Modern LED Lighting for Classic Cars

Building a custom or classic car often includes a mix of time-tested performance and appearance improvements, matched with the latest technology has to offer. An advancement we were excited to see was the introduction of LED (light emitting diode) lighting for cars and trucks. LEDs are nothing new, but the application in automotive use is a natural. Their rugged design enables them to withstand shocks that could easily burn out a traditional bulb. There is little doubt that if you’ve spent any time at all parked in rush hour traffic you have seen your share of LED lights on everything from semi trailers to new Cadillacs, and everything in between.

While known for their durability, their brightness level cannot be ignored. The increased visibility and near instant response that LED technology provides means safety is greatly increased.

Dakota Digital’s LED taillight module kit comes with everything you’ll need to get the job done. The LEDs are mounted to circuit boards specifically engineered to fit our application and the placement of the LEDs is designed to optimize the optic quality of the original taillight lenses. The circuit boards are encased in a resin coating to protect them from the effects of moisture, ensuring years of trouble free operation.

Adapting this new technology to vintage street machines also seemed to be a natural progression. The overall size of the taillight on early cars pales in comparison to their late-model counterparts, and much like the center mounted third brake light, other drivers become accustomed to the large glow to warn them of stopping or signaling lane changes.

The LED circuit boards mount to the taillight assemblies using the original bulb socket hole. The machined aluminum post extends the LEDs close to the lens.

Recognizing the benefits of LED lighting, Dakota Digital, a pioneer in digital instrumentation, expanded their line of products to include complete LED lighting systems to upgrade classic cars. They have designed each system to take advantage of the optics of the stock taillight lens for maximum brightness and performance. Their complete line of taillight conversions offers more than 70 direct fit applications, covering cars and trucks from 1940 through 1990.

Taillight lenses and housings are not included in the kit. Dakota Digital suggests you inspect them carefully and replace any parts that can not be cleaned or repaired.

Manufactured right here in the U.S.A., Dakota Digital’s Sioux Falls, SD, manufacturing facility prides themselves on the high quality of their products and backs up their lights with a limited lifetime warranty. We were anxious to test their claims of effortless installation utilizing the original wiring harness, taillight lens, and assembly.

Included in our kit were these moisture resistant wire connectors. They made short work of splicing into the original wiring harness to connect the lights.

The complete conversion process on our project ’68 Chevelle was straightforward and took less than an hour to complete, but the payoff came big the first time we pressed the brake pedal and lit up the area in a veil of red. “Wow, that’s bright!” could be heard from across the shop the moment we tested our new lights. The added safety makes it worthwhile and never changing a bulb again… well, that’s just a bonus.

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70 Responses to “Modern LED Lighting for Classic Cars”

  1. Led Lights

    This article is relevant to readers as it discusses the benefits of using modern LED lighting in classic cars for improved visibility and safety.

  2. Scott Dinga

    I am looking for roof/clearance lights for a 1954 dodge truck. Ideally the whole assembly not just the bulb

  3. bill Brooks

    Hi I have a 1949 Chevroley I have a 1949 Chevrolet fleetline . I have a 1949 Chevrolet fleetline. I would like to run led head lights and tail lights. Do you know where I could find proper conversions? Thanks

  4. John Varah

    Hi guys. I’ve a 1960 S2 Bentley with poor rear lights. What would I need to improve their brightness and how much would it cost. Regards John

  5. Mike Brennan


  6. Slade MacTaggart

    I’m in need of a new tail light solution for my 1967 Buick Riviera. The current old wiring harness won’t stay grounded and the tail lights stop working. Does Dakota Digital have a kit for my car?

  7. yaphet routh

    light for a 1967 old cutlass price

  8. Ritchie Gee

    I have a 1957 Lincoln Premier I would like to run an amber light combined with my back up light inside the same Lens cover for my indicator but still keep the white light in the middle for back up


    Hi, looking to convert the rear lights on my '85 Ford Crown Vic Wagon to Led. can you help? Thanks, Mark.

  10. Giroux Martin

    Is or possible to fit led’s headlight and all light for my Dodge 1939 6 volts system