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Escort MK2 rear lenses

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We all know the holy grail of rear lights for MK2 are the originals but there are two lenses available iam confused as to what are the better ones to purchase as original ones are expensive and hard to find in good condition there are The restorer quality and the other is Butler could anyone shine a light excuse the pun on what is the better of these two. 

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Butlers were the branding of the original Ford lights, later Ford switched to Altissimo. There have been some worthwhile copies over the years but the market was flooded by Chinese ones that directly copied the Bulters markings. The Right hand versions of these lights had a flaw in the moulding and couldn't seal as they were bent like bananas. If you tried to tighten them up and they would simply snap into two. I can tell a fake Chinese Butlers in person from the weak red section but online from pictures I am unable too. So I have avoided Bulters ones unless they come in a Ford Box, which is sad really given that in comparing Original Ford rear lenses the English made Butlers are better quality than the Italian Altissimo. So beware, many sellers claim the fake Butlers as original.

I have seen those simply referred too as "Restorer Quality" but I don't know who makes their or seen them in person to pass judgement.

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Have to agree with RP above - My mk2 came with repro lenses - only found out how bad they were when I took them off to replace a bulb - moulded in clear acrylic and colour sprayed with no actual reflector! As mine is a later car I wanted Altisimo lenses but some Bulters came up at the right price including damaged bodies so i'm using those now and sold the bodies for spares - The fit is sooooo much better, but they all tend to snap the screw bosses off if over-tightened on tired foam seals - be gentle!

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3 hours ago, katana said:

Have to agree with RP above - My mk2 came with repro lenses - only found out how bad they were when I took them off to replace a bulb - moulded in clear acrylic and colour sprayed with no actual reflector! As mine is a later car I wanted Altisimo lenses but some Bulters came up at the right price including damaged bodies so i'm using those now and sold the bodies for spares - The fit is sooooo much better, but they all tend to snap the screw bosses off if over-tightened on tired foam seals - be gentle!

Katana makes a very good point to help spot the worst of the reproductions in photo images. They have no reflector so there is no extra plastic glued on the inside where the reflector should be. Some Chinese ones added this later but it helps to weed out the very worse of the Chinese ones that dont have this.

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I bought the Chinese ones. They were bent and you could here the cracking as I tightened.

 I got a bit of heat into the acrylic with a heat gun and gently tightened them and so far ok.

You can still find original ford oem in auto jumbles but they want a kidney and one lung.

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1 hour ago, preacherman said:

I bought the Chinese ones. They were bent and you could here the cracking as I tightened.

 I got a bit of heat into the acrylic with a heat gun and gently tightened them and so far ok.

You can still find original ford oem in auto jumbles but they want a kidney and one lung.

Oh boy I know that cracking sound! It doesn't help that the Chinese ones have really thin seals. On the originals they are really chunky so you can go a bit easier on the screws.

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23 hours ago, Rally Pack 2000 said:

Butlers were the branding of the original Ford lights, later Ford switched to Altissimo.

This wasn't the case with UK Escorts,  Butlers were fitted to Escorts built at the Halewood (UK) plant and Altissimo were fitted to Escorts built at the Saarlouis plant (Germany) right through production.  The Butlers lens has a darker orange for the indicator where as the Altissimo one has a lighter more yellowish orange, if a car has been fitted with one of each it really stands out.

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I know the feeling, I have a British made on the left and a German made on the right, tried to source a pair but soon I gave up.

If you think mk2 lenses are expensive, try to buy mk1 ones.... I can't understand this prices for a mass production simple plastic item (not talking about NOS ones)

I really hope 3d print will shake the market and bring lower prices in the future.

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1 hour ago, Quico said:

I know the feeling, I have a British made on the left and a German made on the right, tried to source a pair but soon I gave up.

If you think mk2 lenses are expensive, try to buy mk1 ones.... I can't understand this prices for a mass production simple plastic item (not talking about NOS ones)

I really hope 3d print will shake the market and bring lower prices in the future.

Not sure what quality these are, just remember seeing them pop up recently. 

They also had a batch of various lenses in last week. 

Not purchased from them in the past, so can't say good, bad or indifferent. However, their finished cars do look good. 

 

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12 hours ago, In The Pit said:

This wasn't the case with UK Escorts,  Butlers were fitted to Escorts built at the Halewood (UK) plant and Altissimo were fitted to Escorts built at the Saarlouis plant (Germany) right through production.  The Butlers lens has a darker orange for the indicator where as the Altissimo one has a lighter more yellowish orange, if a car has been fitted with one of each it really stands out.

All Mk2s made here were also all equipped with Butlers rear lights during production. The switch I was referring too may be misleading as it took place after the Mk2 manufacturing years in Fords original parts supply. Both UK and subsequently the parts trickle down to Australia, changed to Altissimo rear lenses for spare parts. Butlers ceased production of them around the same time as Mk2 production ended and it took a couple of years for those stocks to be used up but from that point on all original Ford rear lenses were sourced from Altissimo. By the mid 80s you would only find Bulters ones as new old stock in limited numbers dotted about where the majority of the over the counter parts from most Ford Dealerships you would be supplied Altissimo ones. My first experience that Ford had even switched to Altissimo sourced units was in a batch of parts I ordered from a RS Dealer in the UK in the 80s (along with some original Ford Single leaf springs!). I opened the Ford Box expecting to see nice new Bulter unit and it wasn't. I checked with my local dealer with intent to get a matching Butlers unit even though locally they were twice the price and, as you say, the amber was different and to my disappointment they were also Altissimo. Even now when you see a new boxed unit for sale they are almost always the later Altimisso ones.

So too a number of early Mk2 Mexicos and Mk2 RS2000s that I have seen all had Butlers rear lights even though they were assembled in Saarlouis so certainly some models were so equipped. Possibly they were shipped without tail lights and added later or maybe just an RS thing but it suggests that rear light use may be a bit more fluid than one factory one type.

 

2 hours ago, Quico said:

I know the feeling, I have a British made on the left and a German made on the right, tried to source a pair but soon I gave up.

If you think mk2 lenses are expensive, try to buy mk1 ones.... I can't understand this prices for a mass production simple plastic item (not talking about NOS ones)

I really hope 3d print will shake the market and bring lower prices in the future.

The Altissimo ones are actually made in Italy. They are quality units in their own right but when I ordered a replacement from the UK I still had one Butlers on the car in as new condition so wanted another as a matching pair. So I had the same issue as you, because of the different amber colour I subsequently had to buy another Altissimo unit. The Butlers ones seem to be injected all in one piece but the Altimisso ones seem constructed from a couple of pieces joined together. That's just speculation on my part though when comparing them and why I feel the British made Bulters are of slightly better quality.

I feel your pain. Mk1 rears are even more confusing here. We had locally produced Hella ones as well as well the European sourced ones. The prices for originals even though they are flat bits of plastic ....... choke!

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2 hours ago, dt36 said:

Not sure what quality these are, just remember seeing them pop up recently. 

They also had a batch of various lenses in last week. 

Not purchased from them in the past, so can't say good, bad or indifferent. However, their finished cars do look good. 

 

I think they are the "restorer'' ones that have been seen online. I would love to hear if anybody tries them out and informs us as to their quality. This thread though has probably scared everyone right off aftermarket lights, sorry about that! But original prices are even scarier!

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Thanks for all the comments etc it has helped i think i will try the restorer lenses i have just seen the Magnum light units complete with seals and bulb holders i have ordered them i have new s/s screws and ill fit the lenses and let you all know my findings good or bad,

Burton have lenses they say they are butlers but i would reckon they are the poor copies as there parts are not what they used to be anymore and a bit of a hit and and a miss!

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