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:
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
SUPERBIRD There was more thought and engineering that went into the Superbird with the rotating buckets than just a cover going over the stationary lights. Plus the Superbird was the baddest looking car in 1970
On a list like this, I always consider the entire car that has the feature. And although I prefer the European version, I have to place my vote on the Ferrari 365GTB4. Aesthetically, many other cars have better design involving their hidden headlight treatment, but the "Daytona" is an icon for all over styling. A big leap from the typical Ferrari front-end oval grille.