Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Center-Mounted Headlights

Mounting a headlight along the center-line of the vehicle is one of those recurrent ideas that seem offer plausible advantages with a minimum of technical difficulty, but for some reason simply don’t become popular, either with the public or with designers. But there have been a number of production cars that have tried it, and they are subject of our encyclopedia entry for today. We want your help compiling a list of all the cars with a center-mounted headlight.
The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Single-headlight cyclopes or third-eye overachievers are both allowable.
  • “Headlight” means “headlight.” It can be auxiliary in nature, but it must be something intended primarily to provide forward illumination, not just a marker/position light or glowing hood ornament.
  • Likewise, it needs to be conspicuously in the center of the vehicle: in other words, lighty-uppy stuff that’s only vaguely centralized and multiple element light bars that uniformly traverse the whole front of the vehicle don’t count, even if there is technically a point of illumination along the center-line.
  • Production cars only. No concept cars, one-offs, customs or race cars.
  • Original equipment only. No aftermarket accessories.
  • Trucks, both light and heavy-duty, are allowed, as long as they are road-legal. No construction machinery, mining equipment, or lawn mowers.
  • As far as motorcycles go, you know that chuckle-then-slap animated GIF? It’s just waiting for YOU, pal.

Difficulty: Medium Rare. For some of you, the low-hanging fruit on this one is already out of reach.
How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.
Image Sources: wikipedia.org & bbc.com.

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75 responses to “Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Center-Mounted Headlights”

  1. P161911 Avatar

    Does the first gen Mercury Sable qualify? http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/48/4621/25119810001_large.jpg

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      …multiple element light bars that uniformly traverse the whole front of the vehicle don’t count, even if there is technically a point of illumination along the center-line.
      I’m guessing no.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Exactly the car I was thinking about when I wrote that exclusion.

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          Oh. I had something different in mind for traversing, multiple element light bars.

  2. Monkey10is Avatar

    What are the rules this week about ‘airborne equivalents’?
    (Douglas B-20 Havoc ‘Turbinlite’.)

  3. Monkey10is Avatar

    Bristol 404

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Courtesy Imbed,( though I did get 404 Not Found for a while) 🙂

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Are you sure that’s OE? Those turning center headlights were a popular add-on. Here’s a nearly identical one on one of my boss’s Studebakers:

  4. Monkey10is Avatar

    Zis 112

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      woops… this definitely falls foul of the “no concepts” rule.

  5. Monkey10is Avatar

    Low hanging fruit in the ‘light trucks category’; the Scammel Scarab

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      …and DEFINITELY qualifying as a ‘light truck’ (and definitely NOT getting me a slap in the ‘motorcycle category’) is the Reliant 7cwt

    2. Monkey10is Avatar

      and early versions of the Piaggio Ape

    3. Kiefmo Avatar

      I’m wracking my brain trying to conceive of how that severely-recessed light could have any sort of decent spread.

      1. Monkey10is Avatar

        I know; and when the rest of the vehicle is a series of such rational design choices…

      2. outback_ute Avatar

        I don’t think it would have been too much of an issue, due to the (lack of) speed of the truck!

  6. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Early 1980’s Subarus had a flip-up headlamp under the Subaru badge.

      1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
        The Real Number_Six

        We petitioned my dad so hard to get a GL in 1984 but he bought a Buick Century instead. Good thing for him – Ontario road salt melted most GLs into oxidized heaps by 1989. Instead, Dad just had to suffer through multiple changes of steering rack and CV joints.

      2. karonetwentyc Avatar

        But why settle for only three lights when, with judicious application of both dealer-supplied and aftermarket accessories, you can have no fewer than seven!

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      WHAT?! I had no idea!!!!! I now have a feverish desire for an old GL

    2. Batshitbox Avatar

      I had completely forgotten about that.

  7. Citric Avatar

    Fiat played around with it in the ’50s. Here’s a Fiat 1100-103 from 1954.

  8. engineerd Avatar

    You didn’t disallow locomotives.
    Canadian National 6213
    CN 6213 parked outside the old roundhouse in Toronto. It’s a Northern Type U-2-g.

      1. Guest Avatar

        I want a Ferguson (grey), and I have a Minneapolis Moline U (yellow) and an Allis Chalmers Roto-Baler (orange implement), so needless to say, I enjoy this picture very much!

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I suppose “railroad” is a type of “road.” But now you have to list nearly every locomotive ever, smartypants.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Hehehehe…yeah, it would be easier to show ones that don’t have centermount headlamps.

  9. engineerd Avatar

    The every so beautiful 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K roadster by Prahl.
    1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Special Roadster by Prahl

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      I thought those qualified as personal flotation devices rather than headlamps.

      1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

        I think the number of terms for them is borderline limitless.

  10. tonyola Avatar

    1915 Briscoe

  11. oldcarjunkie Avatar


  12. Alff Avatar

    Zis one…

    1. karonetwentyc Avatar

      Restraining myself is taking every bit of rezilience that I have.

  13. Alff Avatar

    The big bus. Years ago, some guy named Ben wrote about it. The comments are a bit of a trip down memory lane…http://jalopnik.com/5457886/whatever-happened-to-the-cyclops

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Wow, Manwich. Haven’t thought about him in years. Turns out that he’s stuck it out over there and is still active on Jalo…Kinj…whatever it is that he’s technically active on over there.

  14. kogashiwa Avatar

    Can I get a waiver until it’s actually in production? Also, *technically* not *quite* centre-mounted.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Not centre mounted, but, brilliantly, in line with the driver’s head. Took me a while to realise.

  15. 0A5599 Avatar

    Does it need to be symmetric, or will a singular additional light in the grill count? Super rare Chrysler Super-Lite.

  16. karonetwentyc Avatar

    Seeing how far I can push my luck on this one with the Peugeot 402, largely because it gives me an excuse to post a picture of the 402 Eclipse.

  17. desmo Avatar

    Hanomag Kommissbrot (1920´s)

  18. karonetwentyc Avatar

    Surprised we haven’t had the Rumpler Tropfenwagen yet. As featured in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Attention Hooniverse editorial staff…

  19. karonetwentyc Avatar

    And now the Rumpler Tropfenauto. Can’t think of another vehicle that used stacked dual centre headlights.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      “Vehicles” is pretty wide open. You’d be surprised.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Welp, nobody should be above the law, I suppose…

        1. karonetwentyc Avatar

          To be fair to you, I did leave myself open for that one…

  20. desmo Avatar

    Oh, I just found another one: Bruetsch Mopetta (1952) with a 50cc scooter engine.
    I knew that I had seen this before, but I took it for a Peel P50 “convertible”. Which it isn´t.

  21. Tomsk Avatar

    The ’67 and ’68 Shelby Mustangs (some of them, anyway) had separate high and low beam fixtures: The lows resided in the stock outboard locations, while the highs were “floating” side by side in the middle of the grille.

  22. NapoleonSolo Avatar

    I hesitate to point this out, but the Rover JET1 Turbine prototype in your opening photo does not meet your own criteria since it was not a production vehicle. The earliest production P4 was the Rover 75 we lovingly call the Cyclops.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Came to post but you beat me. 🙂

      1. NapoleonSolo Avatar


    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      The production version had the center headlight, so I’m invoking The Rule Of Cool.

    1. NapoleonSolo Avatar

      Foul!!!! That’s not a headlight. It’s a tongue.

    1. NapoleonSolo Avatar


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