Modern car designers have it easy. They can sculpt jewel-like housings for their headlights and integrate them into the car’s bodylines almost seamlessly. Back in the days of sealed-beam headlamps, however, there were only so many options to choose from. And while many designers got creative, integrating the lamps into the car’s overall design, some of our favorite cars were available with headlights that were virtually invisible until needed.
We know, headlights go up, headlights go down. We love pop-up headlights too, but that’s for another discussion. Pop-up headlights are a form of hidden headlights, but we’re being completely arbitrary and defining those in this list as stationary headlights that are revealed when a panel opens up to reveal them. Here are 10 of our favorites.
Read the full list on Hagerty.com:
While doing a stint as a Datsun parts Mgr. in 1973, a 1964 C2 in black Roadster was traded in. It was black with red guts. I had to wait until the clients 610 wagon arrived and it took forever so I did not buy the car for $1,100.00! Was I an idiot or what? The used car department sent it out for paint and it was done in white. I'll never forget how the body shop forgot to turn the headlights around and paint the back side. The car looked like a racoon when the lights were on. I purchased a 63 Riviera instead. Go figure.
How about the Lotus Elan. All models including the 1962-72 original, plus the +2 version and the later M100 series all had pop up (and in some cases never pop-down) headlights.
My favorite is my 1978 Thunderbird, which I took delivery of on September 21, 1977. BUT I like all if these and really, any car with hideaway or pop-up headlights!
All the comments above (except the Cord) - read the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph, this list does NOT include pop-up headlights, only panel-revealed fixed lights. Although the C2 'vette and Porsche transaxle series are anomalies of pop-up or flip over styles.
Like most of the pics, but for sure would drop the Iso Grifo in favor of the C2 'vette, which absolutely has to make a top 10 hidden headlamps. Never cared for the ones on those Camaros, especially the "3 horizontal bar" ones, IMHO a '68 Camaro with 2 big, round, headlamps was one of the sharpest cars of the day.
My favorite is my 1978 Thunderbird which I took delivery of on September 21, 1977. But I like all on your list and really any car with hideaway or pop-up headlights 😀
Opel GT was the first to pop into my head, too. It was beautiful.
And the first generation Miata? Not so beautiful, but there sure were a lot of them.
I'm guessing they classified Opels as "pop up headlights," though I'd argue they should get an exception waiver since they are "rollover" headlights and special and unique.
Most are not aware of the Opel's mechanical linkage and how the lamps rolled over from side to side instead of front to back as most folks would think. First time I saw those in 1970 I was amazed.
Great list! But sorry...how could you POSSIBLY have not included the '63 Corvette?? When the headlights 'went hidden' after the end of the C1 generation ('62), they remained hidden in the Corvette for the next 43 years!