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:
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.
Oops, I am one contributor who is guilty of not paying attention that subject is about hidden, "fixed" stationary headlights, thank you to those who made me aware. Like most I read quickly but lingered on what is important, vintage car pictures. 1963-67 Corvette should definitely be in any hidden though mobile headlight, future topic. As fixed go I remember everyone thought my headlight grills looked so classy on my 1967 Cougar and the fact that it had corresponding grills over the rear taillights aesthetically just completed the look. Also taillights were good enough without the grills for the back of the 1967 Shelby.
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.
I saw a few cars that should not have been placed above one of the first and best looking of all cars listed not only for the design of the hide-a-way headlights but the whole symmetry of the car and how the headlight buckets are actually part of it's overall shape. 1963-1967 Corvette
My first car was a 68 Dodge Charger. The headlamp doors didn't work when I bought it used in 1974, but I would manually open and close them by hand because I thought the car looked so much better with the covers down. Wasn't smart enough of a mechanic at 16 years old to actually know how to fix them to work properly. I do remember a few nights driving home from work with people flashing their lights at me because I forgot to flip the doors open. Still one of my favorite looking cars. Wish people would have read the beginning of this article so they would not be commenting about vehicles with pop up headlamps instead of fixed covered headlamps. Save the pop ups for a future article.
We had a couple of really cool Fords here in Australia with that feature. The '73 - '76 Ford P5 LTD and its close relative the '73 - '76 Ford Landau. Both were based around the Australian Falcon and were powered by the 351 V8.
I'm noticing that most of the cars mentioned below as being missed either had their headlights pop up, or swivel up, into place (Opel GT, C2-C5 Corvettes, etc.). By the opening paragraph, this list is limited to cars where the headlights themselves were firmly bolted in place and a cover was moved to expose the lamps.
The '85 Nissan 300zx was also adorned with partially hidden headlights. Mine still revealed enough glass to catch a few stone chips from all the pick-up trucks sharing the roads of Texas. Then there's the Miata... thus the styling cue continues.
I've owned 50 cars and trucks in my 49 years of driving and only 1 with hidden lights; a first generation RX-7. They were period-correct and functional but I always thought they looked a bit dorky when open.
My favorite? '66-'67 Riviera. I liked how those quads dropped down. That whole car was so sleek.
My least favorite? '80 Lincoln Mark VI. Goofy round parking lights on the headlamp doors. The opposite of the Riv mentioned above; an awkward car from most angles.