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KC HiLiTES, Inc (founded 1970) is the original manufacturer of off road lighting from Arizona, beginning with the Daylighter and its distinctive smiley cover. Their products are a common feature on Jeeps and other off road vehicles and trucks.
KC’s Daylighter®, as it came to be known, would serve as the backbone of KC’s development for years to come. KC designed the special patented isolated rubber mount for the Daylighter when they noticed too many failures due to the severe vibration within the metal housing during off-road adventures. Many long hours were spent with GE engineers, learning about the intricacies of lighting, sealed beams, filaments, the varied types of construction, wattage and what candlepower was really all about. At that time, they devised a way to completely encircle the bulb in rubber, helping isolate it.
The 70’s and 80’s brought more innovations in lighting, and KC was at the forefront. Many race teams using KC’s included pioneers Walker Evans and Ivan Stewart. In the 90’s, KC developed the now-famous HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting system, based on the same Metal Halide concept used to illuminate giant sports complexes. Today, KC offers HIDs and the latest LEDs for off-road use, and for commercial and industrial applications. Many ATVs and Rhinos are now running HIDs, LEDs and other KC lighting products.
KC was started in Saugus, California by Pete Brown. He started using landing lights from aircraft, adapting them to his truck, and then figured out the way they mounted wouldn’t stand up to the rigors of the now growing off-road community of race buggies and pickups. Available lighting at the time was limited to 55-watt halogen lamps that were in his words, “really disappointing” in the desert. He made a few sets for friends, and KC was in business. Working with neighbors out of his garage, he assembled the lights, built the wiring harnesses and sold the packages to off-roaders and local shops. Pete moved the company to Williams, Arizona in the early 80's and is still in the same location today. Pete went by the name Kim and his wife was Carol that is the 'K' and 'C' in KC.
Today KC lighting products are available at most automotive outlets, and at many online retailers. The company's new lights are found on many the leading off road race teams in short course and desert racing.
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