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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/

260 REPLIES 260
digger
New Driver

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

PorscheMan
Pit Crew

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

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

dhaugh
Pit Crew

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
New Driver

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

RobK
New Driver

What about the 914 Porsche?

JohnnyD
Pit Crew

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
New Driver

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
New Driver

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

Mike_E_V
Intermediate Driver

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
New Driver

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

Tinkerah
Instructor

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

3Deuces
New Driver

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

BWeston
Pit Crew

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
Instructor

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
Intermediate Driver

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
Pit Crew

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
Pit Crew

'66 Olds Toranado

'68 Lincoln Continental MkIII

DrDog
New Driver

Cord? 

Safemark
Passenger

Cougar!

valhallakey
New Driver

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
New Driver

The 1974-75 Bricklin  

Scohn
New Driver

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
Pit Crew

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
Pit Crew

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
New Driver

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.

SuperCommando
Pit Crew

And the Miura!

Miketheump
Pit Crew

You forgot all about the Opel, pop up lights with the push and pull of a lever.

garygalaxy
Passenger

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

Fatcat32
Intermediate Driver

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.

77GL
Intermediate Driver

You missed the NA Miatas.

JagManBill
Pit Crew

gotta add my agreement with the missing 35/6 Cord Beverly/Westchester

turbojoe62
New Driver

1968–70 Dodge Charger!!!!