Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Hidden Headlights

A few days ago, we asked you about retractable, or “pop-up” headlights, that bastion of dated automotive culture that shot upwards like a star in the 70s and 80s before plummeting back to Earth, joining landau roofs, whitewall tires, and vannin’ in the bin of tired automotive fads. The last car to use them was the last-generation Corvette in 2004, because not even tradition (albeit a tradition only defined 10 years into its lifespan) could outwit pedestrian ratings and aerodynamics.
But there’s a difference between headlights mounted on the hood that pop upwards as “air brakes,” and hidden headlights that protrude forwards from behind a shadowy grille. Yesterday’s Mercury Cougar featured these masked denizens of the night, for example. As did the Dodge Charger, which goes a long way to explain its legendary menace, favored by cads, rapscallions and scoundrels alike. The big, boxy, inherently menacing cars of the 1960s featured these in droves, as a way to mix up an otherwise dull slab of chrome grille. But it’s possible that more than just B-Bodies sported these trick lights. And if there’s anybody that could name some, it’s, well…who else?
DIFFICULTY: with muscle cars, like baking a birthday cake. Sans muscle cars, like baking a birthday cake for Eugénie Blanchard, in the dark, atop Mt. Rainier.

I'm a dynamiter, I'm a prizefighter.

[Image sources: Allpar, The Passionate Pursuit of Awesome]

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  1. muthalovin Avatar

    <img src=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3096/3856245720_850dd20556.jpg?ei=s45tTJ3pO4P58AbbtZibDQ">

  2. lilwillie Avatar

    So we aren't going to let the hideaways slide in with the pop-ups.
    First Gen Camaro then!

    1. Alff Avatar

      Ah, you already took the best one. It's almost as if you had one nearby, or something.

    2. longrooffan Avatar

      I am guilty of lumping them together. And a thanks to the Hooniverse Overlords for straightening we Hoons out.

  3. engineerd Avatar

    The Talbot Lago had hidden headlights…does it count for this?
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/4844181847_cbf43d7cd3.jpg&quot; width="500" height="333" alt="1938 Talbot Lago" />
    Or, a more traditional setup, is the Di Dia 150.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4140/4829324722_19ac08c533.jpg&quot; width="500" height="333" alt="1960 Di Dia 150" />

  4. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    Mid-seventies LTDs were available both ways…
    <img src="http://flee.com/ltd/brochure/75_ford_ltd_brochure_cover.jpg&quot; style="width: 431px; height: 549px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

  5. Mike_the_Dog Avatar

    Late-sixties Thunderchickens, like this '67 Four-Door.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg/800px-1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg&quot; style="width: 400px; height: 300px; border: 0pt none;" alt="imgTag">

    1. tonyola Avatar

      And the Mark V and Mark VI. In 1981, Lincoln offered low-powered "coach lamps" on the headlight doors of the Mark VI. Odd and ugly.
      <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2496/1181/31238090001_large.jpg"&gt;

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        ^^so not a fan of 70's Fords^^

      2. TurboBrick Avatar

        I'm not paying full price for that, it's obviously been rearended by a Ford Probe. Those eyes can't hide the truth.

  6. tonyola Avatar

    I posted a 1968 Chevy Caprice with hidden headlights a couple of days ago, so here's the only other year that the big Chevy offered hidden lights – 1969 Caprice. Also a rare option.
    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2010/01/23/15/06/1969_chevrolet_caprice-pic-3953291636233926076.jpeg"&gt;

  7. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    The BMW Gina concept's headlights are hiddent within their own, er, vagheens? Always clever those Germans… .

  8. Goingincirclez Avatar

    Wow, 3 days in a row? At this rate The Angstmobile will be spent straight to Fappeth.
    <img src="http://goingincirclez.com/FGImages/2008_Cruises/IMG_4103.jpg&quot; width=700>

  9. tonyola Avatar

    You don't often see these anymore – 1972 Dodge Monaco. The '73 is similar except for bigger bumper guards.
    <img src="http://www.fuselage.de/dod72/72dod_press01b.jpg&quot; width="400/">
    The '72 Plymouth Fury is rare now too. Plymouth also offered hidden lights in '70 and '71.
    <img src="http://www.fuselage.de/ply72/72ply_press01b.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    1. idiotking Avatar

      I'm sorry, but those are just some bad-ass looking cars. The Fury looks like it's sporting a pair of jet engine intakes.

  10. longrooffan Avatar

    Cougar Eliminator
    <img src="http://ford-rules.webs.com/1970-Mercury-Cougar-Eliminator.jpg&quot; end>
    Not that I want Cougars to be eliminated. They're kind of fun to be around.

  11. poldak2 Avatar

    Oldsmobile Toronado
    [Ed: Per the request, the hotlink was pulled. Same picture is below.]
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/1/18/20090327030051!4th-Oldsmobile-Toronado.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:4th-Oldsmo

    1. AteUpWithMotor Avatar

      Hey, could you not hotlink that? It makes my server unhappy. The same image is on Flickr, so there's no problem with using that:
      <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3210/2997986499_846ca90d68.jpg&quot; width="500" height="375" alt="1968 Oldsmobile Toronado front" />

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Dad had a gold '77 Grand Marquis Brougham sedan. What a pig that was to drive. Ford's styling in the '70s was really baroque and overwrought. Who else would have put fake padding and crests on headlight covers?

      1. Alff Avatar

        It's cool precisely because it's so overwrought. We'll not see the likes of '70s American Automotive design again, thank heavens. That said, there are a number of underpowered heavily adorned pigs from that era that I would enjoy having around to piss off the neighbors.

  12. Alff Avatar

    How would Encyclopedia Hoonatica classify the bizarre setup on the Corvair Monza GT concept?
    <img src="http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/corvair_monza_gt_5.jpg"&gt;

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Er, effed up.

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        I was going to go with the ever-popular "ugly," but "effed up" works just as well.

        1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

          I honestly believe that "ugly" would be to do it a disservice. Lamps closed, this is pretty as a picture. Open, it's like looking at the insides of a lobster.

          1. tonyola Avatar

            Reminds me of the Johnny 5 robot from that cheesy '80s Short Circuit movie.
            <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3189/2618683184_8d05aa90e8_o.jpg"&gt;

  13. longrooffan Avatar

    And let's not forget the late 60's gen of the Eldorado
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/1960-1969-cadillac-8.jpg"end&gt;

  14. joshuman Avatar

    I can see Mt. Rainier! Well, I could yesterday. There are too many clouds today.
    From what little I just learned of Eugénie, she would be very unlikely to climb atop it and would also very much enjoy a cake. I wonder if she also likes Desoto autos? She was 46 years old when this 1942 example rolled off the assembly line.
    <img src="http://www.huffreport.com/archives/junkyards/gems/1942%20Desoto.jpg"&gt;

  15. dustin_driver Avatar

    This is neat.
    [youtube nm0Av0YdwYs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm0Av0YdwYs youtube]

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Shame we can file that in "awesome things we will never see the likes of again".

    2. bzr Avatar

      I never knew they actually worked like that…that's the coolest thing I've seen all day, and I must have a Camaro of that vintage in my life.

      1. dustin_driver Avatar

        If you wanted one after that little video, you'll REALLY want one after this:
        [youtube IsL47VB5ov8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsL47VB5ov8 youtube]

  16. joshuman Avatar
  17. Pleco Avatar

    Just about every late 1980's Honda… Example? 1989 Prelude, 1987 Accord…
    OH! SUBARU ALCYONE (aka Subaru XT)'
    Also, 80's Nissans.
    Nissan 200SX, Nissan 240SX, Nissan 300ZX (Z31), that weird

  18. NMUSpidey Avatar

    This totally counts, right? Even though it's a concept? Well, even if not (and even though I'm not really fond of BMWs), it's totally awesome.[youtube 0pwabDeqVi8&feature=search http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pwabDeqVi8&feature=search youtube]

    1. Alff Avatar

      Based on the way the hood opens, it should be the BMW vaGINA Light Visionary Model Concept Car

  19. OA5599 Avatar

    Uh, oh. I had posted the 66-67 Charger lights to the other entry.
    Oh, well, if that was wrong, I'll repost my other submission here, too. Buick Y-job.
    <img width="600" src="http://www.ridelust.com/wp-content/uploads/1938_buick_y-job.jpg"&gt;
    Phantoms doesn't have visible headlights in the daytime, but that's because they're removable, so I'm not sure if that counts.
    <img width="600" src="http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photo_StoryLevel/071127/pb_071127_phantomcar_shulman_3p.photoblog900.jpg"&gt;
    1956 Packard Predictor
    <img src="http://www.madle.org/predictor3.jpg"&gt;
    I'm not sure if this counts or not.
    <img src="http://missloumotormafia.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/935-nice-headlights.jpg"&gt;

    1. bzr Avatar

      They really called it the Predictor? A bit pretentious of them, eh? Also, it didn't seem to predict much (except the Edsel, maybe).

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Predictor was an accurate name. Packard was planning all-new cars for 1957 or 1958 that had styling like the show car, all-round torsion bars, and a 400 CID engine. Unfortunately, the money ran out before the cars reached production, but the Predictor was intended as a teaser. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1957-and-1958-packa

  20. Tomsk Avatar

    Behold, the 1970 Chrysler 300 Hurst Edition!
    <img src="http://www.lov2xlr8.no/visitor/bilder/300hurst.jpg&quot; width="624" height="421" />

  21. superbadd75 Avatar

    Best ever example – the '65 Buick Rivvy.
    <img src=http://oldcarmanualproject.com/pix/Buick/images/65Riviera.jpg>

    1. fisheater Avatar

      Video to demonstrate how great these headlights are.
      [youtube fKTAVWYfSnE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKTAVWYfSnE youtube]

      1. superbadd75 Avatar

        Damn, that's just a glorious sight. I love that car. Just awesome, and so ahead of its time. Thank you for that awesome vid!

  22. skitter Avatar

    Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante. Many were later converted to the coupe's fixed headlights.
    I can't imagine why.
    <img src="http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt237/jskitter/hooniverse/zagatoclosed.jpg&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt237/jskitter/hooniverse/zagatoopen.jpg&quot; width="500">