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:
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.
Didn't you guys do a story about someone who made an aftermarket hidden-headlight conversion kit for the Healy "Frogeye" Sprite? Now those were some interesting headlights!
Do people actually read and comprehend these articles? It said right at the start that they would not consider pop-up headlights in this article, only stationary lights!!! That means if the light bulb moves it would not be included. I hope an article on pop-ups is coming however.
The Riviera and the 68 Dodge Charger are two of my favorite designs. I had a '66 Olds Toronado, a very early car, which had vacum powered headlight covers. At night, at 60mph, the covers would lower, and the headlights would disappear. My dealer fixed with a kit supplied by the factory. Other than that the car was a sensation in its time, and still is.
1969-71 Lincoln Continental MK III - Pure Class and Perfect Fit and Finish. Few cars could match the presence of these cars in the day and even fewer can match it today.
How could you forget the 66-69 Riviera, Those would fold down and completely out of view when up, until you opened the hood, where you could see them pointing to the sky.
Love to see the list of pop-up headlights. 1958 - 1961 Austin Healey Sprite was planned to have hideaway headlights, but cost cutting modified them to be fixed in up position and created one of the most iconic designs of the era. Mine always elicits smiles where ever we go.
I get that the article is about headlights that are stationary and have moving covers but I still have to remind the Miata owners that their cars are admitted copies of the incredible styling of the Lotus Elan. IF the article was about movable headlights I would be reminded of my days with an Elan in the garage and my girlfriends OhPile parked out front. Poorly repaired crash damage resulted in the headlights on that piece of €#£#! left in the up position. My poor Elan had about 4 tubes of silicone smeared on the front frame crossmember that Chapman used for the vacuum tank. WOT at night saw those headlights rotating back to the park position. Still the most exhilarating car I ever drove on the street. Better than the Ferraris, Thunderbolts and street legal Can Am cars. But going through the Jack in the Box drive thru in a Mc Claren is something I’ll never forget.....
Candidate for most unsuccessful popups Lotus Elan. Engine produced barely enough vacuum to operate the lights. One of our customers was so frustrated with the lights not coming up (as he left the tavern) that he bashed in the covers. Very expensive fix even back in the 60's.
People. It's stationary headlights that are revealed when a panel opens up to reveal them.
I think almost every American automotive manufacturer had several cars on the market late 60's early 70's with hidden headlamps. Wagons, verts, big cars, small cars. It didn't matter. It was cool then and they're still cool now. Aside from the posted cars, the 67 Grand Prix, 70 Chrysler 300, and the 70 Plymouth Sport Fury are some of my faves.
These are great until they break, and they will. Bad solenoids, or in the case of my 2000 'Vette an expensive "computer," of which there were two, one for each headlight. Never again if I can avoid it!
Agree with the Opel GT comments! The Opel GT flip-headlights represent innovative mechanical genius without troublesome vacuum actuated or tricky electro-mechanical nonsense, not to mention expensive to repair on other makes. I just completed replacement of my second headlight motor for my C-5 Corvette! No wonder GM dropped folding headlights on the C-6 and beyond!