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Hidden headlamp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hidden headlamps, also commonly known as pop-up headlamps, pop-up headlights, flip-eye headlamps, hideaway headlights, are a form of automotive lighting and an automotive styling feature that conceals an automobile's headlamps when they are not in use.

Depending on the design, the headlamps may be mounted in a housing that rotates so as to sit flush with the front end as on the Porsche 928, may retract into the hood and/or fenders as on the 1963–2004 Chevrolet Corvette, or may be concealed behind retractable or rotating grille panels as on the Dodge Charger, Mercury Cyclone, or the 1960s Buick Riviera, which pioneered the feature.


Hidden headlamps first appeared simultaneously on the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A Ferrari Berlinetta, car displayed at the Musée National de l'Automobile in Mulhouse, and on the Cord 810 in 1936. Each unit had a crank on its side of the dashboard, which was turned by hand to bring out the headlamps when needed. Electric powered hidden headlamps were pioneered in GM's concept car in 1938, the Buick Y-Job, and first appeared in a production car on Chrysler Corporation's 1942 DeSoto.

The feature's popularity has waxed and waned over time. Hidden headlamps regained popularity in the mid-to-late 1960s, in Europe but particularly in the US where aerodynamic headlamps were not permitted. A relatively large variety of cars incorporated hidden headlamps in the 1970s, 1980s, and up to the early 1990s. Subsequent legislation led to hidden headlamps falling increasingly out of favor.

For a long time manufacturers used hidden headlamps to get around headlight height regulations in the United States; for instance Toyota exported their retractable headlight version of the AE86, known domestically as the Sprinter Trueno, in favour of their Corolla Levin, as the former had higher headlamp height, enough to satisfy US regulations, rather than raise body height, which affected handling.


US laws now permit aerodynamic headlamps, relative to which hidden headlamps represent added cost, weight, and complexity as well as reliability concerns as cars age. Internationalized ECE auto safety regulations have also recently incorporated pedestrian-protection provisions restricting protuberances from car bodies, making it more difficult and expensive to design compliant pop-up headlamps.

The last time pop-up headlamps appeared on a volume-production car was in 2004 when both the Lotus Esprit and C5 Corvette ended production. Development of both projector beam headlamps — like those on the 1990 Nissan Z — and more efficient, bright LED headlamps of small size will most likely eliminate the need for concealed headlamps altogether, though composite headlamps containing small halogen bulbs offering enough freedom of styling have already replaced them in the mainstream.

List of cars with hidden or pop-up headlights

Production cars

Concept cars

Race cars

Other vehicles with pop-up headlights

Keisei AE-100 Skyliner
Keisei AE-100 Skyliner
Honda Spacy 125 Striker
Honda Spacy 125 Striker


See also


External links

This page was last edited on 31 October 2020, at 01:31
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