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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

Our 10 favorite hidden headlights

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:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/our-10-favorite-hidden-headlights/

272 REPLIES 272
sytydave
Pit Crew

The C2 Corvette is a blatant omission,

the list has 6 muscles car from the late’s that have similar hideway grill lights. No taking away from this cars but you should narrow those selections down. 

Jlavine
Passenger

C2 Corvettes ....were unique...they rolled... and what was cooler than rolling into Teds late in the evening  on Woodward with the housings closed and the headlamps blazing through the grille..... can’t do that with any of the others.... just remember to roll them up before pulling back on the road....the man was waiting😄

Rick_ATX
Passenger

Love the partially hidden lights on the Alfa Romeo Montreal!

Harvcohen
New Driver

Really?  No one thought of the 1937 Cord 812 supercharged Convertible?  Really?  I’m shocked - You all need to take a trip to the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana as punishment for this huge automotive history slight!

PorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Second one I thought of after the Riv'.

ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

1975 Ferrari 308Gt4....and well said, the 928.

Patrician
Detailer

In the 1970's I worked in a garage on the upper Eastside of Manhattan. In the garage parking section upstairs was a 1942 Desoto convertible in like new condition. About 15 years ago i started to wonder where is that car today?  It was midnight blue, black top and a beige interior. It was beautiful with a lot of trim.  Of course I was 20 years old and at the time it was just another old car to me.  You get older and wiser. I can't believe how rare that car must be. In the 50 years that have past I have never seen or even heard of another 1942 Desoto convertible.

digger
Pit Crew

I loved that E brake type lever and  flush finish when open

PorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

Cord?? Superchicken (Daytona)?? Alfa Montreal (FFS)??

Still got my favourite though... the clam-shell Riv's.

dhaugh
Detailer

Lots of people upset that the Opel GT and Corvette were excluded.  The author mentions they did not include pop up head lights which both the Vette and the Opel had.  Not sure if the Cord was a pop up or a an moving panel exposing the lights.  Great catch on the Galaxy by someone, only the LTD and the XL (and Country Squire wagon) had 'em.  Riviera though has to be the best.

Tomboy
Pit Crew

How could the 1947-48 Davis not be on the list?

RobK
New Driver

What about the 914 Porsche?

JohnnyD
Intermediate Driver

More pop-up headlight Pontiac Fieros, Chrysler Lebaron convertibles and Japanese Miatas were sold than those mentioned. They had a bunch of mass appeal.

digger
Pit Crew

I forgot to mention I was talking about the opel GT ,Just for those not familiar  with the opel

RiglerTKE
Passenger

Riviera because it is the strangest, the Charger because it looks seamless, and the DeSoto because it was ultra-cool.

Sintome1950
Passenger

O had a '72 Opelika GT with hidden lights that rotated open with a lever. 

Mockingbird
Pit Crew

How about 1936-37 Cord 810/812, or do you consider those pop-ups?

Mike_E_V
Detailer

I have owned several Riv's all 63's & 64's. I had the opportunity to get my hands on a 65 in 1972 for $800 but the deal went south. Park a 63-64 next to a 65 and the subtle difference in how the front fenders slope towards the front is evident. A taller front peak was needed to clear the clam shell doors. 

AlanZ
Navigator

How in the world does a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible (only 5658 made) not make the top 10 list???

RaceCar2020
New Driver

What? No ‘63-‘67 Corvettes?

Mpfromdc
Passenger

Can't believe the C2 Corvettes were left off the list, they're a top 10 on any list you make up period.

gbsgarage
Passenger

All good. I would include ‘63-‘67 Corvette. 

bbar
Passenger

Great list. I have a '67 rs camaro. The '67's were electric; then they went to vacuum for '68-69. Both flavors equally challenging to get working right.

1970BUS
New Driver

Had an Opel GT, big lever next to the drivetrain hump

autbone
Intermediate Driver

1978-79 Dodge Magnum. Also first generation Miata. But my vote goes to the 68 Charger.

Tinkerah
Gearhead

The article focused on hidden rather than pop-up. Submit your suggestions for best pop-ups!

3Deuces
Pit Crew

Don't forget the '67-'68 Cadillac Eldorado!

BWeston
Intermediate Driver

Of the 10 nominated, I like the 1967 Mercury Cougar and 1965 Buick Riv with clamshell hidden headlights.  What about the 1930's Cord 810/812?  Awesome Gordon Buehrig design!  Also - 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, and 1967 Cadillac Eldorado - awesome!! 

GF
New Driver

No C2 Vettes? 

Tinkerah
Gearhead

Until I saw the Riviera I would've blurted "Charger!" without a thought. Now I'm conflicted!....And if I had the clamshells working on the Riv I certainly would've gotten both bulbs lit.

dooscoop32
Detailer

Although I do love the 1942 DeSoto with its hidden headlights, it definitely was not the first to do so.   What about the 1937 Cord 810/812?  And I'm not even sure it was the first.     http://www.stahlsauto.com/automobiles/1937-cord-812-sportsman/

 

And a little-known fact about those clam shell headlight doors on the 1965 Buick Riviera is that this whole car was designed as a tribute  to the classic coachbuilders' designs of the 1930s.  And the headlight doors are to mimic the grille of  the '39 LaSalle.   

http://hotrodbuildingblocks.blogspot.com/2012/09/1939-lasalle-grill.html

https://www.idealclassiccars.net/vehicles/249/1965-buick-riviera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wellis66
Passenger

What no deTomaso Pantera?

Marti54
Passenger

1967-69 Thunderbird 

tadg47
Intermediate Driver

What about the 1936 Cord, the 1965 Corvette, 1967 Olds Toronado, 1962 Lotus Elan, 1966 Maserati Ghibli, 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB, 1968 Opel GT...what more?

SteelyDan
Intermediate Driver

'66 Olds Toranado

'68 Lincoln Continental MkIII

DrDog
Pit Crew

Cord? 

Safemark
Passenger

Cougar!

valhallakey
Pit Crew

Although not totally hidden the Alfa Romeo Montreal had some neat partial headlight covers.  Also have always loved the 69 RS Camaro and the Buick Riviera that both made the list.

onteo
Pit Crew

The 1974-75 Bricklin  

Scohn
Pit Crew

You should have included pictures of the eyes open too.  I especially feel that way with the Jag because I always thought it had pop-ups so now I want to see a video of them opening. 

MadMac
Intermediate Driver

I feel your pain, but they did tell us in the lead in, "We love pop-up headlights too, but that’s for another discussion."  Since we have already gone off the rails, I must put a plug in for the Saab Sonett I owned which had a droopy eye that I corrected.

Gtista
Passenger

Wait! What about the TVR Tasmin?

davidjames
New Driver

Hey how about the c3 corvettes?

PRindge
Passenger

Nice list, probably not a popular pick, however the 1977 and 1978 Ford Country Squire made a statement. We had a midnight blue '78 growing up. 

Cytoboy
New Driver

Wow!  Two of three of the cars I have owned with hidden headlights made the list!  Only the 1967 RS Camaro remains in the stable, unfortunately.  A 1968 GTO was my first car ever, and was much too raw for a 16 year old boy ;). The one (of my priors) that did not make the list was my 1980 BMW M1, which I wish I never sold.  Personally, I believe the Alfa Romeo Montreal would make my list of coolest hideaways!

garygalaxy
Passenger

The Superbird  More engineering went into the rotating buckets than just a cover in front of the stationary lights.  Plus the Superbird is the meanest looking car in 1970

Srmert
Intermediate Driver

No Miata, Opel GT, Ferrari, or the Classic Cord? The Riv lamps are unique, but this appears to be a mostly American muscle car show!

KenO
Pit Crew

I realize you do not need my approval ... I did agree with the first 8 choices, but the Jag and Iso Grifo would not have made my list. I would not be able to keep down to 10, so I won't bother with a flourish of other choices ...
I yield back!

dbraun99
Pit Crew

66-67 Chargers did it better with rotating lights that looked good open or closed.

SuperCommando
Pit Crew

1968 Caprice...I could watch them all day long.  the 1st Gen Camaro RS's pretty cool too.  and the '66-'67 Rivera.  But def the Caprice first.