This morning, my seven-year-old asked me a question. A question a child would ask, but not a childish question: “Do any trucks have pop-up headlights?” Normally, I can answer his car questions pretty easily—how many wheels did an Isetta have, are there new Pontiacs, and so on. But this one stopped me cold. Did anyone make a truck with pop-up headlights?
I’m sure there’s plenty of custom and modified trucks out there rocking hidden headlights, but I’m thinking factory-built trucks. No full-size pickup truck I’m aware of ever used them, and even most car-based trucks that seem like the most probable candidate for pop-up lights (I’m saying pop-up, but thanks to outrage in the comments, I should qualify that I’m counting hidden, covered, or any sort of light that disappears in some mechanical manner), like a Dodge Rampage, always wore their lights proud and exposed.
Still, the automotive universe is vast and mysterious—there must have been at least one attempt to bring the magic of hidden lights to a pickup truck, right?
And there was. I know it’s a risky thing to say anything definitive about cars or trucks, especially with the disturbingly well-informed readership we have, but I’m pretty sure there’s only been one mainstream, mass-market, mass-produced, factory-built truck-like vehicle that came with hidden headlights, and that vehicle is the fifth-generation Ford Ranchero, made from 1970-1971.
That era of Ranchero had a bunch of stylish options, including fake wood trim (the Ranchero Squire) and that holy truck grail, an optional grille with covered headlights.
Look at that lack of visible headlights. I seem to mostly see the covered lights with the synthwood-enhanced Squire trim, so perhaps it was commonly included with that package?
So, from what I can tell, if you want a pickup truck with factory hidden/pop-up headlights, you have precisely one model and two years of production available: A 1970 or ‘71 Ford Ranchero. That’s it.
I’m sort of hoping one of you will prove me wrong and find something I’ve missed, but I’m racking my brain and e-racking the internet’s brain and so far, this is all I’ve got.
So, Otto, I guess the answer is yes, there were trucks with pop-up headlights. But just barely.