below is Ed's rely to me regarding the question.


Ed,
 
 Don't know if you've been following the Rossi discussion on the Forum but I remember selling these at AH back in the '70's.  My last day at AH was March 31, 1981 and we had them long before that as per my memory.
 
 What do you remember?

Hi John,

Yep.  We called them "tremendos" as a similar word in Spanish was on the box.  I don't remember the actual year we stated selling them but around mid 70's.
' 74-75 maybe?
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2012, 17:37:49 pm »

Quote
Some say these lights were not available until 1981 or 82.  My remembrance is much earlier and I stated back in the early '70's.

I'm fully open to the idea that they were around prior to '82. I'm just trying to stick to a somewhat objective standard like dated literature. As I wrote earlier, though, I haven't seen any headlight that looks anything like a Rossi in a magazine. That doesn't mean they didn't exist; it simply means that they weren't in an ad or installed on a car that ended up in a magazine.
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« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2012, 17:52:10 pm »

Quote
Some say these lights were not available until 1981 or 82.  My remembrance is much earlier and I stated back in the early '70's.

I'm fully open to the idea that they were around prior to '82. I'm just trying to stick to a somewhat objective standard like dated literature. As I wrote earlier, though, I haven't seen any headlight that looks anything like a Rossi in a magazine. That doesn't mean they didn't exist; it simply means that they weren't in an ad or installed on a car that ended up in a magazine.


When time permits I'll check through a couple of Auto Haus vintage catalogs I have.  I seem to remember something within those pages.  Should I find it I'll provide a copy for all to see.

My thought is that Shubee's post with the 198?? date may be based on what he found in his files (catalogs).  Gary arrived at Auto Haus as an employee shortly prior to my departure.  To bad we can't bring him into the discussion and this is why "things" need to be DOCUMENTED, otherwise the history is lost forever.
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2012, 18:33:34 pm »

When time permits I'll check through a couple of Auto Haus vintage catalogs I have.  I seem to remember something within those pages.  Should I find it I'll provide a copy for all to see.

My thought is that Shubee's post with the 198?? date may be based on what he found in his files (catalogs).  Gary arrived at Auto Haus as an employee shortly prior to my departure.  To bad we can't bring him into the discussion and this is why "things" need to be DOCUMENTED, otherwise the history is lost forever.

That would be awesome, John. My love for knowledge surpasses my disdain for those headlights. I'll likely never want a pair but I do want to know their story.

As an aside, I've always thought Rossis looked like the headlights from the '68(ish) to '86 911. I always hated those because they were a US governmental imposition and I hate when the government tells me what to do. That was a really bad imposition from a technology perspective, too, because US-spec bulbs suck compared to H4s. So to me the Rossi headlight is a copy of a bad idea and the only people who'd want them are the ones who don't understand the technology or history. That, and they were the definition of trendy.   
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« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2012, 19:46:59 pm »

A friend here in my town has a set new in box!! The box states brazil and the year 1970... But the box is worn and this is not easy to read so we need to investigate it a bit more.
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« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2012, 20:01:45 pm »

A friend here in my town has a set new in box!! The box states brazil and the year 1970... But the box is worn and this is not easy to read so we need to investigate it a bit more.

That certainly supports the time frame that Ed Craig and I remember...
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« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2012, 20:05:16 pm »

A friend here in my town has a set new in box!! The box states brazil and the year 1970... But the box is worn and this is not easy to read so we need to investigate it a bit more.

That certainly supports the time frame that Ed Craig and I remember...

It also supports what Kev D noted.
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« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2012, 20:30:30 pm »

Okay, I can't leave well enough alone. I dug around some more and discovered that Rossi is an electrical manufacturer, specifically it makes headlights. It's sort of like Silvania in Brazil.

I also looked around at Brazil's version of eBay and found a listing for a pair of Tremendao headlights.

http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-246018388-farol-tremendao-original-rossi-_JM
http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-431072349-farol-tremendo-aro-de-metal-com-farois-e-vigia-rossi-fusca-_JM

What this means I don't know but I learned today that Rossi lights are Brazilian and not Italian as I'd always assumed. So I guess I'm ahead by that much.

Here's the really interesting one, though: a Rossi without the turn signal.
http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-432583774-farol-fusca-fafa-olho-de-boi-tremendo-ate-72-novo-rossi-_JM

And dig THESE. The turn signals are smaller and more stylish.
http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-432531414-aro-farol-rossi-tremendo-fusca-kombi-mercedes-_JM

Here's a garden-variety Rossi bulb housing. Nothing special but interesting.

[ Attachment: You are not allowed to view attachments ]
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« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2012, 23:58:27 pm »

I remember having them at Auto Haus during my time there as well, and that would have been late 74 - 77 era. Always thought they were ugly and can't remember selling many.
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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2012, 02:01:33 am »

The good and bad of the internet: we now know more about Rossi headlights than anybody ever did. Or needed to. And I feel a little betrayed ... they mystery is gone!
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« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2012, 02:28:57 am »

As promised I've gone page by page through two different Auto Haus catalogs (virgin) that I've kept for 40 years.  I could locate no info on the Rossi lights BUT have come across a treasure trove of early info and pricing.  One of these catalogs has dated pages as early as March 1972 up through May of 1972 AND they have pricing.  Rather than try to post each page (I know this has been done in the past) I thought I'd make a file of items of interest and post that.  Some of the items you will find amazingly inexpensive in today's dollars.

To show how early some of these Auto Haus were I found a page on Deano Manifolds which were actually the same as the RaceTrim brand.  My thinking is the RaceTrim brand came at a later date.  More to follow on that topic as time permits.
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« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2012, 05:13:00 am »


Quote
The US '67 has a one year only fender. I can't imagine that VW would change the design only in the US for one year unless they were required to.

Well technically the US-spec '67 fender isn't a one-year-only fender. It likely took at least five stamping processes to produce that fender, the last of which cut the grille. So that one-year fender turns into a '68-to-'92 fender by changing that last stamping process from cutting the grille hole to cutting the bumper hole (well, that and cutting the turn-signal hole larger).


Boy, now I bet you're wondering if it was a good idea to even ask!


If I remember correctly and I'm sure someone here for sure will know, I believe that the headlight bucket on an original US Code '67 fender is set lower than a '68 on fender. The repops that VW made later on however, were made as you stated i.e. a '68 fender without a bumper hole and add a horn grille hole. The don't have the horn grill in the right spot though.

I enjoyed reading your answer. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
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« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2012, 05:16:55 am »

Interesting stuff
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« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2012, 08:53:45 am »


Quote
The US '67 has a one year only fender. I can't imagine that VW would change the design only in the US for one year unless they were required to.

Well technically the US-spec '67 fender isn't a one-year-only fender. It likely took at least five stamping processes to produce that fender, the last of which cut the grille. So that one-year fender turns into a '68-to-'92 fender by changing that last stamping process from cutting the grille hole to cutting the bumper hole (well, that and cutting the turn-signal hole larger).


Boy, now I bet you're wondering if it was a good idea to even ask!


If I remember correctly and I'm sure someone here for sure will know, I believe that the headlight bucket on an original US Code '67 fender is set lower than a '68 on fender. The repops that VW made later on however, were made as you stated i.e. a '68 fender without a bumper hole and add a horn grille hole. The don't have the horn grill in the right spot though.

I enjoyed reading your answer. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

You are right Rick, that has been debated on here in a similar fashion to the Rossi investigation
They changed the stamping to following years... I bet the planning folks got a scratch in the paint there...
GREAT info and thread!
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« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2012, 09:21:04 am »

Quote
I could locate no info on the Rossi lights BUT have come across a treasure trove of early info and pricing.  One of these catalogs has dated pages as early as March 1972 up through May of 1972 AND they have pricing.
 

That's super bitchin'. Those are awesome references.

Quote
Some of the items you will find amazingly inexpensive in today's dollars.

That's quite the opposite of what I find. I broke out my '72 issues for a look-see. A Speed Unlimited 74mm plain-bearing crank cost $169 in '72; that's $926 in today's money. Hell, you can get a brand-new 74mm crank for $169 nowadays. A sand-seal pulley was $34; that's $186 now. A Crown super diff was $85 which is $456 today! Crown alloy axles were $99--$542 today. Crown charged $22 to rebuild Bilsteins--that's $120 today. Bilstein just quoted me $60 to go through my old ones--exactly half of what it cost 40 years ago. Gene Berg charged $169 for a counterweighted 69mm crank--that's $1,086 today. Sit down before you read this one: he charged $375 for a welded stroker. That's $2,055 in today's dough!  

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To show how early some of these Auto Haus were I found a page on Deano Manifolds which were actually the same as the RaceTrim brand.  My thinking is the RaceTrim brand came at a later date.
 

Yeah, methinks there was quite a bit of plagiarism going on. The Bugpack is also a dead-nuts copy of the Deano/Race Trim. The Bugpack linkage isn't a copy of Deano's, though; it's BETTER! You can tell that Bugpack used Deano's linkage base for a mold master, tho.

I'd like to see some of those old entries. I love discovering things that we take as 'modern' are really quite old. For example, Tom Lieb has an ad for flanged Scat cranks in the September/October '73 issue. I would've sworn those came later. History is neat.
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Chris Shelton. Professional liar.
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