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Randall, please help me! -- Autronic Eye Question


Centurion
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Randall, I have a need for a bit of information, and wanted to ask whether you would be willing to post my question on the CLC forums. I suspect that my best prospect for some good opinions can be found on that forum.

Here goes:

A friend has offered me a complete, original Autronic Eye set-up for my 1959 Buick Electra. The set-up comes from another '59 Electra with the same interior colors as my car. I have been asked to name a fair price for the item, and the friend has agreed to sell it for whatever price I name.

Knowing that he could sell it to others for a fair market value, I want to be fair in the price I suggest. We do not know whether the unit works. Given that, does anyone have any idea what the set-up (including the "head", dimmer switch, and all wiring) might be worth?

Furthermore, are there reliable companies that will inspect/repair/rebuild these units? If so, how might I contact them?

Knowing that Cadillacs were more commonly equipped with the Autronic Eyes than were the other GM lines, I hope that some Cadillac folks may have some input for me.

I appreciate your help, and hope that you might indicate here if you obtain any useful replies on the CLC forums. Thank you.

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Hi Brian,

I posted this on the CLC forum and should have an answer in a day or so...will that be soon enough? I will also look and see what I can dig up for you.

I found this site : http://www.dorrengineering.com/autronic_eye.htm

I am sending email to them but you might want to check it out. Their price to recondition and retrofit the device is $475.00.

On eBay, I found Autronic Eye going for $104.00 - NOS '56 Cadillac and working.

Check it out! eBay Autronic Eye item

I will let you know what the others think when they respond. But that should get you going in the right direction.

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My pleasure, Brian...I received a response from Dorr Engineering, and Mr. Dorr stated that the autronic eye for 59 on was solid state, so your system would have a better chance of working.

The '56 NOS part I found still in the box would most likely have gone bad.

He concurred that $100 was a good price.

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It should be wonderful! My '77 Eldo has essentially the autronic eye hidden in the grill and it works beautifully. Certainly not a necessary item but fun non the less. Now they no longer include them...too many complaints or something which is odd considering all the electric computerized goo gaws these cars have today.

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I had to go to one of the links to figure out what you guys were talking about. confused.gif

Auto Dimming is what it is referred to on my '67, first time I drove it at night I thought man do I have a serious electrical issue! It keeps turning the high beams on and off! I pulled out the owner?s manual and figured it out! LOL

It is a really cool feature would be nice if the still offered it so I wouldn't have to flash so many folks to get them to turn off there brights! shocked.gif

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I love my Twilight Sentinal and Auto Dimmer. It works wonderfully and while I don't NEED it per se...it sure is fun to be driving along at dusk only to have the lights come on! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

That and the climate control is VERY nice. I finally figured out how to use the Economy feature..its vent with a little help from the thermostat. Normally I just drop the window but since mine is not working <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> I use the climate control alot.

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Centurion and all- OCA member Alan Kriss in NJ repairs/restores GuideMatics (Oldsmospeak for the Eye <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />) as well as clocks and tube radios. Ph 908-688-2092.

The other GM Divisions dropped the auto dimmer option after 1969 though I've seen a 1970 Ninety-Eight with the eye mounted on the fender. Lincoln also used the fender mounted eye. The option was dropped because reflective highway signs drove the things crazy, as 67Cadi found out <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />! Supposedly, moving the eye behind the grille instead of on the dash or in the fender spear alleviated that problem somewhat, but it was a very low volume option for the others and not worth the effort to adapt it. Even lowly Chevrolet offered it thru about 1960 I think, and I've seen several 53-54 Chevys with it.

Oldsmobile actually installed it about as often as Cadillac in the early 60s. They had that "gadget division" reputation to live up to, you know <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />.

I have one of those K-M testers but nobody around here has a GuideMatic car to play with! I got a complete 1964 setup out of a Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan several years ago, intending to put it in the blue Starfire. Since said Starfire has "running issues" I haven't bothered to put it in, and the green car is a low option car and I think it would be out of place.

Also bought a complete in-the-box NOS Cadillac unit to have a spare power relay and amp in case it was needed. I might consider selling that. It's boxed up over in my storage units so it would take me a couple days to dig it out and get the part #, but I think it's 70s vintage judging by the design of the eye- it mounts behind the grille.

Don't y'all just love gadgets?!

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I have been surprised to find how many GM cars had the feature! As I indicated before, I love mine, and while I rarely need highbeams, it is nice to have when I do.

On the window...I finally got mine fixed. The motor gave out so now it works flawlessly!!! Just like the rest of the car. Still it isn't the '47 but I am happy with it.

Nice thing about the '47, the only gadgets it has are a few dash lights and a vaccuum antenna (which does not work), the radio and the clock. I find I am just as happy with a quality car like that. Remember the '55 Cadillac series 62 coupe? No power windows...very simple but still one eligant car. So yes I love gadgets, but I think over all the quality luxury car is best represented by its still being here, on the road, and looking like a million bucks! (for a whole lot less!) <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The option was dropped because reflective highway signs drove the things crazy, as 67Cadi found out laugh.gif! Supposedly, moving the eye behind the grille instead of on the dash or in the fender spear alleviated that problem somewhat, but it was a very low volume option for the others and not worth the effort to adapt it.

Don't y'all just love gadgets?!</div></div>

We took the '67 CDV out for a drive last night, the "Autronic Eye" actually works petty darn good! I cleaned up it's lense and played with the sensitivity adjustment, and have found a "happy place" for it where it works pretty darn good! One thing I notice is it doesn't have much concern for the guy in front of you, it will fire off the brights blush.gif! But I'd bet this wasn't a problem when everyone had chrome bumpers!

Tell me more about you gadget collection! I?ve started looking for GM shop stuff that would have been used when my car was new... cool.gif

Key items I'm looking for are the meters that they show in my shop manual for troubleshooting the ignition system!

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Mine is sensitive enough to see tail lights so it will only fire when there are no lights on the road, including street lights. The chances of having the highbeams on are pretty small then except out in the country. The sensitivity is turned up on the unit itself, then I adjust the distance control so on coming cars trigger the unit at a greater distance. So far it works like a champ.

I considered buying that autronic eye meter but chose not to spend the money this time.

I really don't have too many gadgets yet, just books. I am collecting things as I go along. I am sure Brian has a lot more stuff. Next acquisition is a 1972 Fisher Body Shop Manual for my son's car. He intends to restore it this coming year so he will need it.

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Here I go, blowing my source... e-mail Bill Sawrey in Rockwood TN, TOOLZGUY@aol.com . He has a world of old K-M and Burroughs GM factory service tools. I have a K-M catalog from around 1970 that lists the tools for all carmakers; if you can give me a good description I'll look up the number.

The last "truzzure" we got from him was a tilt column pivot pin puller, when we were trying to straighten out turn signal and horn wiring on a 66 Bonneville. We found out that you have to have that tool to get the thing apart.

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Thanks, Glenn! I know that had to hurt! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Seriously, I think Jonathan will need this link before the year is out. I am searching now for a '72 fisher body manual for him so he has at least the shop manual for the car and its body components. I just finished finding those books for my '47 and '77.

By the way, how are you honeys doing? Oh and best of holiday wishes to you, your good wife and family!! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

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  • 1 month later...

A very interesting wiring harness procedure for the 55-56 Cadillac on the Autronic eye repair site. Many thanks......one more item to add to the burgeoning list of restoration requirements. I'm still on the engine overhaul, so I have a bit of time before I start on the electronics.

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