9 Best Cars With Pop-Up Headlights Ever Made – Impressive Old Cars

Cars with pop up headlights

Cars with pop-up headlights are among some of the top crazy innovations that the automobile industry has seen since its dawn. One might not be able to easily find new cars with flip-eye headlamps. But if you are interested, some eye-catching models from the past are worth looking at.

Pop headlights are a retro idea, but they became highly popular in the 1960s and 70s. However, the 1980s and 1990s were the peak period for cars with pop-up headlights. The Lotus Esprit and C5 Chevrolet Corvette were the last modern cars with pop-up lights that came out in 2004.

With the advancement in technology, enhancements in vehicles are common. Some trends tend to live longer, while some vanish in thin air without any trace. Pop-up headlights in cars are one of them. The trend survived for around four decades, making it among the most popular ones.

Today, many drivers wish to own a vehicle with such stylish features. However, there are no brand-new cars with pop-up headlights.

But do not get disheartened. We have brought you this list of nine cars with pop-up headlights that you can buy in 2023 in the used cars market.

Top 9 Affordable Cars With Pop-Up Headlights You Can Buy In 2023

Modernization and continuous advancement are why people who already own a car are eager to get a new one. Some live for the new upgrades, while others can not get enough of the retro vibes.

If you are among such old-trend lovers, owning a ride with pop-flip lights has crossed your mind. The best thing is you can now make it a reality. Today, we bring you nine old cars with pop-up headlights that were hit in the yesteryears and will let you live the era with style & class.

Let us explore them individually and find you a ride most suitable for your taste.

1. 1984-1989 Chevrolet Corvette (C5)

cars with pop up headlights

The first car on this list of top picks of cars with pop-up headlights is one of the last productions of the trend, the Chevrolet Corvette.

Chevrolet Corvette holds the record for being the longest-running model that featured pop-up headlights. This two-seater car with a streamlined hood and convertible head made it one of the best and most comfortable models to drive.

The C5 was the final model of the Corvette that came with popped-up headlights in 2004, showing the end of an era. The model years 1984 to 1989 of Chevrolet Corvette are the best to buy. You can easily buy the used model for under $14,000.

2. 1962-1973 Lotus Elan

Modern cars with pop up headlights

Lotus Elan was another last car with pop-up headlights. It was one of the cheapest models of Lotus at that time. There is no harm if you refer to it as one of the cheap cars with pop-up lights.

The car was referred to as a little sports car because of its tiny outlook. The vehicle had a 1.6-liter turbocharged Isuzu front engine that could produce up to 160 hp. The Elan title represents the two separate ranges of vehicles produced by Lotus company.

The first series was a rear-drive vehicle manufactured from 1962 to 1975. Whereas the second series was front-wheel drive produced from 1989 to 1995. Of all the model years, the best cars with pop-up headlights to buy in 2023 are from 1962 to 1973.

Lotus is among the popular European car brands, so you can trust this automaker for your used car purchase. The average Lotus Elan can easily cost you about $19,277.

3. 1989-1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

cheap cars with pop up headlights

The next car on the list is the MX-5 Miata, from one of the most popular Japanese car brands, Mazda. Mazda MX-5 is one of the best Japanese cars with pop-up headlights ever built. Miata (NA) was one of the most popular roadsters that featured headlights that popped up.

The model was in production for 8 years until it was replaced in 1998 by Miata NB. This small roadster redefined the definition of the small roadster. Of all the vehicles mentioned in this list, the first generation of Mazda Miata is probably the one that you would see on the road even today.

It is not possible to get a brand new version of this model anymore. However, you can buy the used version for as low as $6,000.

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Buying sports cars with pop-up headlights for such a low price is amazing. But to ensure you are not buying a liability, teach yourself questions to ask when buying a used car.

4. 1976-1988 Porsche 924

Cars with pop up headlights for sale

Another sports car with pop-up headlights for sale in the US automotive market is Porsche 924. This car model is a perfect example of fine German engineering. The Porsche 924 is a two-door coupe. It was manufactured from 1976 to 1988.

This joint venture of Volkswagen and Porsche was a hit in the European market and America. Later, the company upgraded and re-engined the version as 944 and replaced the 924 model with 944 in the American automotive market.

For all the Porsche lovers who want to own an economical model but don’t exactly desire a Boxster, any model from 1976 to 1988 with pop-up flip lights will do.

But before the final purchase, make sure you check if the car shakes on acceleration or has any serious issues with it.

5. 1986-1991 Subaru XT6

Affordable cars with pop-up headlights

The Subaru XT6 was a two-door, four-passenger coupe driving on either front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. With the introduction of the XT6, Subaru finally joined the mainstream design trends in making its automobile.

This model showcases a wedge-shaped body and pop-up headlights, which were popular in sports cars in the 1980s. The Subaru XT6 was the most aerodynamic car available during its introduction in the American automotive market.

With this ride, you get to enjoy the reliability of Japanese auto manufacturing. The model also featured a robust six-cylinder engine, adjustable pneumatic suspension, digital dash, central locking system, pod- and center console-mounted HVAC controls, and an advanced trip computer.

But to take the best care of such a retro car, you must learn DIY vs. professional car wash and vacuum service and decide which maintenance option is right for you before purchasing.

6. 1978-1985 Mazda RX-7

cars with pop-up headlights for sale near me

If you want luxury sports automobiles with pop-up headlamps in 2023, the yesteryear Mazda RX-7 is a great choice. This amazing car was built by Mazda for over three generations from 1978 to 2002.

However, if you look for cars with pop-up headlights for sale near me, the 1978 to 1985 Mazda RX-7 models are the best ones. RX-7 is a front-engine, rear-wheel drive car powered by Mazda’s legendary rotary engine.

The first generation is the ideal model for purchasing in the used car market. It is sometimes called SA & FB and is a two-seater, 2-door hatchback coupe.

This model has evolved dramatically over the three generations and is still one of the most desired classic cars on the market. You can easily buy it for as low as $3,000 in the used car market.

7. 1983-1988 Pontiac Fiero

Affordable cars with pop-up headlights

The Pontiac Fiero is a light, rare mid-engine sports car that was manufactured from 1983 to 1988. It was an economical everyday car offering modest performance with style and elegance.

This model was Pontiac’s first two-seater ride and was mass-produced by the automaker. It was powered by 4- and 6-cylinder engines, fulfilling the average fuel economy of that time in America.

Although this model had a reputation for poor reliability, lacking performance, and questionable safety credentials, Pontiac still sold a massive number of it in its five years of production. You can buy this car for a starting price of $1,450 in 2023.

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8. 1993-1997 Ford Probe

cars with pop up headlights

Ford Probe is among the most affordable small cars with pop-up headlights. This model lineup was a joint venture of Ford and Mazda. With Probe, the two automakers created a liftback coupe that was produced over two generations from 1988 to 1997.

This ride was powered by a 2.5-liter Mazda KL V6 engine paired with front-wheel drive, producing 118 to 164 hp. Ford tried to market the new Probe as a new version of the Mustang. But the V8 lovers rejected the V6 engine and the Japanese engineering.

Finally, the model was discontinued in 1997. Ford shadowing Probe under the Mustang name was a big mistake as this car is an excellent ride for daily driving. You can buy the used base model for around $1,500 easily.

9. 1983-1989 Nissan 300ZX

modern cars with pop up headlights

If you are among the few exclusively looking for Nissan cars with pop-up headlights, the Nissan 300ZX is the model. To date, this luxury sports car of the 80s and 90s is one of the most popular ones made by Nissan.

300ZX was produced across two different generations from 1983 to 2000. However, it was sold in the USA from 1984 to 1996. The model was powered by several powertrain options, out of which 2.0 L VG20ET turbo V6 was a prominent one.

This car was not as enthusiastic as the Lamborghini or Ferrari. Still, the offered dynamic package with several choices at that time made every driving enthusiast appreciate its existence.

The Nissan 300ZX is a classic ride and is finally getting the respect it has deserved all those years back. So, if you do not want to miss out on driving this reliable ride, all you need is at least $6,000, and you can be off with the base variant.

Please understand that this is a price for a used car. Thus, you can come across the ones that are well-maintained and the ones that are poorly maintained.

Old cars are highly prone to rusting even with good maintenance. So, we recommend you learn how to stop rust on car frame to keep your pop-up headlight with you for a long time.

Top FAQs About Cheap Cars With Pop-Up Headlights

Which was the last car with pop-up headlights?

The last vehicle featuring the pop-up front lights was the 2004 Chevrolet Corvette.

2004 Corvette was a two-door luxury car powered by a 5.7 L V8 paired with a 4-speed automatic or 6-speed manual, producing 350 to 405 hp.

This vehicle was available in coupe and convertible body styles and offered good mileage for its class.

Why did cars stop using pop-up headlights?

The new safety regulations of roads are responsible for the no longer use of pop-up headlights in automobiles.

Pop-up headlights were deemed as unreliable and unacceptable concerning the increasing safety standards.

Safety became a major concern for car buyers at the beginning of the 21st century. Thus, pop headlights and several endearing features that are no longer considered safe for drivers are not made anymore.

Are there any Toyota cars with pop-up headlights?

YES. Like many prominent automobile brands, Toyota was also influenced by the popularity of flip-up headlights cars.

Thus, Toyota built a few models in the 1980s and 1990s offering pop-up headlights.

But unlike other auto manufacturers who distributed this feature to a vast lineup, Toyota kept it limited to its sports cars.

Here are the top models that you can go for if you desire an automobile with pop-up headlights by Toyota:

  • Toyota MR2
  • Toyota AE86 Corolla
  • Toyota Supra
Why are pop-up headlights bad?

Technically speaking, pop-up headlights are not bad, but they are not feasible either. They do not go well with the new universal safety regulations.

Not only this, pop-up headlights are bad for aero. Using them frequently will eventually decrease your fuel efficiency.

Also, adding them to a car adds high value to a vehicle’s cost, which doesn’t seem worth it.

Are popup headlights legal?

Yes, Pop-up headlights are legal in the USA as long as they are built under government laws and regulations.

However, manufacturing vehicles with this stylish feature under the restrictions posed by the government can be expensive, especially in present times.

Imposing such a feature at a high cost eventually leads to a rise in the price of a vehicle.

This is the reason why this feature is no longer made.

Are pop-up headlights illegal in the USA?

Owning cars with pop-up headlights is not illegal in the USA. As long as your car meets the government-suggested regulations, you can drive your car with pop-up headlamps on the road.

Are there any vehicles with popping headlights to buy in 2023?

If you are determined to buy a car with the retro feature of popping headlights from the 1980s & ’90s, then we have some model names you can easily purchase in the used car market.

Here are the names of cars with the best model years to consider.

  1. 1984-1989 Chevrolet Corvette (C5)
  2. 1962-1973 Lotus Elan
  3. 1989-1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  4. 1976-1988 Porsche 924
  5. 1986-1991 Subaru XT6
  6. 1978-1985 Mazda RX-7
  7. 1983-1988 Pontiac Fiero
  8. 1993-1997 Ford Probe
  9. 1983-1989 Nissan 300ZX


Finding new cars with pop-up headlights today is next to impossible. The feature is said to be one of the most attractive ones on a car, but it has its shortcomings.

Despite being discontinued, cars with pop-up lights still attract attention. And if you wish to own one in 2023, this article covers some of the best options available.

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Ritambra is an absolute car fanatic who loves to drive and write about cars. Explore new car launches, automobile technologies, best car deals and more with entertaining, informative and delightful reading that will surely quench your thirst for automobiles.

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