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Top 20 Car Headlights Based On Appearance

Vukasin HerbezMay 9, 2019

One of the obligatory features every car has is the headlights. In fact, most people don’t think about them and even take them for granted. But the truth is that headlight design has come a long way from those petroleum lamps in the early cars, all the way to those laser LED headlights of the latest models.

Over the years, the basic design of headlights has changed along with the technology. There are ordinary external headlamps and pop-up or hideaway units, as well as elegant and aerodynamic headlights. So keep reading to discover the 20 most interesting and innovative headlight designs in the car industry. Some may not necessarily be technically advanced, but they are cool and memorable, too.

  1. Alfa Romeo Brera

They never sold the Alfa Brera in the U.S., so it represents one of the forbidden fruits of the European car scene. Pininfarina designed it and the car has a great heritage. Also, it comes with a 3.2-liter V6 engine, intelligent all-wheel drive and, as with all Alfas, questionable quality. However, it also features an interesting and aggressive six-headlight design, which most car fans find irresistible.

  1. Dodge Charger

The first two generations of the Charger featured a special hideaway design with concealed headlights. They mounted them inside the grille with a panel that hides the headlights when not in use. From the outside, it looks like the Charger has no headlights at all. And that just amplifies the menacing design and aggressive stance of this quintessential muscle car.

  1. Opel GT

Opel designed the GT as a “baby Corvette,” with its covered headlights and curvy Coke bottle design. It had the same twin round taillights and silhouette, even appearing on the market at the same time, which was in the late ‘60s.

However, on the front of the Opel GT, there is an interesting patent. Instead of the classic pop up headlights, the GT had an innovative design that revolved the headlight assembly and turned the lights on. And most drivers that that was cool, indeed.

  1. Cizeta Moroder V16T

The main feature of this obscure beast was the monstrous V16 engine they made out of two flat-plane crank V8 units and mounted transversely behind the cabin. The power output is an astonishing 560 HP with an equally impressive performance.

However, the V16 T also had four individual pop up headlights that dominated the front end. And that was the unique feature that made this supercar so recognizable.

  1. Buick Riviera

The 1963 Riviera had four regular headlights, but its 1965 model had fantastic clamshell-type headlights they hid behind the covers on each side of the grille. The design was so unique and interesting that the Riviera immediately earned a place in car history. However, it was also quite expensive to produce, so GM never repeated this feature.

  1. Lamborghini Miura

Many automotive enthusiasts claim the Miura was the first proper supercar in the world. And to be honest, it has all the right ingredients like a fantastic design and crazy power and performance numbers. However, due to the high price tag, they produced it in limited quantities.

The Miura also had several unique technical solutions like the design of the headlamps. At first, they look normal, but once the driver switched the lights on, the headlamps move forward to an upright position.

  1. Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

At first glance, there is nothing special about the V12 Vanquish headlights. But what those units lack in technology, they have in style. They look elegant and are an integral part of Aston`s design language. But, they don’t steal any attention from what is under the hood, a fabulously naturally-aspirated V12 engine.

  1. Acura NSX

The main problem with popup headlights is that the car is not as aerodynamic when the driver turns the lights on. The reason is that the headlights ruin the wedge shape of the front end and create drag. However, when Acura presented the NSX in 1989, everybody was so smitten by the beautiful lines, powerful performance and elegant design, they forgot about this small detail.

  1. Audi R8

The sports car world was surprised when Audi presented the first generation R8. Nobody expected such a bold move from Audi as well as such a great sports car. The R8 had numerous technological firsts.

One was the headlights with LED running lights. Today, lots of new models have similar headlights, but Audi was the first. And best of all, they managed to perfectly incorporate it into their everlasting design.

  1. Chevrolet Corvette C4

In an effort to save the Corvette, Chevrolet realized that the C4 needed to be perfect. And it almost was with its new design, digital dash, aerodynamic profile and good performance. They filled the C4 with lots of new features, and one of them was the popup headlights.

However, they were not the simple popup headlights you could find on other cars. Instead, the C4 has a rotating design that turned the headlight assembly a full 180 degrees.

  1. BMW 5-Series E39

Even though the design of the BMW 5-Series E39 model was quite ordinary, its headlights deserve a place on this list. In 2001 when this model received its mid-life redesign, BMW offered its innovative “Angel Eyes” headlights.

In the daytime, they were sexy running lights in the form of shiny rings. They perfectly complemented the design of the front end, starting a trend among car manufacturers in this class.

  1. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Hideaway headlights became a famous Corvette trademark design feature in 1963 when Chevrolet presented the Stingray or C2 model. The overall design was advanced and soon become legendary, but the headlights had a major part.

They weren’t the classic popup headlights, but rather an interesting patent. The headlamp assembly would rotate upwards, revealing two round lamps. They were so popular that Corvette kept the closed headlights all the way until the 2005 model year.

  1. Porsche 928

The 928 was a Gran Turismo coupe with a powerful V8 engine in the front and a transaxle gearbox. It came with the ideal weight distribution, an intelligent suspension and a space-age design. In contrast to the 911, which still had some VW Beetle cues, the 928 looked like it came from another planet.

Those round headlights must have stolen the idea from the Miura. But the 928 took it even further with its big, round lamps in an upward position when the lights are on.

  1. Citroen DS

The Citroen DS was one of the most advanced cars they ever built as well as an enormous success for the company. Citroen has made over 1.5 million of those fantastic, highly advanced sedans with their self-leveling hydropneumatic suspensions. Also, they came with front-wheel drive, a futuristic interior and an aerodynamic design.

To lighten the weight, they have an aluminum hood and plastic roof. However, the DS had one more interesting feature. The headlights followed the steering wheel motion and helped the driver see behind the curves.

  1. Pontiac GTO

Stacked headlights look cool on any vehicle. However, on the 1967 Pontiac GTO, they look absolutely stunning and are a big part of its appeal. During the ‘60s GM used the stacked design on several models including the Buick Riviera, Cadillac and GTO.

Interestingly, all of those cars have become icons of the industry. However, the ‘67 GTO is still one of most car enthusiast’s favorites.

  1. Porsche 718

Daytime running LED lights are the standard of the industry nowadays. However, most manufacturers use simple LED strips or a bunch of LED bulbs. Porsche, on the other hand, uses the minimalistic, elegant solution of just four LED bulbs per headlight. And that creates a clean look that is appealing to customers.

  1. Tucker Torpedo

Among the numerous innovations and improvements that Tucker presented with its 1948 Torpedo, the central headlight was one of the most visible. Tucker wanted to make their car extremely safe, and not just for passengers but also for other motorists.

So, their designers and engineers gave it a third central headlight that followed the movement of the steering wheel. And that was space age stuff for the late ‘40s. Most car fans feel it is too bad that the idea never lived up to its full potential.

  1. Jaguar XJ220

When they released it, the XJ220 was the world’s fastest road-going model with an enormous price tag. Under the hood was new 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 unit with 542 HP. The design of the car was fantastic with it’s flowing lines. And the wide stance emphasized its performance and speed.

But if you think the XJ220 has proper popup headlights, think again. This supercar has regular double headlamps with a special cover that slides to the side when you turn your lights on.

  1. Alfa Romeo Montreal

Alfa Romeo built the Montreal on the Giulia chassis with a timeless Bertone body. And with its high revving V8 engine up front, the Montreal was fast, stylish and exclusive. Alfa introduced it in the early ‘70s, and the Montreal was bound to be exotic.

Thanks to the Bertone design studio, it had a recognizable and unique design. But one of the most recognizable design features were the headlights behind the louvers. Surprisingly, they didn’t limit visibility at night.

  1. Cord 812

The most famous Cord was the fantastic 812. It featured Art Deco styling, front wheel drive and a powerful V8 engine. Despite being a favorite ride of the Hollywood elite, Cord was forced to close its doors in 1937. However, before that, it presented the 812 model.

The 812 set new standards in car production with several innovative components. They included the first popup headlights on any production car, which was sci-fi technology by ‘30s standards.

These are the 20 cars with the coolest headlights ever produced. Most had a hand in the evolution of car headlights and the designs of today. Still, most car fans would like to see the older designs make a comeback – with a modern twist.

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