Hidden headlights were one of the most popular styling tricks in the classic muscle car era of the 1960s and early 1970s. And you can see why: with the help of simple covers, the not exactly pretty headlamps would remain out of sight until they needed to be put to work, allowing production cars to display the flamboyantly flush front-end look of a concept. But what if the Chevrolet Chevelle, a classic muscle icon that never came with such a feature, shows up on the street in this fashion?
If you’re seeking a community where the tiniest of detail can make a difference, look no further than the muscle crowd. To many of these folks, the dual-body side marker lamp on this 1972 Chevelle (hey, it’s the same model year as this Mad Max-ed out Bone Dog Chevelle) would be strange, since the car is supposed to pack a single-piece unit—that two-part lap was a treat of the 1971 model year.
Nevertheless, getting to the said detail can prove a bit tricky even for the most faithful Chevy fans, since those concealed headlamps instantly catch the eye.
The concealed headlights on this 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle are a DIY stunt
As the owner of the ’72 Chevelle told muscle car fanatic Dezzy (aka dezzysspeedshop), this is a DIY job. As such, the man made the headlight bezels using a CNC machine—we’re looking at custom LED units here—while also fabricating inserts that match the twin-bar grille the Chevy got for the said model year.
Back in the day, the Chevrolet Camaro famously offered such a feature thanks to the RS appearance package that was available from the very 1967MY introduction of the muscle car. But, once again, this was never a trait of the Chevelle.
Sure, the Camaro headlight covers would slide under the grille while this Chevelle seems to pack fixed units, which may or may not interfere with the lighting function (those LEDs could compensate, at least compared to the weaker incandescent factory lights).
Yep, the Chevy is causing a stir
What about the reaction the car gets? Well, much to nobody’s surprise, the owner states that “purists hate it”, but he naturally loves the feature and so do we.
In fact, somebody in the comments section of the Instagram post below seems to share one of the questions that came to our minds after seeing this Chevy: how awesome would this look be on the El Camino? For the record, that’s the car-based truck whose best years (arguably) saw it sharing the platform of this very Chevelle iteration—here’s an El Camino that also mixes and matches model years while having been built into a lifted 4×4 beast.
While other forms of concealed headlights, such as pop-ups, are gone mostly due to safety concerns (think: pedestrian impact regulations), muscle cars’ hideaway units didn’t need to worry about this.
However, due to the added costs and especially the potential reliability issues coming from the actuation system, modern muscle machines steer clear of such goodies—after all, a faulty vacum pump (remember Hoovie’s scam Daytona?) or electric actuator could easily leave a vehicle without lights.
As such, it’s up to custom car enthusiasts to thrill us with their hidden headlight creations, so we’re glad Dezzy came across this too-rebellious-for-traditionalists 1972 Chevelle.