Like most old-school custom techniques, headlight frenching used to be a quick and dirty job. The stock headlights were installed from behind the fender and, if they were adjusted at all, the headlights had to be removed to access the adjuster screws.
Once the '52 Mercury was introduced, customizers began using its ring and bezel to sink the headlight bulbs further into the fender, but they still didn't spend much time accounting for the adjusting process. There are a few methods for adjusting the bulbs from the front with the '52-54 Merc rings and bezels, but they require the rings to be screwed in from the front side, leaving the screw heads visible.
These days, there are plenty of ways to french headlights, including quite a few varieties of kits available to complete the job. Some of these methods, including the Hagan kit featured here in Rod & Custom a while back, provide access to the adjuster screws from the front by using a removable bezel, but the look is quite modern compared to the older methods.
Here, we have presented a very simple and effective way of adjusting frenched headlights from behind the fender. This method provides a way of frenching headlights the old-school way, without sinking them back into the fender, while still maintaining a relatively simple and functional adjusting system.
We used a stock pair of GM truck rings and buckets on a '49 Chevy pickup. Of course, there are subtle differences between different car manufacturers, but the general concept and modifications can be used on most headlights of the same style.
This job is very simple. All you need, in addition to the headlight bucket and assembly, a
The first step is to completely disassemble the headlight assembly. We removed the retaine
The adjuster screws work against the tension of (usually) one or two springs on the opposi
Once the bulb holders and adjusters are removed, the small captive adjuster nut can also b
In order to drill a hole for the new adjuster screws, center-punch the bucket on the oppos
You will be able to tell if the punch mark is properly located by making sure it lines up