The 5 Most Rad British Cars with Hide-Away Headlights

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While cars with retractable headlights may have gone the way of roller discos and Space Invaders, they’re still way cool. Nothing quite said sophisticated and stylish like a pair of headlights that disappeared when no longer needed. Then came practicality, safety, and cost-cutting.

Well, boo on that – pop-up headlights are still sexy AF.

Here are the five most rad British cars that had hide-away headlights. If you want to read a more complete list, you can find the thirty most beautiful cars with retractable headlights over at

car with retractable headlights
Photo by Nick Russill on Unsplash

Back to our list:

  1. The Ginetta G33. Ginetta was known for being the plucky underdog with a penchant for building lightweight, performance-focused machines. Pop-up headlights arrived with the G33 model. Ginetta wasn’t about to be left out of the party. It was like they were saying, “Sure, we’re serious about performance, but let’s not forget to have a bit of fun while we’re at it.”
  2. The Lotus Eclat. Few cars embody the quirkiness and charm of British motoring in the ’70s. The Eclat wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill Lotus; it was the company’s grand tourer, meant to make you look good while munching miles. Its retractable headlights brought personality to the car. The Eclat appeared to have a cheeky grin during the day. When the sun dipped below the horizon, the car took on a focused and determined gaze. Amazing.
  3. The Spectre R42. OMG. Here is a creation that tiptoes the line between sheer lunacy and motoring brilliance. It’s not your average supercar; it’s a flamboyant dance on the edge of reason. A beautiful machine, dynamic and aggressive, which then steals the show when the headlights emerge. The R42 is the embodiment of British eccentricity on four wheels.
  4.  The Aston Martin Volante Zagato. A rolling work of art. Venus de Milo on wheels. A topless beauty that revels in the open air, flashing its charm with a set of beautiful retractable headlights. Every lumen available is required when the pedal is mashed, and the V12 ignited. Few mortals own this masterpiece, as only 37 were ever made.
  5. The Jaguar XJ220. No list of British cars with retractable headlights would be complete without mention of the XJ220. A hypercar that stirs the soul of any petrolhead with a heartbeat. The XJ220 wasn’t just a speed merchant; it was a spectacle. The retractable headlights weren’t merely a design choice; they were a statement. The XJ220 wasn’t just a car; it was an epoch-defining moment in automotive history.
lamborghini countach
Photo by Hoyoun Lee on Unsplash

Retractable headlights may be a thing of the past, but they’ll never be forgotten. They remind us of days when automotive style was more than just colours and lines – there were mechanisms behind the scenes. The complexity and nuances of the hide-away headlight transport us to a time when life was, perhaps, more simple.

Thanks for reading this article on the five most rad British cars that had hide-away headlights. This was just the beginning, however. Read about the 30 most beautiful cars with retractable headlights that we’d love to own (and five we wouldn’t dare) over at Cheers!

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Kehler
    January 10, 2024 at 21:28 — Reply

    Thanks for publishing this article! What’s your favourite British car with retractable headlights? We love the Lotus, the Spectre, but our fav would have to be the Jag. Cheers! Steve from

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