Home » This Little Triangular Porsche Part Might Be The Most Overbuilt Fake Part Of All Time

This Little Triangular Porsche Part Might Be The Most Overbuilt Fake Part Of All Time

Decoy Porsche Lamp Ts
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On the front of every original Porsche Boxster with halogen headlights, there’s a lie. An innocent lie, but one with surprising complexity. Not everything is as it seems, and it takes a close inspection of the triangular pieces on the lower outer corner of each headlight to realize that we’ve been had.

This part looks like a light, but it’s not. In fact, if we flip this piece over, we’ll see no wires, no socket for a bulb, no contacts to conduct electricity, and no indication at all that this piece illuminates. It’s a total fake, albeit in appearance rather than provenance. It’s still a real Porsche part, it just doesn’t do what you think it does.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

What we have here is a part going the extra mile, pretending that it’s an indicator lens with surprising believability. But why? As ever, it comes down to three things: Options, regulation, and conscious choice.

The original Porsche Boxster and the 996 Porsche 911 were both available with xenon headlights under the Porsche trade name Litronic. This presented a challenge because, under UN ECE regulation 6.2.9, headlight cleaners are essentially mandatory on vehicles with really bright headlights. As per the regulation:

Dipped-beam headlamps with a light source or LED module( s) producing the principal dipped-beam and having a total objective luminous flux which exceeds 2,000 lumen shall only be installed in conjunction with the installation of headlamp cleaning device( s) according to Regulation No. 45.

Porsche had to hide high-pressure headlight washers somewhere on the front end of the Boxster and 996, and although it’s fairly standard for manufacturers to mount these nozzles to the front bumper, Porsche took a different approach. Instead, they’d be hidden in a headlight trim piece matches the finish of the surrounding lens. However, cars with halogen headlights didn’t need headlight cleaners, so the solution was a wildly complicated part that looks like a turn signal lens but isn’t.

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Porsche boxster dummy lamp

Think about it. All the fluting around the edge of the trim piece needs to match up to the fluting in the headlight assembly. Not only that but look at all the little micro-prisms designed into the trim piece to mimic the reflector surface inside the adjacent indicator lens: Someone had to consciously design those in there, and then someone had to make them, likely at greater cost than a simple unpainted opaque plastic part. Oh, and did I mention that this blanking plate appears to consist of two pieces sealed together? After all, the backing material can’t be transparent, otherwise you’d be able to see all the way down into the bowels of the car’s front end.

Porsche 718 Headlight Cleaners

These days, Porsche just mounts its headlight cleaning nozzles through holes in front bumper covers. It’s a simple solution, and it allows Porsche to charge a little bit more for paint-matched headlight cleaner trim. However, it’s not quite as delightful as creating a surprisingly intricate part masquerading as an actual light.

Img 4020

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As for why I purchased a brand new replacement headlight trim, it’s a bit of a long story. Basically, the headlights that came on my Boxster have inner lens burn-in, which is fairly common in Canada due to daytime running light legislation and Porsche being fairly new to the one-piece composite headlight game at the time. As a tiny bit of patination gives authenticity to the car’s age, I’m replacing them with the nicest units I can find on eBay. Since the clips holding the trim pieces grow brittle with age, having replacements on hand is insurance against downtime.

(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal, Porsche)

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Doug Schaefer
Doug Schaefer
19 days ago

I want to know if the headlight in the lede image is the eBay replacement or the original that’s being replaced. Depending on the answer I want to know either a link to those eBay lights or if you want to sell your originals. My 986 lights are pretty yellowed but OEM lenses are $1300 each and I’ve only found tacky LED assemblies on eBay.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Come on let’s stop pretending Porsche is special. We make fun of Stellantis for putting out cars and trucks on a 20 year old chasus with minimal upgrades. But a Porsche 911 thar sits on a 70 year old design demanding double the price it used to, at least Stellantis is keeping prices down, but the Porsche at 6 figures now with less options and nothing new. Fuk Porsche Stellantis provides more for the dollar and the Dodge deutsch is better than a Porsche deutsch

Jimal
Jimal
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Have you seen the prices of Stellantis vehicles lately? If anything, they’ve followed Porsche’s example of less for more.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  Jimal

In business as good or better than the competition at half the price is a good spot to be in.

Jimal
Jimal
30 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

So no, you haven’t seen the prices of Stellantis vehicles lately. There are a couple reasons why CJDR brands consistently have the most days of supply at dealers, and their quality is #2.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
26 days ago
Reply to  Jimal

True but Porsche quality has been around 18. Quality 2 is really good.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You’re being sarcastic right? Do you honestly believe it’s a 20 year old chassis with minimal upgrades? LOL, get out of here dude. Sure, the 911 (and Boxster and Cayman) look very similar to how they did ~20 years ago, but they are so much improved it’s not even funny.

That being said, yes, the prices have gotten ridiculous. If you follow inflation, and 911 should start at like ~$70k if you based it on late ’60s prices.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Well I did take some liberties but check out performance statistics they are at best minor improvements but prices are insane.
Maybe I should change my name to Mr Hyperbole?

Last edited 1 month ago by Mr Sarcastic
BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

but check out performance statistics they are at best minor improvements

Why don’t you just spell it out for me. Performance has improved greatly.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

No and not legal to use it on the road. They lie about performance because you can’t prove it. I’m wrong? yeah auto manufacturers are proven honest. Why do people trust what proven liars are saying? Get your head out of your @ss

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Are you lost now?

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Nope how fast could you drive a Porsche on the road in 1969 and how fast in 2024?

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

So you are saying that every single auto magazine, auto journalist, and YouTuber are collaborating to show that Porsche performance has increased?

A ’69 911E did 0-60 in 7.0 seconds and cost $7.7k ($65k today)

A ’88 911 Carrera did 0-60 in 5.7 seconds and cost $44k ($114k today)

A ’09 911 Carrera did 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and cost $86k ($124k today)

Today a ’20 911 Carrera does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and cost $99k ($118k today).

911 performance is so much better today than it was 15, 20, 30 years ago it’s not even funny. All you’ve got is some weird argument that you appear to be changing on the fly.

The current 911 is nothing like the one one released ~60 years ago, is nothing like the one 30 years ago, and is quite different from 991 generation that ended just five years ago.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

No what I am saying is most auto journalists due to the economic and print media troubles won’t present facts lie about anything to keep their jobs.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You’ve presented zero facts backing up your claims, and now you’re all about conspiracies. Whatever dude. Have a good one. You’re wrong; 911 is greatly improved.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
26 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

Well I stand corrected. Your comments with nothing to support them as you accused me of have convinced me. That Porsche fans are the equivalent of atesla fans. Ignorant, deluded and uninformed with very little car knowledge

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
26 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You made the claim, you shit-witted winkle tickler, so you need to support it. Again, you’ve come with nothing. You’re a fuckin’ idiot.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
1 month ago

The autoplaying videos that pop up in a banner when you scroll passed them are very annoying.

Jb996
Jb996
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

It’s terrible
Scroll past and pause once.
Then need to check the by-line, this isn’t Torch?
Scroll past and pause twice.
Finger bumps screen.
Scroll past and pause three times.
It’s terrible.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

Agreed. It’s the worst and only bad part of Autopian. I wish it would go away

Electronika
Electronika
1 month ago

Even worse when you pay for membership and still have to deal with it

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago
Reply to  Electronika

Honestly, it’s a reason for me not to pay. Which is sad. This is, by a large margin, my favourite site and I would like to support it

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

Use Brave or a browser with Ublock origin, and add these custom filters:

||player.ex.co
||ex.co
http://www.theautopian.com##.code-block-2.code-block

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
1 month ago

I’ve only got a phone

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

Brave mobile supports filters, even without ublock origin.

Jim Oldham
Jim Oldham
1 month ago

An entire article about a reflector?

Jmfecon
Jmfecon
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Oldham

Had Torch written it, it would be an entire series of posts…

Jb996
Jb996
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Oldham

This is good Autopian.

Space
Space
1 month ago

I guess this is one reason common safety standards between EU and the US don’t work out. Headlight cleaners? I haven’t even used my winshield washer fluid in a decade. Needless complexity.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Space

That’s a weird take. You never have schmutz on your windshield?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

We clean our dirty windscreens with wet squeegee at the gas station or a cloth and a bottle of glass cleaner.
Wipers & washers aren’t really meant for regular cleaning. For typical driving you’re stopped or at home every 20-30 miles when you can clean the glass with using the above.
Washers are meant for cleaning road grime while underway during long distance drives.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

they are meant for cleaning slush, snow and road salt off a winter windshield every few minutes in snow country, short or long distance. They can be life-saving. Wet squeegees and glass cleaner aren’t available when the temp is below freezing!

Last edited 1 month ago by Hamish48
My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

lifesaving is not an exaggeration.
I got stuck on the highway, run out of washer fluid, with terrible salt spray literally coating my windshield to the point that I could not see out of it. The only thing I could do was to tail a tractor-trailer so that the continuous spray from the road would wet my windshield and not dry and I could still use my wipers till I got to the next exit.

Before I found that truck to tail I was driving with my head out the driver side window like ace ventura.

Space
Space
1 month ago

I don’t know what that is but I can say definitively, maybe.
My washer fluid line broke (thanks Dodge) so I just clean it at home or at a gas station.

Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago
Reply to  Space

congratulations on not living in snow country where you go through several bottles of fluid per winter and always have spare in the car

Space
Space
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

Right on the nose my good fellow.

JasonP
JasonP
1 month ago

The “brighter lights need cleaning equipment” is why Tesla de-rates the headlights on cars for the ECE market, that way they don’t have to install headlamp washers.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago

Weird they required washers only on the brighter lights-that almost seems backwards unless I’m missing something. Also haven’t the Germans required (offered) headlight cleanign dating back to at least the ’80s?

Clupea Hangoverus
Clupea Hangoverus
1 month ago

Think of the glare from all the Schmutsch in die Scheinwerfers! Das Lichtstrohm ist everywhere! In the glorious times past, Wisch/waschanlage was required in the scandi markets, not sure if in BRD also. But not mandatory anymore, due to the EU common market, except the lumen limit exists. Scheisse.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 month ago

Yeah, my only guess is that they are worried about the obstruction adjusting the path of the light or something like that, since they specifically mention dipped beams.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
1 month ago

German regulations didn’t require the headlamp cleaners for many decades so they were offered as extra cost option or standard equipment. It wasn’t until 1992 when EU regulations, harmonising many regulations of the member states into single one.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

They seem so common even on older euro market cars I had assumed they were mandatory-oops.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
1 month ago

I’ve heard that halogens produced enough heat to melt any snow or ice that would be hardened onto them. Because the LEDs wouldn’t do that, they mandated sprayers for them. Whether that’s true or simply urban legend I can neither confirm nor deny. Also I can’t speak for Germany, but historically it was Sweden that mandated headlight wipers (and later sprayers) for many decades.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
1 month ago

Interesting-don’t know much about it. I can say from personal experience in a bad enough snow storm even halogens can start to ice up but that’s an edge case. And maybe they were just a common option on older euro market cars that aren’t often seen on the american market which led me to assume they were mandatory rather than optional (besides Sweden)

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
1 month ago

This feels very on brand for Porsche. The only thing missing from this article is pictures of the headlight washer that is used in versions that had it.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 month ago

@Thomas – Does Jason know that you are writing about lights? Be careful, I know that he has a spear made out of an Cadillac Eldorado taillight.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Wyman

These are front lights. He’ll be OK.

Eric Gonzalez
Eric Gonzalez
1 month ago

There are quite a lot of cars out there that have fake reflectors in tail lights. Especially when they’re part of the trunk lid. Some of those fake aesthetic lights are quite complex and would probably work fine with an actual bulb if you were to drill a hole in the back.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Gonzalez

US E30 BMW’s had empty sockets where rear fog lamps would otherwise have been.
You just needed a bulb and a switch to get rear fogs – the socket and wiring were still there.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I had a $200 Volvo 740 wagon with a flaky taillight – just the running light, the turn signal and brake light were fine. Wasn’t worth sourcing a junkyard replacement and I didn’t feel like snaking an extension through a sharp, slightly undersized hole, anyway.

I took the taillight bulb out of the other side, populated the rear fog spot on both sides, and had extra-bright taillights with a convenient factory anti-pursuit switch. Apart from my brake lights not having quite as much contrast, it Just Worked.

RalliartWagon
RalliartWagon
1 month ago

Reminds me also of the ’97-’04 Dodge Dakota. It too had a triangular corner “lens” beside the headlight, above the indicator, which did nothing, but was styled to look like a light.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

My 993 has the little nipples at the front of the headlight binnacles.

But if it helps, it also has a hellacious heckblende across the back that does nothing but look cool; even has P O R S C H E stamped on the inside.

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Is that a car description or a Tinder profile?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Revver?

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

So did some of them not have Halogen lights ?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Yeah – the ones with optional Xenons.

Last edited 1 month ago by Urban Runabout
Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Ahh silly me was thinking something below halogen, candle perhaps

Chronometric
Chronometric
1 month ago

Or Porsche could have just included the washers with all vehicles. Frankly, I think it looks tacked on and doesn’t match the other amber lens at all.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
1 month ago

“…all the little micro-prisms… Someone had to consciously design those in there…”

With any luck whoever got stuck with this task took glee in making sure they were all optically incorrect.

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