While in South Germany the first beer garden tables and benches and party tents are popping up, in North Germany we are still scraping the last of the May ice from the windscreens. Up here nature always lags behind a bit; that’s because of the cold winds sweeping in from the North Sea and Baltic Sea, which make us drivers still shiver around Father’s Day as if it were January. Until … well, until someone gets the idea of switching on their high beam. You think that’s absurd? Not entirely. There’s a barbecue grill and then there’s a grille. I’ll come back to the first one later. Behind the grate of my grille are two additional headlights hidden away which they say can kick-start spring. Back in the 70s you were able to install super bright lights in bread and butter cars. Well done to anyone who dares now to put in a couple of modern lamps.

I’ve taken a look inside. Took off the grille, took out the additional headlights and had a look at which supernova is causing a nuclear meltdown. H3 lamps, it seems. Oops. These single-filament halogen lamps have been around since the mid-60s but I’ve never noticed them to be as bright as in my own old car. Otherwise, nice clean reflectors. Two big fat headlights in the grille alongside the rather dim H4 main lights, and a sought-after status symbol of the GXL model in the early 70s. Those who had them back then also had a killer engine and a lot of chrome. Those who still have them now are living in the past. In the age of intelligent energy-saving LED matrix headlights and outrageously long-range laser lights, single-filament halogen lamps seem like something out of the ark. But, whoa, just imagine putting in Osram Night Breaker H3. Shall we dare do a subjective test?

*click* WUUUSHHHH. Night turns to day.

And now back to the barbecue grill. The neighbors are flocking round holding campfire twist bread and sausages in front of my high beam. Annoying. I’m waiting a few minutes before I leave until the last sausage is cooked; I’m about to leave the driveway, but wait. Look at that! In the light beam of the round additional headlights all my flowers have bloomed. The reeds that just a moment ago looked a bit pathetic have now grown into an impressive screen, apple trees have blossomed and are fruiting, and the grass suddenly needs cutting. It’s spring in Kiel. So nice and colorful here. Airline pilots might mistake my driveway for the runway at Hamburg Airport … best get moving.

Shame on those who now think that all new technologies will become obsolete again. No. The heat produced by these round things means that the neighbors are getting their sausages ready again, paint layers on the hood are peeling, and insects vaporize as soon as they approach within one meter of the car. And energy consumption is so high that the generator almost killed the engine when I switched on high beam. It’s great that Osram keeps coming up with new light sources and keeps improving them. But it’s also a great feeling to be able to unleash such subjectively powerful light in my old banger. I’ll go for a spin through the night, feeling like wielding my father’s lightsaber.

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