The ten coolest pop-up headlights

Once cool, now legislated out of existence, pop-up headlights were necessary to see the road ahead while maintaining a clean line. Some went beyond necessary to create wonderfully stylish designs. Here are the cars Jalopnik readers consider to have the ten coolest pop-up headlights.

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Photo Credit:TGIGreeny, flickr

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


10.) Ferrari Daytona

Suggested By: mercedesuberalles

Why They're Cool: The way they stay just barely visible underneath the front end of the car, pointing towards the ground just looks cool. The line that the turn signals follow from the flip-up main lights around to the side of the car just in front of the tires is one of the most distinctive parts of the Daytona. It's as if Ferrari said, "We know we've got to have them on the car, and you know we've got to have them on the car, but when we fold them down, let's just pretend they're not there."

Photo credit: Hemmings Blog

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


9.) Iso Grifo Series II

Suggested By: stoke

Why They're Cool: Like the Daytona, the Iso Grifo's headlights, even when retracted, are right out there. Except on the Ferrari, where there is at least an attempt at hiding them, the Iso menacingly displays them. The covers hang down over the bulbs like a set of relaxed eyelids. The car looks either sleepy or as if it is about to nonchalantly kick your ass. I'd watch out for the latter.

Photo credit: FurLined, flickr

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


8.) Cord 810

Suggested By: nst101

Why They're Cool: The 810 was the first car to feature retractable headlights, and when the car debuted in 1935, combined with the then-revolutionary styling on the rest of the car, they caused quite a splash. The lights were operated individually by hand cranks on the dashboard, so in theory they could be raised and lowered independently, making the car appear to wink.

Photo credit: Vintage Cars South Africa


7.) BMW 8 Series

Suggested By: e30m3

Why They're Cool: The 8 Series came on the market in 1989, when pop-up headlights were at the top of their game. In keeping with its sleek profile, the 8 Series' lights seemed to pop up, and then squint menacingly at the objects ahead, Dirty Harry-style. They're also notable for their triple-lamp operation, with three distinct sets of lights housed in each cluster.

Photo credit: YouTube


6.) Mercury Cougar

Suggested By: JackTrade

Why They're Cool: The electric shaver front grille treatment on the Cougar is one of the coolest front ends to roll off an American production line ever. It's so well executed, if you didn't know there were headlights back there, it appears completely solid. I believe the car here has had the mechanics of the system changed, but the operation remains the same: totally awesome.

Photo credit: YouTubt

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


5.) Porsche 928

Suggested By: AquaVelveeta

Why They're Cool: Harkening back to the British Bugeye cars from decades before, the 928 looks decidedly frog-like when its lights are on. In their resting position they sit staring awkwardly up at the sky, and then pop out and forward, revealing their bullet-like shape as they protrude from the normally streamlined hood. They're not particularly pretty, but they do light stuff up, so at least there's that.

Photo credit: The Car Spy, flickr

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


4.) Toyota 2000GT

Suggested By: rawtoast

Why They're Cool: You would expect the headlights on the 2000GT to do something really cool, like slide the panels backwards into the hood of the car and then corkscrew up out of the fenders, but no. Those little semicircular panels above the big running lights in the bumper are directly attached to the lamps underneath. When activated, the lights just pop up with tiny metal Japanese berets on. For a car that lovely, it's almost a little silly looking.

Photo credit: CarollaCarClub.com

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


3.) Lamborghini Miura

Suggested By: Jones Foyer

Why They're Cool: Many people don't know that the Miura's headlights move at all. They assume that somehow, the skyward-looking Miura points its lights at the road ahead as needed. Well, it does, but not through magic- the lights tip forward a few degrees, disrupting the beautiful lines of the car. But after dark, would you rather have your Miura look a little awkward for the night, or get crumpled into a tree?

Photo credit: Sumlin, flickr


2.) Opel GT

Suggested By: 3 pointed blue and white rings

Why They're Cool: It is said that Opel GT owners have huge right arms, from cranking over the headlights by hand. Normally, on stock cars, there's a big lever in the cockpit that flips the giant headlights from their hidden position to their working one (the featured car may have had this system replaced with an electronic one). The Opel holds the distinction of being the only car on today's list whose lights open by rotating longitudinally along the length of the car, and not parallel to the front axle. For sheer weirdness, the Opel earns its spot.

Photo credit: YouTube

The ten coolest pop-up headlights


1.) Acura NSX

Suggested By: coll9947

Why They're Cool: Though eventually the cool pop-ups would get replaced by more aerodynamic fared-in lamps, the original NSX had some of the coolest lights out there. Too cool, in fact, to house big ugly lights, so they only pop out a little- keeping airflow smooth and tidy, as well as giving off an attitude. The NSX was the everyday supercar, so good lights were of course necessary, and the pop-ups look classier and more reserved than the gaudy, bulbous built-in ones that came later.

Photo credit: naranjopino, flickr