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Electrical and Ignition

Marchal rally lights for BMWs

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Marchal is a French manufacturer of high quality automobile lights founded in 1923.  The company was very active in motorsports, especially in the 1950s  through the 1980s.   Marchal lights and sponsor stickers can be seen on many winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Rallye Monte Carlo.   There are many Marchal lights made during the 60s and 70s which are appropriate for BMW 2002s.  The lights are exclusively made in France and paper labels inside the housings give the exact week and year of production.  Model numbers are always molded into the glass, and usually ink-stamped or labeled inside the lights.  


Marchal had seen great commercial and racing successes, mostly with Ferrari, in the 50s and 60s with their famous 'FANTASTIC' 660 model as shown above.  However, this design, with its distinctive raised center nipple, was looking a little old fashioned by the late 1960s.  Light bulb technology also changed dramatically with the introduction of IODE Quartz  H1, H2, and H3 bulbs.  In 1965 Marchal offered the 'new' H1 bulb in their 'old' Fantastic 660/760 (fog) & 662/762 (long distance) models.  Also in '65 the 610 and 612 designs were introduced.  


Above is a page from a 1965 Marchal catalog introducing the new 610 & 612 models.  It also extolls the virtues of the new H1 bulb technology offered in their old 'Fantastic' 660/760 662/762 light range.  The bulbs were not called H1 yet, since  H2 and H3 bulbs had still to be invented.  Strangely, the new 610/612 did not make use of the new IODE H1 bulbs. Even as the 610/612 models were being rolled out, Marchal was already busy working on replacements.  A flood of new lights taking advantage of new bulb technology were introduced in the late 1960s.  Some lasted only a year or two in production, but other successful designs were manufactured for a decade. Today, all of these lights can continue to provide period-correct function and style for your BMW.




610 & 612  (5.75") clear or yellow

1965 - Sticking with the '600' theme Marchal released the the new 610 (fog) and 612 (spot).  These were the first polished stainless steel housings offered by Marchal ( as opposed to the previous use of chromed metal).  They were very slim.  This was achieved by applying the silvered reflector surface directly to the inside of the lamp housing.  A stainless band, joined at the bottom by a tiny bolt, held the glass lens, with a more subtle 'nipple', and the stainless body together.  This band design was used by Cibié for the super-thin Cibié 45.   610 & 612s are very rare since the reflector coating tended to bubble and separate from the housing. They also didn't look 'modern' enough and were almost immediately replaced by….  


710 & 712 (5.75") clear or yellow

1968 - Continuing with the use of polished stainless steel, instead of chromed metal, this was a successful new housing design that stayed in production in some form until the 1980s.  The band was gone, replaced by a metal trim ring that pressed into place, and is removed by prying with a flat screwdriver.  The flat glass was also new and the 'nipple' was gone, replace in the center by the words 'Starlux'.  Most importantly, the light was designed around using the new H1 IODE bulb.  710 is for fog, 712 denotes a spot (long distance) lens.   A new logo had been added into the glass as well; a modern and stylized version of the Marchal cat head. However, the twist-off H1 bulb holder was  over -engineered and replaced by….


810 812 & 819 (5.75") clear or yellow

1969 -  The stainless housing and push-on bezel remained, but the lens and bulb holder were completely new.  The nipple was back in the glass, this time topped by a gold anodized aluminum cat logo.  This is glued on to the glass, and often falls off due to heat.  The biggest improvement was the use of the compact H3 bulb, held in place by a simple and easy to use retaining clip. 

This model was used in 1975 on the Le Mans class-winning, Marchal-sponsored BMW 2002 of the Heidegger Racing Team.  H3 Bulbs are easy to find, inexpensive and as bright as 95 watts.  Use a 150mm soft vinyl cover.  Hard plastic covers were  introduced in about 1978.   Later production housings are chromed plastic or black plastic.  810 (fog/cornering)  812 (spot or long range) 819 (driving).




780 & 782 (7") clear or yellow

A larger version of the 710 & 712 models.  Same complicated H1 bulb holder.   So it was updated to the….


880, 882 & 889 (7") clear or yellow

Again, simply a larger version of 810, 812 or 819 models.  Uses the same H3 bulb with a simple and effective clip.  Stainless steel housings.   Uses 190mm covers.  




702, 709, 722, 740 742 (8") clear or yellow

The biggest lights Marchal made. These use H2 bulbs.  Large steel housings are either chrome or silver painted (can be painted to match car color).  No plastic housings.  Use a 200mm soft vinyl cover or hard plastic cover.   Hard covers for these lights tend to crack.


900, 902, 909  (8") clear or yellow

Introduced in the mid 1970s.  Same as above but some had black crinkle-painted metal housings and trim rings.   Bulbs are the H2 type.  Use a soft vinyl or (more common by the late 70s) hard plastic 200mm cover.




Marchal offered a round or rectangular rear fog lights.  These high intensity lights were designed for maximum visibility on foggy days to avoid rear collisions.  The round light model 642 has a painted metal housing and bezel.  The rectangular light model 644 has a grey plastic or chromed plastic housing. 





850 fog/cornering.  Available with yellow or clear glass.  


859 driving.  




All the model numbers are molded into the glass lenses and differentiate spot/pencil beam (longue porte), fog/cornering (brouillard) or driving (grande ambiance).

Lights ending in '0' are FOG/CORNERING  

Lights ending in '2' are SPOT/PENCIL BEAM

Lights ending in '9' are DRIVING

Fog lenses were not always yellow glass and long range driving lights were not always clear.  Until 1993 French law required all headlight or auxiliary lights to be yellow.  This meant on French roads either the bulb or the glass had to be yellow.  

Marchal became part of the Valeo industrial conglomerate, ironically along with main competitor Cibié.  Today Valeo supplies lights and electronics to virtually every car maker in the world.   The Marchal name was licensed to a Japanese company.  Some 1950s designs are reproduced in China.  Most of the lights I've detailed above for BMWs are not reproduced, so you will likely come across original items. 




700 series lights.  Usually spot lights up top and fog lights at the corners.  Note the bumper bracing.



709 driving lights.  8" diameter, H2 bulbs.



Big 700 series lights, covered until nightfall on a muddy Rallye Monte Carlo.



819 - Marchal called models ending in 9 'Grand Ambiance' lights ( driving lights)




Rallye Monte Carlo



The latest 900 series big lights for this entrant in the Tour de France Automobile.  This tough rally was a circuit of France on paved and unpaved roads and also race tracks.



700 series spot/pencil beam lamp.  Note the 702/722 designation molded into the glass. 



882 spot/pencil beam.  7" diameter, H3 bulb.




The three sizes of soft covers.   These are all the 'two color' design (red and black).  The 'one color' design just had the black cat and flag. 




In the late 1970s plastic housings were introduced.  Chromed plastic or black plastic was offered. 






Same basic housing, trim ring, and H3 bulbs, but different lenses for different purposes.  810 fog/cornering, 812 spot/pencil beam.



880 fog/cornering.  7" diameter, H3 bulb.  




Rallye of Poland entry showing off for the crowd.  The covers in the center are an old design from the 1950s.  



1975 Le Mans 24 hour race.  Heidegger racing won its class against all odds.  Victory for the 2002!  Thanks to Marchal lights?  




Marchal's first 'modern' design of the 1960s. 612 and 610. Short production run, old bulb technology.



882 spot/pencil beam.  7" diameter, H3 bulb. 





This is the 'one color' soft cover design.  The 'two color' option added red SEV Marchal lettering.




810 fog/cornering. 5.5" diameter, H3 bulb.



Is Dirand scrubbing off speed or out of control?  Note broken headlight.  This is a track stage of the 1970 Tour de France Automobile.  




bmw rallye lorraine j2h.JPG

Big 700 lights braced to the bodywork. 




Big spot lights protected by 'one color' covers.  Smaller fog/cornering lights shielded by 'two color' covers.  24 hour race at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.  What are underneath the headlights, added indicators or signal lights?



German entrant in the Rallye Monte Carlo.  Spot lights up high - check.  Sump guard - check.  Sunglasses - check. Helmets......



Snowy conditions on the Rallye Monte Carlo.



710 design (H1 bulb) replaced by 810 (H3 bulb) design.



Big 700 series lights.  Silver-painted housings, chrome bezels, yellow glass.







810 design replaced the 710.  The metal housing and bezel remained the same.



This 1969 Rallye Monte Carlo entrant from Switzerland used the older 'Fantastic' models. Note the custom light bar.  662/762  spots up high, 660/760 fogs on the sides, as shown below:


Beautiful Marchal 'Fantastics'.  Introduced in 1955 but updated in 1965 with new H1 bulb holders in an attempt to keep them competitive. 




880 fog cornering lights with clear lenses.  7" diameter, H3 bulbs and hard plastic covers from the late 1970s.



Hard plastic cover for 810, 812, 819 lights with typical crack.


812 light uses blue wire from the factory.   712 light uses a thinner gauge white wire. 



Rear high intensity fog light.  Part # 642-11002.





782 spot/pencil light lens.  7" diameter.  H1 bulb.



709 fog/cornering.  8" diameter.  Silver painted metal housing.  Chrome bezel. H2 bulb.



909 fog/cornering.  Same housing and bulb as above but an updated lens with cat logo. 



When the big 700 series was first introduced the housing was much deeper.  This is an 8" diameter 722 spot light with the early deep housing. Also note this early 8" light uses an H1 bulb holder.  This was soon replaced by H2 bulb holders and a much shallower housing.  



810 fog lights and 702/722 spot lights.  The placement of the fog lights up high on the inside is not ideal, but the bumper brackets offer better support for the heavier spot lights. 



859 driving light kit from the late '70s or early '80s



859 driving lights



FAQ member 'Conserv' took this beautiful photo back in 1977 of his '76 with the latest Marchal rectangular fog lights installed.  




This page of a Marchal catalog show the light beams of each lens style...


Top beam graphic shows Fog light pattern   ( lights ending in '0')  610, 710, 810, 880, 850, 700, 900

Middle graphic shows Driving light pattern  ( lights ending in '9')  819, 859, 709, 909

Bottom graphic shows Spot light pattern     ( lights ending in '2')  612, 712, 812, 882, 702, 722, 902 



Early 'Fantastic' 660 fog lights.  Design was introduced in 1955 and remained in production with updated 660/760 lens until 1969.



Note custom through-the-grille bracket. This glass design is the original 1955 660 lens.  It was replaced in the 1960s by a lens marked 660 /760 which had less of a shield motif and more of a 'starburst' design.



Norwegian entrant in the Rallye Monte Carlo came equipped with big 700 series lights. 



FAQ member Jam3422 installed Marchal 712 long distance lights on his exquisite '71 ti. 





Thanks for looking, please post photos of how you installed Marchals on your BMW.....



The 2002ti of co-drivers Prevoteau and Devaux.  Event is the 2nd Grand National Tour Auto, France 1971.   They finished  2nd in class 18th overall. 



Drivers Depnic and Belly drove this 2002ti in the 2nd Grand National Tour Auto, France 1971.  First in class, 13th overall. 






FAQ member 'Pitopop' has super-rare French yellow AMPILUX headlights with matching yellow 709 driving lights. Gorgeous! And the setting's not bad either.....


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