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Four Car Models Famous For Their Pop-Up Headlights

Which make and model does it suit best?


A pop-up headlight is a lamp that typically hides the headlights and pops out only when necessary to illuminate the road ahead. Since the headlights are usually hidden, the front part looks smooth. When protruding, the appearance of the pop-up headlights provides a luxurious feel.

It looks romantic now that the pop-up headlights are gone, but they were a nuisance and caused headaches for manufacturers in the past. These pop-up headlights were created to comply with US regulations, not because of their design elements.

AE86 Trueno
AE86 Levin

Once a standard for US exports, why is it gone now?

The US, which only allows headlights that meet the standards, applied the same regulations to all imported vehicles. Therefore, pop-up headlights had to be used to sell cars in the US. Pop-up headlights were installed in the famous Toyota AE86 Treno that appeared in the animation Initial D. Regular headlights were installed inside the Toyota Levin’s body.

Afterward, it was not suitable for safety, as damage increased due to the protruding headlights when colliding with pedestrians. Additionally, the structure of opening and closing the headlights is inefficient and has a negative impact on fuel efficiency, so it is not currently being applied. Since it was only used for vehicles in the past, it feels more sensible. Let’s look at four vehicle models that match exquisitely with pop-up headlights.


Winking with the headlights

The first is the Honda Prelude.

This model is a front-wheel drive sports coupe produced from 1978 to 2001. The 3rd generation Prelude modified the headlight wiring to create a wink shape by pulling out only one side or repeatedly opening and closing the headlight to create the appearance of blinking. At one time, this model was not so popular that it could be purchased for around 3 million won ( about $ 2,253), but as vehicles equipped with pop-up headlights become rare, their prices are also rising.

Next is the Volvo 480.

It is a C-segment, compact passenger vehicle produced from 1986 to 1995 and is the only model in Volvo history with pop-up headlights. The sleek hood and square headlights are impressive. This design was considered to improve aerodynamic performance while applying pop-up headlights.

A collaboration between Lamborghini and BMW

The third is the Chevrolet Corvette C4.

It was a sports car produced from 1984 to 1996. The aerodynamic style contrasts the hood line, which seems to follow the airflow, with the angled front part. The combination of the horizontally thin front and headlamps is impressive. An early model of the Corvette C4 produced only 205 to 240 horsepower, but later models were equipped with the L98 V8 engine. The model had an LT5 engine that produced 405 horsepower just before discontinuation.

The fourth is BMW’s M1.

The M1 was a vehicle created to compete in racing competitions. To be more specific, it is a vehicle that BMW and Lamborghini decided to make jointly. Lamborghini was in charge of developing and producing the chassis, and its appearance had a wedge-shaped design closer to Lamborghini than the BMW model at the time. This model was completed after many twists and turns, including Lamborghini’s bankruptcy during production and BMW’s taking over production.

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