AD #1733 – FCA Taps Brakes on Alfa, Self-Riding Motorcycle Robot, Headlight Cleaning Tips

October 29th, 2015 at 11:38am

Runtime: 7:09

- Cheating Hurts VW’s Bottom Line
- FCA Taps the Brakes on Alfa Romeo
- Yamaha Shows Concept Car
- Autonomous Motorcycle Riding Robot
- SLP Develops Supercharger for LS7
- Headlight Lens Restoration Tips

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40 Comments to “AD #1733 – FCA Taps Brakes on Alfa, Self-Riding Motorcycle Robot, Headlight Cleaning Tips”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    On Yamaha’s concept vehicle; I too saw some Alpha styling in the design, and likely some Lotus as well.

    Nice segment on headlight restoration, thanks.

  2. Ron Paris Says:

    Sean: Just watched your headlight restoration video and one thing seems to be missing. What are you doing for long-term UV protection? There are several products out there including BlueMagic Headlight Lens Sealer (which I use) for this purpose. Is there a UV protectant in the 3M polish you used last?

  3. Drew Says:

    Sean, it looks like you have a collection of Fall leaves on your cowl top of your XF near the hood hinges. This location is also typically where the drain holes are located. So, everyone needs to keep this area clean. If the drain holes become plugged, water can collect along the cowl top, then drain into the air intake for the climate control and leak through to the floor. If lucky, it won’t short-out expensive in-dash electronics along the way.

  4. Wim van Acker Says:

    Hello Autoline Team: I do not understand your VW Group 2015 Q3 profit figures. Operating result (or profit, as you called it) of minus EUR 3.4 billion and a Net financial result of minus EUR 1.6 billion. So with the EUR 6.7 billion provision for “Dieselgate” the net result is according to you higher than the operational result. I would expect the net result to be much lower than the operating result since the provision for Dieselgate is not an operating expense and has therefore no effect on the operating profit.

    Could you please shed some light on this, since I do not claim to be the finance expert?

  5. Sean McElroy Says:

    #2 – Yes there is a protectant in the final polish. I’m personally not a fan of the “paint on” sealers.

  6. Sean McElroy Says:

    #3 – Yes I’m usually very good about this, but the leaves are falling off the trees around my house at a rapid rate right now. Did not take the time to clean it before the video. But a very good tip for others.

  7. HtG Says:


    I think Yamaha was the contract engine manufacturer for the Lexus LFA. But that interior on the concept is all Pagani Huayra, the side mirrors too.

    You’re a mind reader, Sean. My headlights are turning yellow, but I’ve held off buffing them because I thought I’d be removing any coatings originally applied. So I’m letting the things slowly cloud up rather than making them shiny for a day.
    electric supercharger?

    Hey, you mean someone was able to develop an energy technology without wasting billions in Formula 1?

    Off Topic 1. Here’s a link to a piece on how RedBull got itself into a bit of strudel with Mercedes, engine wise. That carco marketing interests are messing up F1 shocks me,…very deeply.

  8. Rob Says:

    So Yamaha is just building bigger toys for bigger boys.. You can already buy a number of RC motorcycles w/rider.. Granted that’s RC and not autonomous, but seems like the expansion of autonomy tech into just another platform.
    Most cyclists enjoy the riding experience and I doubt if any will be interested in auto braking or any other safety feature derived from this exercise.

  9. HtG Says:


    A paper in Environmental Research Letters argues 59 premature deaths were caused by vw’s emissions.

    At the end of piece there’s a link to news that the EU has given car makers more time before they become subject to real world testing.

  10. HtG Says:

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    On the plastic lenses, I use a polishing compound once a month and it only takes a couple of minutes, it does get cloudy again, but then I repeat it and it clears up.

  12. Mike N Says:

    “adjusting its plans for reviving Alfa-Romeo”…

    In other words, the current FCA regieme will fail miserably in its efforts to make Alfa a player in the US market. Again.

  13. JWH Says:

    Ref Headlight lens restoration – From a previous life, I’m very aware of time & effort that goes into developing the OEM UV coatings. Some manufacturers are better than others. I’ve had to polish daughter’s 1999 vehicle about 3 or 4 times & find that the polishing fades in about 6 months. Will be interested to know if newer polishing kits have a better sealant or someone has favorable experience with a particular kit.

  14. Brett Says:

    Happich Simichrome Polish applied manually with a soft cotton cloth is what I use on my headlights.

    303 Aerospace Protectant after for UV protection. Originally recommended to my by the mfg of the soft tonneau cover I had on the bed of my Ranger back in 2002. Great stuff.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Those glass sealed beams, and better yet, the ’70′s glass H4 headlamps were great. They didn’t need to be polished every few months.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    I just wonder if these new plastic lens covers are gonna stay in vogue forever? I wonder is the move was to save money or weight, I can think of other ways to lose weight.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    303 protectant makes a great product.Throw all the armoral away….

  18. HtG Says:

    I bet UV coatings just improve. The plastic is so, well, plastic. Designers can do so much with it. But I do wonder why tail lights don’t cloud up.

  19. Wim van Acker Says:

    2,5,11,13,14: I have to polish my son’s 2005 car’s headlights since he is too busy to do that :-) . Could anyone explain to me what the uv protection is for? To protect the reflector?

  20. HtG Says:

    uv yellows the clear plastic of the lens, I believe. Even for the vinyl rear window in my Miata I used a marine uv protection spray to keep the window clear.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 I suspect it is a lot cheaper to form polycarbonate into “styled” headlights, than it would be with glass. The plastic would save some weight, but not a huge amount.

  22. Drew Says:

    My 81-year old uncle’s headlamps on his1993 Grand Marquis yellowed/hazed and I cleaned it for him. His 1995 Grand Marquis is as clear as can be for its entire 20.5 years. The lense material makes a world of difference – polycarbonate (polycraponite?) vs. acrylic.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 The uv protection is for the polycarbonate (trade name Lexan) plastic. Other kinds of plastic, like acrylic (trade name Plexiglas) are less affected by uv, but are not nearly as strong, mechanically.

  24. JWH Says:

    19 & 20 – HTG is correct that UV rays will cause degradation of the PolyCarbonate headlamp lens if it is not protected. PC is used for forward lighting since it has fairly good impact (stone) resistance. Most signal lighting lens are UV resistant acrylic which does not need coating.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 Was the ’95 parked inside when not driven, but the ’93 parked outside a lot? I thought all plastic headlights were polycarbonite, because of its strength, but I could be wrong.

  26. Drew Says:

    Kit, just the opposite. The ’93 spent its life in the garage, but was polycarbonate. The ’95 spent its life in the intense sunlight of Grand Junction, CO’s semi-desert environment. Either the UV protective coating improved or the manufacturer switched to a better material.

  27. Wim van Acker Says:

    23, 24: thanks

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 Interesting. Assuming both cars have polycarbonate lenses, we need to find out what the good EV coating is.

  29. MJB Says:

    My headlights are in desperate need of some TLC. But I’ll be going the non restoration-kit route.

    A fellow member of a forum I’m on used a method very similar to Sean’s first half (lots of wet sanding), but used three different Meguiars products for the post sanding process. I’d have done mine already, but the ‘ingredients’ will set me back over $120 – which I believe is worth it for a solution I can be confident I won’t have to keep refreshing every 2 or 3 months (like I do when I use nothing but rubbing compound followed by polish).

    Goto posts # 49 & 50 to see the before and after photos (plus his ‘secret sauce’).

  30. Drew Says:

    I suspect it was acrylic. When OEMs first switched to plastic headlamp lenses (to save weight), they chose polycarbonate due to its shatter resistance benefit v. glass or acrylic (tail lamps and side markers have less risk of stone impingement). But today’s acrylics are stronger.

  31. MJB Says:

    #29 follow-up.

    I think that guy’s final application of the Optimum Opti-Lens is the difference-maker. That stuff is resin based and forms a permanent bond with the plastic headlight lens. it essentially reproduces the original manufacturer’s coating. I’m sure that’s why it costs $70 for a 10ml syringe.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know why you guys spend so much money when the same polish you use on your paint before you wax will also do the trick on the plastic, if you like, you can add some UV protection afterwards.

  33. cwolf Says:

    I came across a roll of clear window film with a static cling. My son is on his third set for the 2008 Mazda 3. He just peels the old ones off with his fingers, then re-applies. The last I looked, there was no discoloration and the stuff is not costly.

  34. Ziggy Says:

    Was that a nuke cooling tower in the background of the VW headquarters shot? That could explain alot.

  35. T Quinn Says:

    We just did this, including the UV protective coating. Ours came out looking even better than the video. It looks very good, but we don’t have enough time on them to know if it will last as claimed.

  36. MJB Says:


    I hear you Pedro, but it really does make a difference long-term.

    Polishes (and waxes) are non-permanent solutions, because they wear off. Polishes will also yellow over time.

    I’ll admit I don’t have first-hand experience with this Opti-Lens product yet. But I do know it forms a permanent bond that can only be removed by either abrasion or by chemicals strong enough to damage the lens itself. It also contains plenty of UV blockers. It is, essentially, a factory-grade coating that should last just as long as the one that was originally on the lenses. And for that assurance, I’ve got no problem spending the extra money.

  37. Rob Says:

    Dang for $70 you can often find an aftermarket set of headlights online. Lots of options out there for LED and HD headlight swaps.
    I bought a set of lamps for my 2000 motorcoach that used Ford F-series headlights and the new ones were clear lens colored bulbs and was under $80. They look a lot better.

  38. MJB Says:

    37. Not for a Lexus LS430.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 Thanks for the link re. the Merc/RedBull non-deal. Yeah, the F1 politics is more interesting than the racing.

  40. Marshall Says:

    We had a Yamaha produced engine on our Saturn Vue SUV. Nice piece of work.