MK2 panel light switch

Instead of trying to revive a dead panel light switch with new resistors (I tried and failed) could I fit a simple off/on switch, similar to the others, to activate the panel lights without being able to dim them?
Will that work? Thanks. Ron

Yes, no problem.

I always thought it was humorous that Jaguar thought that anyone would ever want their panel lights off at night, or otherwise be able to make them dimmer than they are at full brightness (dimness). The three positions are Invisible, Nearly Invisible, and Barely Visible. If I ever needed a spare switch I would eliminate the panel light switch entirely.


The reason British cars had an ‘off’ position for the panel lights is that if you needed to park in an unlit street at night, the sidelights had to be ‘on’. This switching reduced the battery run down rate. I think the same law/rule applied in European countries but I don’t know what rules are relevant today.

However, I agree - the panel lights are not very bright. Neither was the person who designed the system. I believe there are dimmable LEDs available but I haven’t investigated this yet.


If you replace the dimming resistor with wire then you will have off, on and on. Noting that on is still dim per above. No need to replace the switch. Alternatively, leave the middle position (old dimmed position) unconnected and you will have off, off and on.

Peter, that makes sense. I recall that my dad’s Renault 4CV had only one parking light on each side, and only one of those would be illuminated. It had a switch that would select which side would be on, to reduce battery drain even further. The single light was high up on the “D” pillar so you could see it from either direction.

Yes, we had Renaults and Peugeots in our family and they had the discreet parking lamp on the rear pillar with a little switch to light one side or the other.

Thanks all for the replies. Wiring up the switch worked but the result is still very poor panel lighting. I am replacing the lot with 0.72W LED globes. Will those work with the old 3 resistor 3 position switch (I have a working spare) or should I stick to the wired off/on switch?

Most led globes are not dimmable, only on/off will work. No resistor needed, even possible led defect if a resistor is used.

Is that why Jaguar put those super bright front sidelights on the mk 2 ? :grimacing:

Quite probably, as the prominence of the sidelight grew over the years until it was dispensed with by being incorporated in the headlights with a bulb shining through a gap in the side of the reflector - 1980s?

There is another reason why the sidelights are so important in the UK. It is permitted to run with headlights off in very well lit urban areas to cut out glare to opposing traffic and pedestrians. With headlights off, it is only the sidelights that give an indication of the clearance size of the vehicle and they need to work. I think it was created in the early days when roads were tight, meandering and winding around 500-year-old buildings. I was chastised by an oncoming driver when I was last there 10 or 12 years ago. I had just entered the 30 zone and the first street light, and was preparing to stop at my digs, but had not turned my lights off.

A variation to this existed for pre-war cars - some or all, I don’t know. When lights were dipped, the driver’s side extinguished, and the left side dipped to illuminate the kerb. The pod style Lucas sidelights (a la Mk IV 1.5) have a red jewel in the top, which is visible to the driver, who can see from the driving seat if it is working.

I love these quirky things of olde.